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Labrador – Working Dogs

Guide Dogs

There are three requirements set by the GDA (Guide Dogs of America) that are essential for a dog to qualify: willingness, health, and temperament. There are three breeds that meet these standards – the Golden Retriever, the German Shepherd, and the Labrador Retriever. However, the GDA uses more than 70% Labrador Retrievers for their programs. This is because Labradors show the most proficiency in learning the complicated commands of being a guide dog. Also, because of their loyal and obedient nature, they are the best dogs to keep their blind owners from harm.

Carting

Using Labradors in the sport “Carting” has been growing in popularity, because of their ability to obey and remember commands simultaneously. Carting, also known as “dry mushing”, is a recreational sport in which a dog pulls a cart filled with weight, firewood, passengers, or farming supplies. This sport is sometimes used for fun, or to keep working dogs in optimal condition for other services. It is frequently used for practical application as well, such as transporting farm goods, medicine, or other supplies from places inaccessible by other vehicles. A properly trained Carting Labrador Retriever can haul up to three times its weight in cargo.

Therapy Work

Labrador Retrievers have a wonderful temperament for working with medical patients in positive therapy. A friendly, patient temperament is the primary requirement for a dog to be considered for a therapy dog. Therapy dogs provide affection and comfort for the elderly, trauma victims, and many other medical patients. Since Labradors have a gentle, loving nature towards people, they provide the ideal standards to be a therapy dog. Studies have shown that patients involved with therapy dogs experience reduced stress, lower blood pressure, and raised spirits. Though there is no scientific data to support it, many hospital attendees will attest to the positive effects of having a loving dog, such as a Labrador, in a hospital environment.

Hunting

The Labrador Retriever, as its name suggests, is an excellent hunting dog because of its ability to find and retrieve fallen or injured game. In colonial times, hunters often pursued their game in heavily wooded or marshy areas. Having a reliable retriever dogs was essential, since the dog could easily find and bring the fallen game back to the hunter. With the Labrador Retriever having a water-resistant, ice-resistant coat, as well as an unparalleled sense of smell, these dogs became reliable companions for colonial hunters. Even in the present day, they are a very popular breed for both recreational and professional hunting.

Detection

Detection dogs are used primarily by law enforcement to detect substances such as explosives, human scent, illegal drugs, or other scents indiscernible to human senses. Because of the Labrador Retriever’s excellent sense of smell, they make very reliable detection dogs. After the collapse of the Twin Towers in New York City on 9/11/08, many Labrador Retriever Rescue Dogs assisted in seeking out people trapped under the debris. Without a Detection dog’s keen sense of smell, rescue workers would have a lot more difficulty locating people who were trapped or unconscious.

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