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National Service For Dogs

No - not for a dog army!
  [vote for,

Reading [django]’s idea “Earthquake Victim Rescue Gas” (see link) he stated // Rescue workers use whatever trained dogs available to search for survivors under the rubble. But there probably aren't enough of them around, when an entire city has collapsed.// It occurred to me that there are almost certainly plenty of dogs around – it’s just the training they lack.

National Service For Dogs would be a state-funded, compulsory dog-training programme. All dogs would be taught skills useful to the community such as

Locating victims of earthquakes
Barking in response to fire/flood/human-injury/poisonous gases etc
Rescuing of drowning humans
CPR (o.k. that might be stretching it a bit!)

Attendance would be compulsory but exemptions would be made for dogs with unsuitable temperaments or physical disadvantages, or in circumstances where suffering of the dog or owner due to the absence would be sufficient to warrant it.

The duration of the service would be sufficient to instil the basic skills without being excessive. Top-up annual attendance could be introduced if required. Possibly the training/top-up programme could be timed to coincide with the owner’s holidays (think free kennels).

Training would be cruelty-free and enjoyable for the dogs. The dogs would emerge from their national service with skills beneficial to the community, probably a more disciplined behaviour pattern and having experienced an environment in which they mixed with many other dogs – promoting tolerance between them. They might also get a shiny collar proudly declaring their status as valuable contributors to society – maybe gold silver or bronze reflecting their proficiency or range of skills.

A national dog register would be required - to enforce attendance, record skills acquired (with proficiency levels) and to prompt for top-up dates. In the event of a large-scale emergency such as an earthquake, emergency services could ‘call up’ local, trained dogs to assist in the rescue work, finding them using the register. Faced with smaller local emergencies such as a drowning human, the dog’s own training would equip it to provide the right assistance, motivated by its love for humans. Owners may have to intervene to stop well-meaning dogs rushing pointlessly into burning buildings or diving into surging flood-water if there is little prospect of success.

If the idea of ‘compulsory’ is a bit scary then this could be voluntary but incentivised by offers such as free vetenary care for a period of time, free identichipping, etc.

The idea could be extended to give the dogs a foundation in other basic skills such as walking on the lead without pulling, coming when called, sitting etc – leading to a general increase in well-behaved, relaxed, friendly dogs.

Owners could also elect to receive training on maintaining the pet’s skills, further developing good behaviour etc.
dobtabulous, Sep 06 2004

Earthquake Victim Rescue Gas http://www.halfbake...ctim_20Rescue_20Gas
Inspired by [django]'s idea [dobtabulous, Oct 04 2004]

baked in Sweden http://hem.passagen...english/rescue.html
[FarmerJohn, Oct 04 2004]


       As long as they don't send a red setter to find me under the rubble. Thick as pig shit,setters. And dalmations.
squeak, Sep 06 2004

       Thanks for the link [FJ]. Perhaps Sven could borrow some of his compatriot dogs to rescue England's chances of qualification for the world cup! This does bake the essence of my idea except for the compulsory part - which I now declare to be the original bit. After all national service for people is very different from the T.A. (Ahem).
dobtabulous, Sep 06 2004

       It's original enough without that. That it's being done in Sweden doesn't mean that it's widely known as a possibility elsewhere. Good idea (except for the mandatory part.)
jutta, Sep 06 2004

       How much can dogs do without qualified handlers? And how many dogs can a person boss around at once?   

       I like the idea, but I'm not quite sure if just having more trained dogs would help that much.
RobertKidney, Sep 06 2004

       lets all - us dogs...   

       I wouldn't have made my puppy do this <weeps>   

       but he would have excelled <proud owner>
po, Sep 06 2004

       If I could vote twice for this idea, I would. It's recreational for the dogs, it makes the pet be regarded as a useful part of a society (other than only as a fun, loyal companion) and it helps the dog owner become a little aware of service to others.   

       Maybe the training could include both dog AND the owner. Videotapes on "how to train your dog to save others" could be distributed and dog owners could train their pet when they have time, and just bring their best friend to a "test" for acreditation.
Pericles, Sep 07 2004

       Thanks [Pericles].   

       [UnaBubba] Royal sounds great. I think all dogs are at once a pain in the arse and lovable cute companions. Its their contradictory nature that makes them so much like us I think.   

       It may have been wearing but look at it another way - you never drowned!
dobtabulous, Sep 07 2004


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