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.
Some Breeds Are More Common Than Others
A person who wants to adopt a former or unsuccessful service dog should know it's uncommon to get to pick a specific breed; if you have your heart set on a pure-bred Cocker Spaniel, chances are slim you'll find one among rejected service animals.
The most common breeds available are Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers, then the next most common include German Shepherds, Poodles, Labradoodles, and Goldendoodles. You also might encounter some Lab/Golden Retriever mixes.
Pit Bulls Are More Popular As Service Dogs Than You Might Assume
An unlikely source has started to wake up to the benefits of pit bulls: police departments. Shelters are overflowing with this dog breed - which often get a bad rap - so instead of spending tens of thousands of dollars on pure-bred Golden Retrievers, police forces are saving pit bulls from euthanasia, training them to be service animals, and saving money in the process.
But, as with any dog breed, some pit bulls don't make the final cut in police dog school, meaning there's a strong possibility you might find one to adopt among all those Retrievers and Labradoodles.
Most Places Have Wildly Long Waiting Lists
Adopting a former or failed service dog does not happen overnight. In fact, it won't happen after many overnights - instead, expect years. For instance, Guide Dogs of America has a waiting list of five to eight years. These organizations receive too many applications and don't have enough retired or failed service animals for every interested dog owner.
As in all areas of life, though, good things come to those who wait.
Most Of The Dogs Are Crate-Trained - Not House-Trained
If you think this animal will be ready to go right away, think again. The vast majority of dogs who work in law enforcement are crate-trained, not house-trained. This means if you want them to take care of their business outdoors, you'll need to invest some time and energy.
Fortunately, you can use their crate-training to transition into house-training. Going into the experience aware of the work involved will make you the best pet parent ever. Remember, these are not little toy dogs that leave small droppings - they're big dogs to clean up afterward, and you want to make sure they're relieving themselves in the appropriate locations.