Hi, I’m Will, the founder of Service Dogs & Working Retrievers.
I have always had the utmost admiration for dogs of all kinds, but working dogs have earned a special level of respect from me. Few things provide me with the kind of joy that comes from watching a dog trained for a specific job perform their tasks successfully.
I have been around service and working dogs for most of my life. As a child, our family raised puppies for Leader Dogs for the Blind, a provider of service dogs. Although spending a year bonding with a pup and then having to give them up for their formal training and service was difficult each and every time, there was ultimately great satisfaction in seeing them become such an essential part of an individual’s life with the work they performed.
Here is a photo of Hector, a golden retriever puppy we raised for Leader Dogs for the Blind, with his lifetime handler. He looks so serious compared to my memories of him as a goofy puppy!
One of the retriever puppies we raised didn’t pass the evaluation after his formal training (not that unusual), and we were offered to take the dog permanently. I trained that dog myself to participate in agility and obedience. Stanley was far more talented as a working dog than I was as a trainer, but we had lots of fun and some pretty good success together.
As I grew older, I got another Labrador retriever and became involved in field trials. Learning to guide a dog through whistle commands and hand signals from several hundred yards away was an exhilarating experience for me (and for Piper, too, I’m pretty sure). She and I spent several years competing. Most every weekend of her life we spent with our training group improving her skills as well as mine.
When a nephew of mine was diagnosed on the autism spectrum, we were able to secure him an autism service dog, which has made his life immeasurably better. Working dogs have certainly changed my life as well as those in my family.
There are many types of dogs that are trained to help someone in need of assistance. Some service dogs include Diabetic alert, seizure alert, and guide dogs for the blind. In addition, many working dogs are trained for formal jobs such as search and rescue, police work, and as guard dogs. Dogs can also be trained as hunting dogs, sled dogs, and for tracking and agility, among many other purposes.
Something I learned along the way was how little most people know about service and working dogs in general. There are many misconceptions as well as a lot of poor information about how they are trained. There’s also a remarkable lack of knowledge about dog care in general. With an estimated 70 million dogs in the United States alone, I think a better understanding of our canine pals is imperative.
I started SDWR so I could share some of what I know about working dogs and dogs in general, as well as broaden my knowledge about dogs. I hope you find SDWR helpful. Feel free to contact us with any questions or suggestions you might have.