The uses of dogs that capitalize on aspects of their instinctive intelligence have become more varied in today’s world. A quick sampling of some of these contemporary dog careers includes:
1. seeing-eye dogs, who guide their blind masters around obstacles, warn them of approaching vehicles, and allow them to navigate independently, even in the complex urban environment;
2. Hearing-ear dogs, who alert their deaf masters to sounds, such as the ringing of a doorbell or telephone or the whistle of a teakettle;
3. Search and rescue dogs, who are used to track and find individuals who are lost or buried by debris in earthquakes or under snow in avalanches;
4. Water rescue dogs, who retrieve individuals and objects from the water, swim lines out to stranded boaters, and even drag small boats to waiting rescuers;
5. Drug and explosive-finding dogs, who use their scenting abilities to find contraband materials. A variation on this are the dogs that find truffles for connoisseurs of this delicacy. They are better than the pigs that have been traditionally used for two reasons: dogs have keener scenting powers, and they don’t like the taste of truffles, so there is less worry that they will eat them before the gatherers get to them.