Activities For A Fire Inspector With Dogs

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Introduction

The life of a Firefighter can be a very perilous one as their sworn duty is to run, head first, into dangerous situations and precarious environments as opposed to running away. Fire Inspectors, on the other hand, are tasked with surveying buildings to try and prevent those dangerous and precarious scenarios from ever popping up in the first place. Though they haven't been as glamorized in movies and media as their Firefighter companions, Fire Inspectors are just as vital to the process of keeping safe from fire hazards. Incidentally, there are a number of tasks that Fire Inspectors have to commit to, for training purposes, that a dog can also complete with a bit of human assistance.

Jogging

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Any Day
Free
Easy
30 - 45 min
Items needed
Leash (Traditional or Hands Free)
Water
waste bags
Activity description
This is by far the easiest and most accessible activity a Fire Inspector could complete with a dog. While a Fire Inspector's line of work may not be as physically intense as a first responder's, there does tend to be a lot of walking and climbing involved with this particular profession. Jogging is a free activity that's guaranteed to keep you physically fit and ready to walk for yards on end without incident. Jogging is also a great activity that Fire Inspectors can complete with their dogs just about anywhere during just about any time of day. You'll only really need to use a leash for this activity, which can be a traditional style or hands-free style leash.
Step
1
Get your groove on
The best way to ensure that you don't gas out mid-run and end up heaving harder than a fish on dry land is to establish a rhythm for inhaling and exhaling. Find your groove and stick to it for the duration of the run. You can even look to your dog to see this concept in practice, as canines tend to naturally establish a rhythm on their own.
Step
2
Ups and downs
Jogging up an inclined surface or down a declining surface will add an extra layer of challenge to this activity, so we'd like to discourage you from trying it if you're not an experienced jogger. If you've got a lot of hours logged in, or when you do get a lot of hours logged in, keep in mind that it's much easier to control your speed jogging up a surface than it is going down. Maybe start with jogging up flights of stairs first before jogging down them. Watch your dog's fatigue level as they participate with you and if their gait looks awkward or strained at any time, stop the activity. Hydrate often!
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Swimming

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Sunny Day
Cheap
Normal
30 min
Items needed
Life Jacket
Leash
Activity description
The fascinating thing about swimming for exercise purposes is that you can burn twice the calories you would running in half the time. Swimming is also a low impact activity, meaning that your joints (and your dog's) won't be put under the same kind of stress that they would be from running or jogging on hard terrain. Dogs can also join humans for swimming trips, provided they're outfitted with a life jacket to keep them afloat, especially if they are new to the sport. Some dog breeds, like any breed of Setter or a Portuguese Water Dog, will take to this activity much easier than others, so be ready to invest in a life jacket for your furry best buddy.
Step
1
Natural born swimmer
We mentioned that some dog breeds take to swimming easier than others. Allow us to elaborate; some dogs will slice through the water and swim through it as if they had a bit of rock bass in their DNA while others will sink like a sack of potatoes. If your dog has a rotund build with small, stubby legs than they'll sink like a rock and will need (we repeat, NEED,) to be outfitted with a life jacket before they're allowed to even look at a body of water steeper than 5 feet.
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Baby steps
Depending on the type of dog you're caring for, you can also start them off swimming at a young age to increase their proficiency with this activity. Setters, Retrievers, and any bread that has the word "water" in their name will all benefit from being introduced to this activity during puppy-hood. Get a firm and steady hold of your puppy and hold them over a shallow pool or tub of water. Let them practice stroking and paddling through the water while you keep them lifted above at a safe distance. Once all four feet are moving, you will have a doggy paddler on your hands!
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Scent Training

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Any Day
Moderate
Hard
45 - 60 min
Items needed
Scent Training Kit
Dog Treats
Activity description
Some Fire Inspectors may say that they can "sniff out a fire" as a sort of playful boast, but dogs actually can sniff out potential fire hazards once they've been properly trained. The thing is that the world we live in and the environments Fire Inspectors typically work in are filled with all sorts of icky, overpowering smells and aromas. Simply put, it won't be easy to teach a dog how to discern the difference between methane gas and the stench on a car's exhaust pipe fumes, but it'll be worth it in the long run if a pup's meant to work as a detection canine. If you think you may want to have your dog trained as a fellow inspector, seek out an organization neat you such as Fire K9; they are found all over North America as well as in the UK. They will be able to determine your dog's suitability for training.
Step
1
Show and tell
Training as an accellerant detection dog, for example, will involve training over weeks and months for certification in detection of liquids like gasoline, lighter fluid, lantern fuel and kerosene. You will be responsible as the handler for vet bills, travel, food, training and the certification fees of your dog. Once trained your companion may be involved in searching burning buildings, vehicles, or fire sites.
Step
2
Getting things to stick
Certification doesn't stop in the classroom. Practice is well and good, but a dog won't really go out of their way to get a concept ingrained into their minds if they aren't properly incentivized to do so. If you really want your dog to get a concept down pat, you'll need to follow the instructions as taught to you by the certified trainer. Don't just reward your dong wantonly, as tempting as it may be to reward your puppy just for existing. Instead, wait for your dog to successfully complete a task and them reward them for a job well done.
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More Fun Ideas...

Bucket Carrying

There are a number of bodybuilders that use filled up buckets as tools for strength training. You can do the same for your dog, provided that you ease them into it and start with light amounts of weight. You don't even have to fill the buckets up with water per se; you could fill them up with doggy treats to further give incentive to your pet.

Go For a Ride

The image of a Dalmatian riding along with a team of Firemen and Firewomen is practically synonymous with fire rescue work as a whole. If you can gain access to a bonafide fire engine, consider taking your dog along with you and your crew for a ride. Bonus points if you can get your puppy to wear a hat for the duration of the trip.

Conclusion

Dogs have been trained to detect everything from potential fire hazards to explosive devices, lending credence to the idea that dogs could eventually work alongside Fire Inspectors out in the field. For now, any Fire Inspectors who are currently caring for canines should continue to engage in activities that'll put a dog's physicality and sense of smell to the test. A dog that can sniff out gas leaks could be a potentially valuable asset to Fire Inspection teams all around the world, but a dog's also got to be able to restrain themselves and keep their urges in check.