Working Dogs

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Postby mnp13 » March 27th, 2006, 3:51 pm

I was talking on the phone with another member and we dog on the subject of 'working dogs'

What makes a 'working dog' a working dog?

Agility? Protection? Therapy? Service? Security?

We didn't arrive at an answer...
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Postby Big_Ant » March 27th, 2006, 4:09 pm

That's sort of hard to answer, but I would say that a very simplistic answer to that would be a dog that does something with a specific intent or goal.

I.E. SAR dogs have the ultimate goal of finding someone who is lost. Protection Trained dogs intent is to protect their owner.

Obviously this can be construed and people can make the argument of "My dog works to make me happy", "My dog works for treats", and other such replies.

The above only leads to a clouding of the topic which makes it almost impossible to clearly define a "Working Dog"

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Postby odnarb » March 27th, 2006, 4:26 pm

My thought is that it is a dog that does something that is valued in the real world. Not for titles or sport, real work.

A police dog, a PP dog, detection dog, mantrailer, livestock guardian, hunting dog, a herding dog on a working farm, assistance dog, gun dog, etc.

I'm torn on whether or not therapy work is "work" or not. It might be for some dogs, I guess, but are those dogs truly suitable? My ideal therapy dog is a bombproof dog that loves to shmooze. Grant would be fab, if he wasn't such a bull-in-a-china-shot spazz. I see him leaving broken elderly people in his wake :oops:

Agility, obedience, sprt protection, tracking, etc, can certainly lead to a career of real work, but I definately see a differenct between sport and real work.
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Postby Big_Ant » March 27th, 2006, 4:35 pm

Very Good Description Aimee!

I agree that there is a huge difference between sport and working.

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Postby mnp13 » March 27th, 2006, 4:48 pm

odnarb wrote:My thought is that it is a dog that does something that is valued in the real world. Not for titles or sport, real work.


Exactly... and therapy is that middle ground - the dogs are doing essential work for the people they are visiting. The value is immeasureable. But is it 'work'? If you love what you do for a living it is still work, correct? But pet therapy is all about temperament and personality, not training.

We got stuck on therapy as well.
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Postby Verderben » March 27th, 2006, 6:03 pm

When I think of a working dog I think of police dogs, sled dogs, farm dogs, hunting dogs, ect.
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Postby Karen » March 27th, 2006, 6:11 pm

odnarb wrote:My thought is that it is a dog that does something that is valued in the real world. Not for titles or sport, real work.



What about putting the Brindle in Brindle Builders? Helping excavate, haul rocks for walls etc? Dilly's a pro.

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Postby Hoyden » March 27th, 2006, 6:23 pm

Karen wrote:
odnarb wrote:My thought is that it is a dog that does something that is valued in the real world. Not for titles or sport, real work.



What about putting the Brindle in Brindle Builders? Helping excavate, haul rocks for walls etc? Dilly's a pro.

Image



http://thedogs.lilacpitbull.com/pullstones.html



That is a cute picture!

We used to hook a landscaping wagon up to a pulling harness and I used Petey to help me do yard work.
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Postby Jenn » March 27th, 2006, 6:30 pm

IMO any dog that has a "job/daily task" could be considered a "working dog".. Wouldn't really say it mattered what exactly the job was. In regards to people ~ we all work. Some not as hard as others but in hindsight work is work. :)
I'd consider any dog that had a daily task rather it be livestock, sheep corraling, protector, K-9, guard dog, service dog to be a working dog. I wouldn't hold a police dog's job as a working dog any higher on the work scale than I would a seeing eye dog, or a good old sheep herder. :|
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Postby Patch O' Pits » March 27th, 2006, 6:33 pm

mnp13 wrote:But pet therapy is all about temperament and personality, not training..

Here is my 2 cents on Therapy work.
Therapy work certainly does include training and a lot of it for the dog to be suitable... a dog w/ bomb proof temperament that is untrained would be a diaster IMO.

Therapy can put a lot of pressure on the dog and the team has to work to make sure the situations always stay positive.

It is not all cuddles and smootches though much of it is that. It is also sometimes screamin, crying and or upset clients due to their illnesses, mentally impaired individuals often pose challenges at well. Some awkward situations can and do arise especially in hospital settings at times. Sometimes it is more of a challenge for the handler than the dog.

The dogs also may be required do things like helping with client's physical tasks and needs.

Being prepared for all kinds of circumstances is a must.
For example:
We had a power outoutage on 2 occassions while I was in the hospital and also a room lockdown another time. We had a freak storm and the client we were in with was terriefied of storms and that also made for quite an interesting visit

I do agree that woring in sports is different than working in police work but both things to the dog in that aspect come down to being jobs.
I feel it is more like working dogs should be split into 2 categories
Sporting work
and
Job work

Just because the dogs enjoy it doesn't mean they are not still working.
JMO on it :|
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Postby Jenn » March 27th, 2006, 6:36 pm

Dang edit button missing :oops: excuse me if I didn't make sense... need to learn to proofread again! lol

Anywho I did a quick search just to see what would come up as the "definition of a working dog" here was one of the results. It goes on, but here was the beginning.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Working_dog

A working dog refers to a canine working animal, i.e. a dog that is not merely a pet but learns and performs tasks to assist and/or entertain its human companions, or a breed of such origin.

Arguably the variety of -often exclusive- canine jobs is a better justification for the dog's honorary title "man's best friend" than the more accidental popularity as pet number one in western cultures.
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Postby Chris Fraize » March 27th, 2006, 7:13 pm

People tend to look at this question from a very “human” viewpoint. Working dogs serve humans in jobs and sport dogs get titles in games. While that may be true, the dogs being trained for either work or sport have no idea about the difference in the labels on our silly games or jobs. :|

The dogs have no idea they are helping a human work or competing in a human invented sport. Parts of training a working dog are sport (a game, like find your ball for drug detection) and some is work (like a patrol dog, fighting a bad guy while the dog is being hit by the bad guy). A part of training a sporting dog is work (corrections in obedience) and some of the training is (a game) sport (Article guard in Ringsport). :?

I believe the level of training and performance determines if the dog is a “working dog” or not. Say for instance, you have a person / dog team that goes to agility training and does well but are capable of much more and never strive for it, well, that is not a working dog or handler. They are a hobbyist team. The dog could be a working dog but isn’t because the owner isn’t asking the dog to work. :wink:

Now say you have a team that is capable of winning the agility dog nationals, however they have to really “WORK” to get there. Though agility is a sport, diet, exercise and conditioning, training, bond, etc. are all (in my book) considered “work”. So that dog is (again in my book) a “working dog”.

Here is another example. I have a Police K-9 officer as a client. He LOVES his dog (a GSD) but he keeps the dog too fat, doesn’t train as often as he should and sends mixed signals (poor training ethic) when he does train. On top of that the dog just does not have what it takes in the genetics department. The dog is USPCA (United States Police Canine Association) certified. Does that certification make the dog a “working dog”? Not in my book!

On the other hand I have an 86-year-old female client that works her but off to make her Golden the best competitive obedience dog she can. She is limited by her age and body but never makes excuses and always gets better in her training. The dog “works” very hard for her. Remember the dog has no idea that competitive obedience is a sport; the dog just wants to work for the owner for many different reasons. Is this a working dog? In my book, yes!

It is the also a dog’s “work ethic” that also determines if the dog is a “working dog” or just a pet dog that has a hobby. Some dogs can be taught a work ethic while others can’t. Some dogs have a high natural work ethic others do not. The dog that is taught a work ethic and understands it is no less a working dog (in my book) than the dog that is a natural. In fact no dog is a “natural” at everything. As long as the trainer/handler keeps the dog working at a high level or the dog is training for a higher level, the dog is working whether it’s Police K-9 (working) or an agility dog (sporting).

The labels “sport” and “working” are for us human beings that need to keep things neatly labeled. :twocents:

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Postby Pitcrew » March 27th, 2006, 11:14 pm

Wow Chris... that definitely defines it for ME!
I completely agree!
"Pedigree indicates what the animal should be;
Conformation indicates what the animal appears to be;
But, Performance indicates what the animal actually is."
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Postby mnp13 » March 27th, 2006, 11:18 pm

mnp13 wrote:But pet therapy is all about temperament and personality, not training..


oh crap... that should have said not just training. :oops:
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Postby SisMorphine » March 27th, 2006, 11:34 pm

When I hear the words "working dog" immediately these images come to mind:

SAR
Police Dogs (including drug sniffing, bomb squad, etc)
Beagle Brigade
Hunting Dogs
Racing Greys
Service Dogs


I really don't know where to draw the line, though.
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Postby Pitcrew » March 28th, 2006, 11:07 am

SisMorphine wrote:When I hear the words "working dog" immediately these images come to mind:

SAR
Police Dogs (including drug sniffing, bomb squad, etc)
Beagle Brigade
Hunting Dogs
Racing Greys
Service Dogs


I really don't know where to draw the line, though.


I can see most of your examples... but exactly how is racing and hunting any different from agility, obedience or any other sport. Many of those sports require as much, if not more, of a bond, relationship and training than those do.

I am not being defensive, just expressing my opinion.
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Postby SisMorphine » March 28th, 2006, 11:23 am

Lisa wrote:
SisMorphine wrote:When I hear the words "working dog" immediately these images come to mind:

SAR
Police Dogs (including drug sniffing, bomb squad, etc)
Beagle Brigade
Hunting Dogs
Racing Greys
Service Dogs


I really don't know where to draw the line, though.


I can see most of your examples... but exactly how is racing and hunting any different from agility, obedience or any other sport. Many of those sports require as much, if not more, of a bond, relationship and training than those do.

I am not being defensive, just expressing my opinion.

No no, I fully understand your opinion. I just guess I didn't completely express myself in my late night post :)

I was just saying that someone says the words "Working Dogs" and immediately those are the images that come into my head (PS: Racers never popped into my head with those words until I began working with them). But yes, there are agility dogs, obedience, PSA, etc. And I have no clue what would be considered working and what is sport. Or if any of it should be considered sport and it all should be considered working. I'm fully pondering it all in my head right now, and look forward to more posts in hopes that there can be a clear definition of what is a working dog and what isn't. Not sure if there will be a definitive on that, but my racing mind hopes there will be.
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Postby Chris Fraize » March 28th, 2006, 2:21 pm

Lisa,

You soooooooo get it! :helloClap:

I often refer to our style of personal protection work as “real time” like in agility. No pattern to help the dog or the handler. The dog and handler MUST trust each other and communicate in real time. Coaching (if you will) is allowed. Coaching is what makes agility fun for me! :bananaDance:

You have got the right idea. Just take the agility ring, add some non pattern obedience, and real time coaching in bite work and you have yourself one of our personal protection trials! YAHOOOOOOO! You sooooo get it! :purpleBanana:

Can’t wait to meet you.

Safe training,
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Postby Pitcrew » March 28th, 2006, 2:34 pm

I think Chris said it pretty well.

I think "work" is defined by the effort put into the goal. I DO define sport dogs as working dogs if they are trained and conditioned as an athlete, as opposed to recreation.
No one usually argues whether Olympic athletes, or professional football players work. Just because they are dogs, and they, and we, have fun with the "work", and don't (usually) make any money at it, doesn't mean there is less effort involved, or taken less seriously.
We should give the dogs more credit for their commitment to our wishes.
Of course I don't want to take anything away from the police, SAR and other 'professionals'... but amatures work too!

Cripes! I know dogs that work pretty hard just to put up with their owners, who a lot of people dont have patience to deal with... now THATS work! Or maybe the definition of saint-hood?
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Conformation indicates what the animal appears to be;
But, Performance indicates what the animal actually is."
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Postby Pitcrew » March 28th, 2006, 2:48 pm

Thanks Chris, your post wasn't there before I sent the last post...

If that's what its like, I think I will like learning more about PSA. I need to learn more about 'real' protection as opposed to the 'staged' type protection work.

I really don't have my dogs for the purpose of protection. But I like the training challenge. Can I train for this sport without making a dog defensive or causing a drive mentality that would make it hard to work in other sports?

When I was doing bite-work with Willie, several years ago now, I didn't have any problems... the helper was his "bunny" (for all purposes) and I didn't worry about it. But I didn't have goals to compete to high levels in any sports at that time, and wasn't training with that in mind. I also didn't really know that much about bite-work and drives. I know more now... but it never seems like enough. I want to keep everything in its place (so to speak).
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Conformation indicates what the animal appears to be;
But, Performance indicates what the animal actually is."
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