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Are Police and Military Working Dogs Good for Families?

12 Sep 2022

One of the more common questions we receive from prospective customers is whether a retired police or military working dog would be a good family guardian and protector. Perhaps surprisingly, our answer is always a firm no. While police and military work have unique demands and rigours requiring a certain type of dog, this does not automatically translate into suitability for living and working in home and family environments.

Generally speaking, police and military dogs spend most of their lives in kennels, only leaving to work, be walked, or attend appointments. This means that on retiring, home environments will often be entirely new to them. Household items such as televisions or kettles may be new stimuli to these kinds of dogs, and could induce fear and anxiety. It is also unlikely that a police or military working dog is used to living around and being handled by children.

The nature of policing and soldiering is inherently stressful, and – much like humans – dogs can be impacted by long-term exposure to trauma. As dogs learn associatively, a stimulus they developed negative associations with while working with a police or military handler could illicit an undesirable response in civilian settings such as family homes and around children. Moreover, if they are being rehomed after leaving service, military and police working dogs often go through an extensive detraining programme to reduce their protective instincts and abilities.

Instead, a trained personal protection dog will always be a better and safer option. While rehoming retired police and military working dogs is admirable, such animals should be treated as pets rather than guardians. A trained family protection dog will have been fully prepared and acclimatised to family environments, and safe around children. They also tend to be better trained and more flexible in how they can work.

If you require further information, please do not hesitate to contact us via DM on any of social media feeds, or email [email protected].

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