How To Adopt A Retired Police Dog

While there is a certain appeal to adopting a retired police dog, your local police station may not have any available for public adoption.

How To Adopt A Retired Police Dog

This can be down to how dangerous they can be potentially to untrained civilians.

However, it is possible to adopt a police dog, even one who has failed to complete their training, and it helps if you have had military or police training yourself. 

In this guide, we will look at how to find a retired police dog for adoption, the procedures you need to follow, and how to care for your adopted former police dog. 

Find The Dog

Several establishments may have retired police dogs that are looking for a home.

These can include your local police department or those law enforcement agencies that work with police dogs.

Try the North American Police Work Dog Association, the National Police Canine Association, and the United States War Dog Association.

Getting in touch with these agencies and departments should be straightforward but there may be online advertisements too. 

You may also have to be patient about adopting a retired police dog.

While military branches, animal shelters, and non-profits may have retired police dogs for adoption, their specialist training may mean that they are unavailable (See also Why Are There So Many Pitbulls In Shelters?).

A priority for a former police dog may be their ex-partner or handlers and even if these places do have one available for adoption, there may be a long wait before you get it home.

The adoption process also requires persistence along with patience.

If you have found a few associations, agencies and departments then keep asking them if a retired police dog is available.

It may even help if the facility is local so you can visit in person and show that personal touch. 

Visiting the various facilities in your area may also give you a better idea of the conditions that the dog has to face.

If you are eventually given permission to adopt a retired police dog, visit it as soon as you can.

Making yourself familiar and known to the dog is one way of ensuring that they get to know you and you can tell whether it will be a good match.

Follow The Relevant Procedures

Once you have been matched with a retired police dog, there are some relevant procedures to follow.

There will be inevitable fees to pay and paperwork to fill out. All these steps are necessary so have to be filled out accurately, including the application form.

You may even be asked to be interviewed by military or police staff for them to ascertain whether you are prepared to adopt the dog

Be ready to put forward any financial evidence that shows you can afford to look after the retired police dog.

You may even be asked to show the skills that prove you can handle a formally trained police dog and it helps if you have followed some police or military training yourself. 

Care For Your Retired Police Dog  

A retired police dog has probably seen a lot so you can be somewhat aware it will be aggressive.

That’s part of its training and you can allow for various behaviors though these should be closely matched to your own.

Each dog will have its own quirks so get to know them and know how to deal with them.

It may take time yet eventually the retired dog will realize that its time out in the public is over and it should attune to your home. 

It may take time to train your retired police dog so you should be firm yet understanding.

Prior experience in training civilian dogs also helps and you may want to get advice from professional dog trainers.

Two of the key exercises that a police dog will learn are how to pursue and protect.

Once they are keen to look after their own, they will decide to protect them if they feel they are in danger which may mean an attack.

Shortly after you get your retired police dog home, you should train them up on who else is in the house.

There is also the issue of strangers so make an effort to assure the dog that strangers are friendly when approaching.

Just like any dog, you should be prepared to train them and reward good behavior with treats. 

Final Thoughts

Once you have been approved to adopt a retired police dog, you should be prepared to meet them.

This is a crucial part of the process as their temperament could be different from what you might expect.

Take the time to visit the facility beforehand and interact with the dog to see their capabilities.

As long as you feel comfortable in your handling of the dog then you should be ready to take it home. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Prepare Your Home For A Retired Police Dog?

The first step to preparing your home for a retired police dog starts outside as you should have enough room for the dog to run around and play in (Find out How Fast Can Pitbulls Run?).

The yard should have a fence as many trained dogs will be prime for an attack to protect those that they care about.

Your home should be dog-friendly including few stray wires, plenty of chew toys, and few dangers lying around.

You should also consider your own family as there is a danger to adopting a previously trained animal, especially for children under the age of five. 

What Happens To A Police Dog Once It Has Retired?

Once a trained police dog is phased into retirement, they are typically adopted by service members or their handlers.

These are the best candidates for the adoption as they have knowledge of the training process and the dog’s specific temperament.

That may not be an option though and police dogs are made available for adoption by the public as a reward for their service.  

Emily Andrews
Latest posts by Emily Andrews (see all)