A Working Dog – Training

by Sleddoggin Staff on August 5, 2011

Apart from the breed, another way to classify dogs is through their jobs. You could say that a working dog is a canine that simply does more than just hang around, play tricks and be cute and cuddly all day. Some dogs have 9 – 5 jobs just like humans do.


There are many types of working dogs. Some of the different job titles are:

-Service dogs that help visually or hearing impaired individuals perform everyday tasks -Rescue and/or search canines that assist in finding victims of disasters and rescuing them when necessary -Therapy dogs visit sick people in hospitals and in their homes bringing joy to the patient -Sledding are mostly used for sporting events in snowy terrains but occasionally help in transporting people and supplies -Herding assist in controlling cattle and sheep -Police or K-9 dogs are actual members of the police force who protect and serve the community


Not all are cut out to become working dogs. Poodles are not employed to work for the police, but are great lap dogs. Chihuahuas are definitely not cut out to be used in sledding. There are certain breeds that instinctively or are genetically programmed to perform tasks both with ease and a certain level of satisfaction.

Hunting for instance, the popular breeds that go a-hunting are Hounds, Terriers, Retrievers, Setters and Pointers. The following are breeds used by the police: Bloodhound, German Shepherd, Labrador Retriever, Rottweiler, and Belgian Malinois. Therapy dogs are a mix of different breeds.

Working Dog Training

It is not enough though that the canine is part of a long line of say, hunting hounds. Working dogs still need to be trained in order to become effective at their jobs. Depending on the type of job they perform, the training for both the pup and the handler can be long and grueling. This is especially apparent for canines used to sniff out bombs, mines and controlled substances. These dogs have to put in long hours of training. But in the end, it is all worth it for the K-9, the handler as well as the person who receives the canine’s service.


The training of each pup has to be suited to the breed as well as the type of job the canine is expected to perform. Part of their basic training is socialization. Working dogs have to be comfortable with other people, other animals and their surroundings. You cannot have a dog that barks at each and every K-9, cat or child that he sees. Even if his work will not require him to be around humans and other types of distractions, this dog is still expected to be calm in different situations. Pups that will performing a working function should be exposed to their future jobs as soon as possible. This is to familiarize them with the environment at an early age.

Obedience Training

Another basic training that working canines need is obedience training. These pups have to know how to follow commands. During obedience training, complete trust and mutual respect between the K-9 and his handler is formed.

Different training techniques are used during obedience training. Some of these techniques are: collar and leash training, clicker training, positive reinforcement, reward training and even dog whispering. Obedience training is a lot of hard work so it is important to make it fun for the pup.

Proper obedience training will turn any canine into a confident, relaxed and happy dog. Obedient dogs love to please their owners and handlers making it easier to train them to do their job.

Job Specific Training

Since there are many different types of working dogs, there are also various types of skills that they each should master. For instance, service dogs that help visually impaired individuals are taught to open and close doors, light switches, closets and drawers, they fetch various objects including pill or medicine bottles and walk their masters safely across busy streets. Hunting and herding dogs usually learn on the job because at an early age, they accompany their owners everywhere. They instinctively perform their duties with the aim to please their masters. Training them is not as rigorous as training military dogs.

Police dogs are trained to attack and subdue criminal elements, sniff out narcotics and other banned substances as well as perform patrol, search and retrieval duties. Dogs that are handpicked to work side-by-side with law enforcement agents undergo rigorous training. The amount of man-hours spent training just one dog is high. It is also costly to the department. However, once trained, the service these dogs render is priceless.

Whatever level and amount of training a dog needs to qualify as a working dog, what is important is the bond that forms between the dog and his trainer, handler or owner. It is this bond that will foster mutual trust and respect between the two and in turn make it easier to train the dog to do his job well.

It is truly amazing what working dogs can do. They protect humans and property, make life easier for medically impaired individuals and some give joy and comfort to sick people. This doesn’t happen overnight. After the initial training, some working dogs have to be constantly trained and re-trained depending on the jobs they perform. Working dogs are hardworking and loyal canines that will put their lives on the line without hesitation. They are simple amazing!

Bob Leland is a puppy training expert. For great info on training puppies into working dogs [http://lovingtouchpuppytraining.com/the-best-puppy-training-techniques/], visit [http://www.lovingtouchpuppytraining.com/].

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