Adoption FAQs: Should You Adopt A Retired Service Dog?
Retired service dogs often need to be adopted once finished with their duties.
Often times we encounter service dogs throughout our daily lives. Sometimes we will see them leading their owner around the grocery store, riding around in their official police crates to assist law enforcement officers, or even helping to defend our country in the military. The life of a service dog is extremely important and they are some of the most disciplined, well-trained, caring dogs that you will ever meet.
However, sometimes a service dog cannot keep up with their intense training or is not able to stay with their original owner forever. When this occurs, they often end up in animal shelters because people outside of their regular service are unable to care for them. However, just because a service dog ends up in an animal shelter or rescue center does not mean that they aren’t as good as any other loving pet. In fact, they usually have skills and obedience that may outnumber even the best trained house pets!
While this may be good news for someone who is looking to adopt a shelter pet who is already very well trained and obedient, it can sometimes be very difficult to transition a working service dog into the regular life of playing ball and lounging at home. Therefore, if you are thinking about adopting a former service dog, be sure that you are up to the challenge and take these factors into consideration:
They Are Very Well Trained
Sometimes a puppy or a young dog does not have what it takes to become a professional guide dog, police dog or military dog. However, that does not mean that they are unable to be trained. In fact, it is usually quite the opposite! In order to be a successful service dog, many different contributing factors such as health, concentration, willingness to work and aptitude come into a play. If a dog does not meet every single one of these expectations, they may not make it into their program. However, dogs that undergo training to become a service dogs (even the ones that do not make the programs) still excel over the average pet in many of these areas. After all, they’re being trained by the best! It just might not have been the right time for them.
You May Have To Teach Them How To Play
While service dogs typically are well trained in obedience commands and behavior, it’s the area of play time where they may need a little training. This is because service dogs, especially ones that are being retied and have lived out their years of service, are trained to work first, play second. They may need help reinforcing the fact that they are no longer “on duty” and are free to play at will. However, this is a habit that is easy to break―especially when you have the right toys and treats!
They May Be Socialized Differently
If you have ever seen a service dog out in the real world, you may have noticed that they do not try and run to you or say hello to strangers like a regular puppy or dog would. This is, again, because they have been trained that they are “on duty” and they must stick beside their human as part of their service. It is not because they are unfriendly pets. Therefore, when you are looking to adopt a service dog or are walking around a pet shelter and meet one, do not be off put if they do not act as friendly and loving as the other pets. They just need to get to know you and your own service for them―to be just another member of the family!
To learn more about to know if you are ready to adopt a new pet or to learn about adoption in your area, be sure to contact The Texas Alliance for Homeless Pets today!
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