Adopting A Service Dog - A Great Adoption Tale
What is a 'retired' service dog in the first place? Simply put, most people never consider finding a companion that used to be of service to other people, such as a guide dog. When deciding to add a new adult dog to your family, have you considered adopting one that is actually retired? Any dog that was trained for or actually worked a 'career' by leading the blind or by helping other disabled people is a prime example of a working dog.
If you're lucky enough to adopt a dog that was trained to provide a service for people, or a least adopting a dog that was accepted for such training but did not make it for some reason, you are in for a special treat. Most people aren't even aware that such dogs exist.
However, not all dogs who are bred and raised in order to provide some sort of service is actually out there working. And other dogs have indeed been of use to people during their life but obviously cannot continue working forever. To help these animals find homes, there are guide dog organizations who provide adoption programs as part of their services.
If you look up the reports provided by the International Association of Assistance Dog Partners, you'll find that there are approximately 8,000 to 9,000 dogs in the United States alone that are currently 'employed'. These dogs are out there providing services by helping the deaf, guiding blind people and offering assistance to other disabled men and women.
Consider this, it takes a truly special and intelligent dog just to get excepted into any program which will train them for a career as a service dog. They must be well adjusted, well socialized, in good health, and show all the signs necessary to make them good students of whatever particular job the trainers will be preparing them for.
Just these attributes alone, before being trained to work, would make a truly incredible pet. Now imagine anywhere from six months up to two years of additional heavy-duty obedience training and career protocol programs. The result is a dog that anybody would be extremely grateful to have as a house pet.
So before you decide to go to a shelter or any of the usual places to buy or adopt a dog, consider checking out local facilities that specialize in providing dogs that are ex-service oriented, or those canines that for some reason or another did not completely make it through the training. Either way, you are guaranteed to enjoy a high class, first rate quality pet.
Consider this fact, you have 3 basic choices of service dog types to choose from: dogs that are retired from being guides, 'career changing' dogs, and finally, there are the dogs that did not make it through the training program for some reason or other, or simply put - flunkies.
1) Guide Dogs No More: Service dogs cannot work their jobs forever. As these dogs get older, they become slower and are no longer effective in helping their owners. On average, a service dog can work approximately 8 years. At this point in time they become prime candidates for adoption by people like you and me.
2) Dogs That Had Multiple Careers: Many dogs can be taken right out of one service job and then trained for another one. The reasons for this can vary. It may be because of temperament issues, medical concerns, or perhaps a dog was just not a suitable match for its owner. For example, a dog may be retired from guide service and then prepared and transferred to work at a rehabilitation hospital or a nursery home. Sometimes these types of animals are even assigned to children's homeless centers in order to play with the kids.
3) Just Didn't Make The Cut: Finally, we have our flunkies. Now before you consider a flunky to be a negative thing, reconsider that notion because quite the opposite is true. Thousands of dogs are trained every year by organizations which lead them into service jobs. Not all of these dogs make the final cut for whatever reason, whether it is from temperament problems, health problems, or perhaps were a little too excitable for service work. However, the important thing to remember here is that these dogs are still a cut above any other dog you may find elsewhere.
To be sure, these dogs are definitely in high demand. Most of them are completely trained and offer stable companionship from the day they are brought home. The reason for this is because most of these working type dogs spent months and even years going through intensive obedient classes and learning training protocols. This type of training is so extensive that most everyday citizens could not afford to have their pets undergo such training from professionals.
For the dog just to get accepted into these types of programs for training preparation means they already had natural first-class qualities and characteristics in the first place. Typically, these dogs are between the ages of one and two years old. Most are very gentle and loving and have had some type of extensive obedience training during the beginning of the program. All would make wonderful companion pets for any family.
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