TRAINING DOGS

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DogsThere are lots of jobs that dogs can do for us: looking for drugs, driving blind people, detecting bombs, guarding public and private spaces or looking for people under avalanches just to name a few. As you can see, these jobs are quite varied and, therefore, the way to teach them how to tackle them, should be so.

Of course, there are special breeds for these kinds of jobs (German shepherd, Labrador, Belgian shepherd malinois, Springer spaniel English, and so on) but, in fact, for them all the beginnings are always the same. For the first year, the dogs will grow up in a social and healthy environment, playing games and learning social rules just as the rest of the dogs. Only when they reach their first birthday, will they have to pass a test to show the instructors their social and emotional stability and their best skills. From then on, every selected dog will have one single handler to teach him whatever he needs to learn. The trainer’s aim is to get a bond with the dog in such a way that, for the dog, learning will be by far the most exciting thing to do.

Nevertheless, depending on the job they are going to carry out, the training will be rather different. For instance, supposing that they are looking for drugs or detecting bombs; they learn how to distinguish the basic chemicals. However, the way to point out their findings can not be the same. To indicate the drugs, they will scratch the surface of the place where the drug is, whereas for bombs, they will have to remain seated and quiet on the spot. Or if they are looking for people below avalanches, the dog will have to point out the place by digging out forcefully into the snow.

In our school, I can’t help watching a dog waiting in the landing till the stairs are empty, in order to drive his holder safely. Or when the lobby of the school is crowded, he would put his body across his owner’s legs looking for a free exit.

On the other hand, combat dogs catch my attention most. In the Great Wars, dogs were used as messengers, as sniffers or as minesweepers accompanying a platoon to clean paths before the fellow marines would arrive. As soldiers point out, the most important values of these dogs are fearless, emotional stability, accuracy in their movements and faithfulness as members of a regiment.

 

   
© Plataforma creada por Alfonso Hinojosa - Profesor de Inglés de la E.O.I. de Santander