A nose that knows: Support and service dog jobs
Dogs are more than just man's best friend. Some dogs have specialized jobs in the workforce.
We all know dogs are great companions and friends — they become a special part of our family. The bond between a pet and their family is a strong one. But some dogs form bonds with humans in another way: In the workplace.
When many of us think of a dog our mind immediately goes to man's best friend who can't wait for us to come home. They're always there to keep you and your family company. These dogs make great friends and sometimes have the potential to provide comforting therapy.
Service and support dogs
Dogs can assist us in many ways by helping people live more independently. There are autism dogs used for calming therapy, guide dogs for the blind or deaf, mobility assistance dogs, seizure alert dogs and even dogs who can detect peanut allergies.
Dogs may be trained with special skills to live and work with a disabled individual. These dogs are typically Labrador retrievers, golden retrievers, standard poodles and German shepherds.
Motivated by positive reinforcement, detection dogs are trained to use their senses for searching items like explosives, illegal drugs, firearms, wildlife scat, currency and blood. These dogs have an exceptional sense of smell and are even able to determine certain medical conditions such as cancer, low blood sugar and detect bed bugs.
- Military ― War dogs assist in combat situations to detect bombs, track or scout. They have a 98% success rate in sniffing out bombs. They can also create a bond with their partner and reduce post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms.
- Law enforcement ― K-9's protect their handlers. They can be trained to chase down suspects, find food, humans and even money. These detection dogs have jobs at airports, police stations or schools.
- Fire protection ― Arson dogs can detect accelerants used in arson. State Farm® has been providing support in arson dog training since 1993. The State Farm Arson Dog Program has put more than 400 dogs and their partners to work in 45 states, Washington, D.C. and three Canadian provinces.
- Search and rescue ― These dogs are trained to find missing people in bad weather, avalanches, in the wilderness and underwater. In a water rescue situation, these dogs (usually Newfoundland dogs) are trained to use their mouth to bring the person to shore.
- Cadaver – Used together with search and rescue dogs, cadaver dogs alert their handler to the scent of a decomposing body.
- Truffles ― The Lagotto Romagnolo breed is trained to sniff out these rare mushrooms.
A therapy dog provides comfort to others. You'll sometimes see them walking the halls in nursing homes, hospitals, hospices and retirement homes. Their purpose is to provide comfort and possibly make treatment easier. They might also visit schools to teach students about dogs. Any dog can become a therapy dog as long as they have the right temperament and training.
With their great sense of smell and hearing, guard dogs warn against danger to livestock and sometimes soldiers. Big or small dogs can ward off danger.
Herding dogs are born for the job to work along with humans to keep livestock such as cattle, reindeer and sheep in check. Common breeds for this type of work are border collies and kelpies.
No matter if they're a companion dog or a working dog, they make our lives better just by being in it. If you're lucky enough to have a dog in your life, State Farm helps make it easier for pet owners to care for their furry family members with pet insurance through Trupanion®.