Dogs have been an integral part of our society for millennia. Not only are they a special part of our family, but thousands of dogs also work in service industries to provide even more assistance to the community. Whether they work with the police, military, or help those with disabilities, dogs have surely proven their competence in aiding and benefiting others. In addition to helping humans, the working dogs also benefit from having a job and purpose.
Contributing to the Pack
For many breeds, certain work is ingrained in them. For example, beagles are bred to hunt while sheepdogs are bred to herd. When dogs get to fulfill the work they were made to do, it not only boosts their self esteem but gives them a feeling of contributing to the pack. Dogs are happiest when they are able to do the jobs they are meant for.
Whether or not dogs enjoys service work has actually been scientifically tested. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, a science journal that focuses on ethology, conducted research that proved that service dogs actually enjoyed their work and didn’t cause them any extra stress. This research, which was conducted across five cities across the U.S., measured the cortisol, or stress, levels of 26 service dogs both at work and at home. What they found was that there was little to no difference between the cortisol levels taken at work or at home, indicating that the dogs didn’t feel stressed by their work. They also found that the dogs enjoyed some activities, like playing with children, more than others.
Another benefit of service work for dogs is that it keeps them active, not only physically but mentally. Dogs are proven to enjoy learning new commands as well as practicing them. A study done in Sweden actually proved that dogs are happier to receive a reward when it is deserved! Many service jobs like search and rescue or police work require intense physical training and effort. However, this allows dogs to stay healthy and also keeps them from getting bored. On the other hand, if a dog isn’t given the proper mental and physical stimulation, they can develop behavioral issues and lash out in other ways.
Although service dogs don’t necessarily get a salary, they are rewarded in other ways. For example, police dogs get to go home every day with their trainer and live a normal housepet life at home. Any vet visits are also covered by the police department ensuring that the dog remains happy and healthy. Service dogs also receive the unlimited love and care from the people they help. They form an extremely special, unbreakable bond with their partner, trainer, or patient that will last a lifetime.