Working dog

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This working dog is a border collie mix.

A working dog refers to a dog that performs tasks to assist its human companions. Within this general description, however, there are several ways in which the phrase is used.

  • To identify any dog that performs any task on a regular basis to assist people. In this context, a dog who helps a rancher manage cattle or who performs tricks for a trainer who receives pay for its acts is a working dog, as is an assistance dog. This might be in comparison to a companion dog, whose purpose is primarily as a pet.
  • To distinguish between show dogs that are bred primarily for their appearance in an attempt to match a breed club's detailed description of what such a breed should look like, and working dogs that are bred primarily for their ability to perform a task. For example, a Border Collie that is a champion show dog is not necessarily good at herding sheep; a Border Collie that is a champion at sheepdog trials might be laughed out of the show ring for its nonstandard appearance.
For some breeds, there are separate registries for tracking the ancestry of working dogs and that of show dogs. For example, in Australia, there are separate registries for working and show Australian Kelpies; the working registry encourages the breeding of any Kelpies with a strong instinct to herd, no matter their appearance or coat color; the show registry encourages breeding only among Kelpies whose ancestors were registered as show dogs and who have only solid-colored coats.
  • As a catch-all for dog breeds whose original purpose was to perform tasks that do not fit into a more specific category of work. For example, the American Kennel Club uses Working Dogs to describe breeds who were originally bred for jobs other than herding or hunting. Such jobs might include pulling carts, guarding, and so on. See Working Dog Group.

Jobs performed by dogs

Although most modern dogs are kept as pets, there are still a tremendous number of ways in which dogs can and do assist humans, and more uses are found for them every year. The following list provides an idea of the versatility of dogs:

  • Service dogs assist people who are physically unable to do everything that they need to do. This includes guide dogs for the blind, hearing dogs for the deaf, and others.
  • Therapy dogs visit people who are incapacitated or prevented in some way from having freedom of movement; these dogs provide cheer and entertainment for the elderly in retirement facilities, the ill and injured in hospitals, and so on.
  • Hunting dogs assist hunters in finding, tracking, and retrieving game, or in routing vermin.
  • Tracking dogs help find lost people and animals or track down possible criminals.
  • Cadaver dogs use their scenting ability to discover bodies at the scenes of disasters or crimes.
  • Rescue dogs assist people who are in difficult situations, such as in the water after a boat disaster, lost in the mountains, covered in snow avalanches and so on.
  • Detection dogs of a wide variety help to detect termites in homes, illegal substances in luggage, and many other uses.
  • Police dogs usually are trained to immobilize possible criminals while assisting officers in making arrests or investigating the scene of a crime.
  • Herding dogs are still invaluable to shepherds and cattle herders around the world for managing their flocks; different breeds are used for the different jobs involved in herding, and for guarding the flocks and herds. Modern herding dogs help to control wild geese in parks or goats used for weed control. A good dog can adapt to control any sort of domestic and many wild animals.
  • Guard dogs and watch dogs help to protect private property.
  • Sled dogs, although today primarily used in sporting events, still can assist in transporting people and supplies in rugged, snowy terrain.

Working dogs as pets

The breeding of working dogs has resulted in highly intelligent, hardy, alert dogs that are often attractive and extremely loyal. As a result, many working breeds are sought after as family pets. Unfortunately, many owners fail to consider that such dogs are rarely passive, so the abandonment rate is very high.

Working dogs make excellent pets as long as potential owners realize that these dogs must be given 'work' to do. Dogs that are not to be used for their original purpose must be trained from a young age and are best suited to active persons and families. Obedience training, dog sports such as flyball, dancing and agility, informal or novelty shows, and trial work are all excellent channels for these breeds' energy; at the very least they must be walked or given other exercise at an appropriate level for the breed, given toys, played with, and provided with human company.

Working dogs who are chained, left alone, or ignored become bored, vocal, and even neurotic; they may exhibit malaise, lethargy, or destructive behaviour or become escape artists.zh:工作犬


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