We all love heartwarming stories about hardworking service dogs, but what about the pups who don’t make it to graduation — can you adopt service dogs that failed? The sweet answer is yes! Many of the retrievers and German shepherds who flunk out of service dog school wind up in loving homes as normal family dogs, and we can’t think of a happier ending.
Service dogs (including bomb-detection dogs, drug-sniffing dogs, and police dogs) have real jobs — just like us. If a dog displays behaviors that are unsuitable for a career as a service animal, she may be dropped from the training program. Being too friendly or nervous and showing a lack of enthusiasm and drive are enough reasons for trainers to decide these pups would be better off as house pets. Lucky us!
Just because a dog fails out of a training program doesn’t mean he or she can’t be useful. Remember Gavel, the police dog in Australia who was training to be a police dog with the Queensland Police Service but failed out because he was too friendly? Gavel eventually switched careers and is now a proud member of the Queensland government, serving as “vice-regal dog” and bringing “untold joy” to the governor, his wife, and the rest of the staff.
There are dozens of companies here in the United States that offer similar services, placing failed service dogs with familes that will adore them. In a 2015 press release, the TSA offered up retired dogs or pups who had failed their explosives detection, at no cost to the families who would adopt them. However, there sometimes is a fee to adopt these dogs, though the same is true for any animal adopted from a regular shelter. Either way, your new furry friend is sure to pay you back in snuggles and slobbery kisses, and we think that’s perfectly fine.
Watch the video below to see hilarious dogs react to being called good boys.