Estrela Mountain Dogs can be put to work in many areas but unfortunately to date, they have not been.
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Their natural instinct to protect people and property makes them perfect for not only personal protection, but also as patrol dogs. They are intelligent dogs that can be trained for specific purposes. They could be used to protect businesses, industrial complexes, shopping malls, banks, financial buildings, warehouses, government buildings, parking lots, and even military instillations. Perhaps when Estrelas and their capabilities become more known they will be used much more than they are today.
Estrelas have guarded and herded livestock for centuries in the Serra da Estrela Mountains and still do today. Thus they are a natural working dog with just the right amount of aggression to be useful for both police and military work. In fact, many of them now serve as police dogs in Portugal. They are used in some places as visitors for seniors and children both in homes and at in hospital.
The Department of Defense Military Working Dog Center currently hires only Belgian Malinois and German Shepherds that are accepted by the Working Military Dog Program and trained by the 341st Military Working Dog Training Squadron at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. The dogs are used for everything from patrolling bases, housing complexes, schools, airfields, and prisoner of war camps, to tracking and sniffing out suspects and detecting explosives.
However, the field is still wide open for Estrelas to be used to detect narcotics such as marijuana, heroin, cocaine, and other controlled substances on the street, in homes and businesses, and at airports. They could also be used to sniff out explosives to protect the general public from bombs and suspected packages.
Estrelas should also be considered for protecting money in transit, crowd control, guarding traveling heads of state, finding and holding criminals, guarding boundaries, protecting sensitive sites, assisting the police during potentially violent traffic stops, assisting firefighters in their often dangerous work, and more. They could also be vital helpers during natural and/or civil disasters.
In their many working rolls, dogs save money, time, and manpower that can best be put to other uses. Due to their keen senses of hearing, sight, and smell, which is much more acute in canines than humans, they are well suited for many jobs and Estrelas are no exception.
Working dogs don't need to be purebreds and often don't even need to be registered. However, they must display the primary characteristics of their breed. In Estrela Mountain dogs, these characteristics include a strong sense of loyalty to their handler and a desire to please. All working dogs must be trusted off leash and need to receive ongoing training as they may forget their specific rolls over time.
There is no reason why trained Estrela Mountain Dogs cannot fill many of the above noted jobs, as they are strong animals that can withstand various climates. Hopefully it will soon be recognized that they can.
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