You Can Adopt Dogs That Flunked Out Of Service Training Because They Were 'Too Nice'

Mission K9 works to find older service dogs, while Freedom Service Dogs of America focuses on training shelter dogs to become service dogs.

January 11, 2019

Maggie, a TSA explosives detection canine, checks out the snowy conditions at Dulles Airport near Washington, D.C. [Department of Homeland Security/DHS.gov]

Maggie, a TSA explosives detection canine, checks out the snowy conditions at Dulles Airport near Washington, D.C. [Department of Homeland Security/DHS.gov]

By: Catherine Townsend

There are many reasons why a dog can fail service-dog training: Some puppies are nervous, others might have a medical condition, and others may have a personality quirk — like a love of greeting strangers — that makes them unsuitable for the job.

But doggies who can't quite get the hang of sniffing bombs — or older service dogs who are ready to "retire" — can make wonderful pets. And there are several organizations out there that can help people adopt the ones who flunk out.

Some of the breeds available include German shorthaired pointers, Labrador retrievers, German shepherds, and Belgian Malinois.

According to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) website, owners must meet several criteria when adopting a canine companion: They are required to have a fenced-in yard with no plans to move within six months; agree to provide the dog with appropriate medical care, exercise, training, and companionship; and to never sell the dog.

Potential adopters must also be willing to make multiple trips to San Antonio, Texas, where the dogs are based, in order to visit their potential new family member and determine compatibility.

For some, the reason for failure can even be having too "nice" a temperament, as in the case of the dog that didn’t make the cut for the Queensland Police Service Dog Squad due to his a habit of greeting strangers.

The BBC reports that the pup went on to join the Government House as an official viceregal dog.

According to Freedom Service Dogs of America, dogs can be disqualified because they "may be timid, easily distracted, or unable to resist chasing the occasional squirrel."

Mission K9 works to find older service dogs, while Freedom Service Dogs of America focuses on training shelter dogs to become service dogs. Those that do not go on to become service dogs are adopted out.

Aside from the TSA, there are a number of organizations that help find homes for out-of-work service dogs.

The TSA and other organizations stress that though the dogs are healthy and have been vaccinated and spayed/neutered, most of them have not gone through the service-dog program, so may require additional behavioral training.

As with any adoption, the organizations conduct multiple interviews with potential adopters to make sure that the new families are a good fit.

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