Career Dogs

Just like most of us humans, there are many dogs that go to work each and every day.  While our own dogs, Cody and Willow, accompany us to class for demonstration purposes and Cody works as a “neutral dog” in our aggression cases, we’d have to call them part time workers.  Career Dogs, are what I call the important canines who go to work every single day.

Service dogs, those that provide a specific service to their person include, but are not limited to, seeing-eye dogs, stabilization dogs, and disease/seizure detection dogs.  These dogs are bred or chosen for sound temperament, socialized around a wide variety of people, places and things, then are trained specifically to do the work required of their human.  They are permitted to go anywhere their disabled human goes.  In connection with Service Dogs, the State of North Carolina rules and regulations are rather vague and, in essence they state a Service Dog must be registered and must be trained, even allowing someone to train their own service dog.  We get many calls to assist with training a service dog.  Unfortunately, the majority of the calls involve either a dog whose temperament is very unsuited for this work or a person who merely wants to be able to have their dog accompany them in restaurants and on airplanes, when the person has no true disability.   Fake service dogs do a huge injustice to those who truly need their dog to perform important work for their well being.

Other career dogs include drug interdiction and detection dogs.  They help detected illegal substances, bombs, chemicals, insects and many other substances (fruits, termites, truffles).  You’ll find these dogs working at a wide variety of places such as airports, FedEx and UPS central locations and even National Forests (sniffing out insects).  And, of course, everyone is aware of police dogs.  Our friend, Steve White of i2iK9 in Seattle has been training police dogs and bomb sniffing dogs for over 20 years and travels worldwide helping police departments hone their training skills.  We hope to have him here for a weekend workshop in 2014.

While all of the jobs these dogs perform vary, the one thing they do have in common is early socialization and training.  The dog must be comfortable in a wide variety of settings, happy around all types of people and recover well from any startling occurrences in their environment.

These are also traits our own dogs need to live comfortably in our own homes and in our own relatively small world.  So make the commitment to get up and out to enjoy some fun training with your dog.  We’ll see you at the training center!

Lisa Lyle Waggoner is a CPDT-KA, a Pat Miller Certified Trainer-Level 2, a dog*tec Professional Dog Walking Academy Instructor, a Pat Miller Level 1 Canine Behavior & Training Academy Instructor and the founder of Cold Nose College in Murphy, North Carolina.  She enjoys providing behavior consulting and training solutions to clients in the tri-state area of North Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee, as well as offering educational opportunities for dog trainers and dog hobbyists throughout the U.S.


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