Is that a working dog, a service dog and a therapy dog?

Is that a working dog, a service dog and a therapy dog?

We agree that ALL dogs are awesome! But some go beyond their general dog greatness by helping us in some specific ways. Depending on the job the dog is doing, depends on what category he falls into.

A service dog is most commonly what we think of when we think of a dog with a job. These dogs require a great deal of specialized training. They can help folks who are blind, have mobility issues, are deaf, need allergy alerts, or need emotional support. The favorite breeds for a service dog include the German Shepard, Golden Retriever and the Labrador Retriever.

A therapy dog is a dog who shows up to help us get through a difficult, sometimes specific time. Think of the therapy dogs who help people after a bombing or a shooting. More and more common are dogs who are available at a funeral home. Therapy dogs also lift people’s spirits by visiting them in nursing homes or hospitals. Almost any breed of dog can be a therapy dog. How eligible they will depend on their personalities.

The working dog is less apt to have his work focused on people. His work will of course, benefit people, but he may not ever touch or even be near a person while doing his job. Examples of this category of dog job is a dog who finds bed bugs, missing people, bombs or drugs. There are dogs in Maryland who make their living smelling honeybee hives to find bacteria that is fast moving and harmful to bee colonies. The hives must get a certification before they can be moved, and that certification is dependent on what the dogs find. The best breeds of dogs for this job category tend to be hounds with great noses. The bloodhound, beagle, and any breed that genetically wants to follow his nose makes a great working dog.

A police dog would be considered a working dog, and may use his nose, but more often a dog who rides with an officer is trained to help take down a suspect who is difficult. They are trained to hold the suspect until the officer can get him under control. These dogs are most commonly Belgian Malinois or a German Shepard.

No matter what kind of dog is working, when it is working, it will have a vest or something on it to identify it as working at that moment. Do not approach the dog or greet it without asking permission. Of course, this is true with any dog in any situation, but especially true when a dog is “at work”. You don’t want to distract the dog from his task at hand. If the handler says no, the dog is working now, don’t be disappointed. If you are there when the dog gets a break, you may be invited to greet the dog. If you aren’t there at that time, you will just have to be impressed with the great training the dog has and how impressive he is. After all, he is at work!

No matter which category a dog is working in, they all add to the quality of life of their single person, a group they meet one time, or to humanity. What would we do without them? All of them!