Adopting retired or 'failed ' police dogs

(40 Posts)
RainbowLoom Tue 13-Jan-15 18:51:09

Wondering if there's anyone with experience of this...
I have had a brief chat with someone in the met about it. I think a retired lab would suit us well, but would love to hear of anyone who has done it or considered it.

Lonecatwithkitten Tue 13-Jan-15 18:56:48

I have several patients who are failed police dogs they usually need an experience dog owner as they have been trained to work and need to learn how to chill out. It is important that you know detail of why they failed as this is critical for their future training. I haven't yet meet a failed lab only GSDs and springers.
I also have patients who are retired dogs, but they have all remained with their handler often dropping to 'part time' before retiring.

Buttholelane Tue 13-Jan-15 19:11:36

I thought retired dogs lived out their days with their handler.
They certainly used to.

Sometimes police puppy walkers keep back unsuitable pups however.

Why a retired Labrador over a gsd?
are you worried that a gsd would be aggressive?
Working police gsds are meant to be exceptionally well socialised and bombproof, the act of attacking of criminals a game, these same dogs have to find lost children remember.

They are both going to be very highly driven.

Labradors are not the squidgy, lazy lumps that snooze all day that people think they are. At least they SHOULDNT be and a working police drug one probably won't be.

FannyFanakapan Tue 13-Jan-15 19:16:00

a friend had a golden retriever that was a retired drug dog in the prison service. he was lovely boy, but had a habit of searching all the rooms in the house when he arrived, and if he saw an open door on a walk, he would try and wander in....

He was lovely.

Buttholelane Tue 13-Jan-15 19:20:07

I would also echo what lonecat said about young failed dogs, they are HIGH drive.

I have a high drive dog, though not a German shepherd/malinois.
I like driven dogs, but you need to know how to manage them correctly.
They need boundaries, they need to know what is acceptable and what is not, most importantly, they need some sort of outlet/activity for what they are bred to do.

A failed gsd will have high prey drive, it will be headstrong, intelligent, inclined to act on impulse/initiative.
Those traits have the potential to make it into either a truly fabulous dog or a dangerous liability.

Buttholelane Tue 13-Jan-15 19:27:24

Realise I have just harped on about gsd's, not sure why when you said you wanted a Labrador blush sorry.

I would still expect a young failed drug dog Labrador to be quite highly driven also though and potentially challenging.

RainbowLoom Tue 13-Jan-15 19:32:06

Retired GSDs aren't available for adoption, as they are trained to bite. Some will go to friends of police, but most will go to a police family. Or so the lady at the met told me... The other breeds are springer spaniels or cocker spaniels. I need to do more research on these...so any info appreciated...
I know labs more...hence why I automatically favoured the lab!!!

RainbowLoom Tue 13-Jan-15 19:33:28

Lonecat...are you a vet? (You mentioned patients)

RainbowLoom Tue 13-Jan-15 19:37:25

Fanny...love the image of your friend's prison dog...searching for contraband at any opportunity!!!

RainbowLoom Tue 13-Jan-15 19:38:46

Butthole thanks btw you seem to know your stuff!

mrslaughan Tue 13-Jan-15 20:02:19

Our dog walker is a retired handler and has 2 retired police dogs, one has coped with retirement well, the other not so much, ....he has been very difficult to manage and direct his drive in an appropriate direction, his handler is incredibly experienced and had a plan, but it didn't work....things have settled now, but it's constant management. I would say you would need to be very experienced and be able to afford help if it doesn't work out.

Flying neither of his are GSD

motmot Tue 13-Jan-15 20:06:14

You can apply for 'failed' guide dogs for the blind too, they are offered to their puppy walker first but they do rehome them if the puppy walkers can't take them. They are very strict on the dog being left alone, no more than 3 or 4 hours I think it is, because they are trained to be constant companions. I'd love one!

RainbowLoom Tue 13-Jan-15 20:25:44

Thanks mot

kelpeed Wed 14-Jan-15 01:22:52

i heard, second hand, a funny story about a failed police dog GSD.

this dog didn't make the cut on being socially bombproof out in public, so he didnt become a police dog. apparently he could not read social situations reliably.

the person who took him on after he moved onto his new life apparently was exercising in his home gym. the dog used to hang out in the gym, lying down and apparently chilling.

the new owner got one of those great big punching bags, and the first time he started using it, the dog flew past him and attacked the bag until he was utterly exhausted and the new bag was left in a less than brand new state.

clearly not a dog you'd want to have on the beat if small things like that triggered such a response.

SinclairSpectrum Wed 14-Jan-15 07:30:19

Think depends on which police service area you live in - certainly Northumbria police don't let retired police dogs go to the public, for all the reasons listed above.
They do however rehome the occasional failed dog, usually German or Belgium shepherds. Only dogs considered too soft are given to the public, I know quite a few that have been rehomed very successfully.
They advertise on their website, just depends how far you are willing to travel for a perfectly trained dog grin.
They don't use labs as a rule though.

Buttholelane Wed 14-Jan-15 09:01:57

Regarding the punch bag story, on one hand as you say it is worrying that that is its response.

But on the other hand, these are dogs that are bred to act on initiative. Quality Working line dogs (of most breeds) are deliberately bred for this trait, is it possible that the dog saw the guy smacking the heck out of it, picked up on the adrenaline and change of emotion and acted accordingly?

Just a thought.

Buttholelane Wed 14-Jan-15 09:17:09

Or perhaps, saw the man 'playing' with it and wanted to play too?
Nothing more fun than ripping and shaking the heck out of things for most dogs and he would be a highly prey driven specimen?

I don't know, without other warning flags, I don't know what I would make of it really.

SinclairSpectrum Wed 14-Jan-15 09:19:00

Couldn't agree more Buttholelane, and for the record, police dogs aren't used 'on the beat', there are specialised dogs which are deployed for specific purposes - searching for people, drugs, dead bodies, and yes, to attack when required.
The dog in the above story didn't hurt a person - it attacked something it's owner was fighting with.

EasyToEatTiger Wed 14-Jan-15 12:29:37

It's a lovely idea, Rainbowloom. I think you would need to do a lot of research. I remember reading somewhere about rehoming service dogs. They need very specific handling and don't always find it easy to live as a pet.

Lonecatwithkitten Wed 14-Jan-15 13:28:29

I am a vet all of the dogs I know have been or are Thames Valley dogs. They do rehome GSDs, but they do train their recovery dogs in a slightly different way to other forces.
I am also lucky enough to train my dog with one of their brood bitches and she is one of the most special dogs I have ever met. She is an exceptionally driven dog though and she wears her handler out on a regular basis.

Buttholelane Wed 14-Jan-15 14:05:53

Thames valley eh.
You must be local to me!
What area do you work in if you don't mind my asking?
Just curious as to if its a practise I use.

nannynome Wed 14-Jan-15 14:11:32

I love dogs but I would think fairly hard about adopting ex-police dogs especially if you have children. I was bitten by a failed GSD police dog which had been playing with me happily 10 mins before hand, I walked into the kitchen behind it's owner and it must have decided I was a threat as went round her and bit my thigh hard enough to break the skin through jeans. Took me a while to get over to be honest as we have always had dogs and I had never been scared of them until that point.

Lonecatwithkitten Wed 14-Jan-15 14:17:56

I prefer not to say, as I don't to blur my professional and on line lives.

Lonecatwithkitten Wed 14-Jan-15 14:20:56

Worth remembering TVP covers a pretty massive area.

Buttholelane Wed 14-Jan-15 14:23:25

That's fair enough I guess smile

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