It's no secret that dogs are better than us - we don't deserve their love, unfailing support, and all-around awesomeness. But did you know dogs that fail police training can be adopted? Yup, even those pooches not cut out for a life of service are available for adoption by the right humans. And just because these particular canines may not be adept criminal-grabbers doesn't mean they can't still be perfect pets. Remember: they're all good dogs, whether they come from a Harry Potter animal shelter or a failed doggo police academy.
Police training for dogs is an intense and complex process - just as not any person is cut out for medical school or life on the silver screen, not every dog is meant to work with police. It can be easy to forget that each dog has a singular disposition; those temperaments are naturally going to assert themselves, especially during an experience as demanding as police training. And some of those personalities basically say, "Meh. I'd rather sit in a hammock and watch butterflies." Who can blame them?
Let's take a closer look at where and how to adopt dogs that failed police training.
Dog rescues and similar organizations maintain high standards to ensure their dogs will end up in the safest homes possible. Adopting a dog through any organization is typically a laborious process, but fostering a former - or failed - service dog is harder.
The list of requirements for potential adopters is exhaustive. When adopting a service dog from the TSA, for example, you must have a fenced yard, no intention of moving in the next six months, and be ready to come to San Antonio, TX, to meet your potential pup. After submitting the initial application, the agency sends photos of dogs, and you choose the ones you want to meet.
Then you travel to Texas to meet the canines, and the TSA matches you with a dog they feel is the best fit. Multiple visits are often required. There's also a lot of paperwork to fill out, including contracts and agreements.
If you're looking for a lapdog or pup that sleeps in the sun all day, you may be hard-pressed to find the right fit among former or failed service dogs. These dogs are usually extremely active and energetic breeds that require above-average exercise, so having the physical stamina to keep up is an absolute must.
The only exception to this rule is if the particular dog failed training or was retired because of lackluster energy levels. In this case, these are the dogs who do want to sit in your lap or sleep in the sun all day. In general, however, be prepared to provide a lot of physical activity to keep the dog engaged and healthy.
Just because a dog may have flunked out of training doesn't mean they don't have - or won't retain - some of the skills they picked up. Both law enforcement and the military have high standards for the dogs they train. For example, not acing a bomb-sniffing test might get a dog "fired," but they may still be able to sniff contraband, though not as well as their fellow trainees.
There's a high chance that, should you be lucky enough to adopt one of these dogs, you'll get one with a professional nose that can sniff out explosives or nail your neighbor for smoking cannabis.
Groups that utilize service animals will turn dogs over to specialized organizations that deal with the adoption process for former or failed service canines. Mission K9, for example, finds new homes for retired working dogs.
Freedom Service Dogs of America adopts dogs from shelters with the goal of turning them into service animals; if they don't pass their training, FSD adopts them out. TSA also handles adopting out dogs that they have trained.