Do you have a best friend? You might immediately think of one of your closest friends at school. But we're talking about a different kind of best friend. In fact, we're talking about an animal often called “man's best friend." What is it? The dog, of course!

Dogs can be great friends. It's true. They're loyal, fun to play with, soft and furry, and great companions at any time of any day. Yet they can be so much more. Did you realize that dogs can have jobs?

No, we don't mean dogs dress up in suits to go to work at the bank, the pharmacy, or the doctor's office. You won't find a dog cashing checks, dispensing medicine, or performing surgery any time soon. They can be trained to do some really incredible jobs, though.

For example, dogs can be service dogs, alert dogs, search and rescue dogs, tracking dogs, hunting dogs, detector dogs, and therapy dogs. And those are just a few of the types of jobs dogs can do. Let's take a closer look at a few examples.

When you think about working dogs, two of the most common jobs that spring to mind are guarding and watching. Guard dogs can be trained to guard and defend a particular territory, such as your yard. Watch dogs can keep an eye out for intruders and alert others to their presence. Guard dogs and watch dogs are commonly used by the police and the military.

Dogs have a keen sense of smell, which makes them great detector dogs. With the right training, detector dogs can learn to smell and alert their handlers to the presence of all sorts of things, including drugs, money, and explosives. Common breeds that make good detector dogs include labrador retrievers, beagles, and German shepherds.

Dogs' keen noses also make them fantastic tracking and hunting dogs. Not only can they smell and track down animals for hunters, but they can also help search and rescue teams find missing persons.

Search and rescue dogs are often used in the aftermath of disasters to help locate victims who may be lost amid the rubble of an earthquake, for example. Specialized avalanche dogs can help find and rescue skiers who get caught in an unexpected avalanche.

Herding dogs help to keep groups of animals, such as sheep, ducks, cows, and goats, together in large pastures. In addition to keeping track of the groups, these dogs also often protect them from predators, such as wolves and coyotes.

Some of the most interesting working dogs are those that help the disabled. Seeing eye dogs help blind people stay safe when moving around. Hearing ear dogs can alert their deaf owners when all sorts of events occur, from phones ringing to alarms sounding. Therapy dogs are often used in nursing homes and similar facilities to brighten the day of residents.

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