When we hear the phrase “working dogs” we tend to think of the familiar jobs that dogs can do. For example, service dogs assist those with disabilities and military and police dogs help keep their humans safe. These are amazing and important jobs, and as humans we may not appreciate how much dogs do for us. But there are also some not so familiar tasks in which dogs are considered the leader of the pack.
This one surprised us too. Did you think that bed bugs were only the stuff of childhood bedtime rhymes: “sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite”? Think again!
In recent years, there have been serious infestations with bed bugs. This has been particularly true in hotels, college dorms, and residential communities. Are you itchy and scratching yet?
Human detection of bed bugs can be difficult. Due to their small size, bed bugs are hard to see. This is where dogs come to the rescue! With their keen sense of smell, dogs can detect very small numbers of bed bugs - as few as just one! Another advantage to doggie detection of these varmints is a dog can sniff out an area within minutes. It could take much longer for a human to do a thorough visual inspection.
When you think of rescue dogs, you likely think of search and rescue dogs. When someone goes lost or missing, or is a victim of a natural disaster, rescue dogs assist in the search efforts. Amazing and cool stuff.
But there’s another rescuing that dogs can do - water rescue. In fact, there is one breed in particular that excels at water rescue - the Newfoundland. This breed has several characteristics that make them especially qualified for water rescue.
Newfoundlands are large - around 150 pounds, in fact. Their large size enables them to tow as many as 10 humans! They can even pull a raft or similar watercraft carrying people adrift in the water. Wow!
Newfies have webbed feet, which helps them propel through the water. They also have a thick, waterproof double coat. This protects them from cold water and the elements, and enables them to withstand water conditions a human would struggle with.
You may have heard of truffle sniffing pigs. Well, move over, Porky, dogs have been trained to sniff out these underground fungus. Truffles are considered by many to be a culinary delicacy and are rare and expensive.
The Italian breed Lagotto Romagnolo is considered top dog when it comes to truffle hunting. These dogs have an acute sense of smell, and unlike pigs, don’t tend to eat the truffles. Bonus! Other breeds that can be trained to sniff out these goodies are the English Springer Spaniel and the Beagle.
What Do You Think?
Now that you’ve learned some of the more unusual tasks dogs can perform, can you think of any others? If so, please let us know!