How to Adopt a Retired Police Dog?

A County Sheriff police dog.

Thinking about adopting a retired police dog?

Before you run out and apply to adopt a police dog.

There are many things you need to know about caring for these dogs and how their lives have changed since they went into service.

Here’s everything you need to know to give them the best life possible after they’ve served their time in law enforcement.


First, Do Your Research

Before you even consider adopting a retired police dog, you’ll want to do plenty of research.

These animals have undergone extensive training so they can help keep their human partners safe while on duty.

Unfortunately, many retired canines are often sent to shelters or rescue organizations because not enough people are willing (or able) to adopt these dogs—and it breaks our hearts.

If you’re up for making room in your home for an animal who has given its life to others, read on!

Here’s what you need to know about how to adopt a retired police dog.

Get Pre-Approved.

Before visiting any local shelters or animal adoption agencies.

Call ahead and ask if they accept applications from people interested in adopting retired law enforcement dogs.

If so, make sure to fill out all paperwork before going through with the visit—you don’t want anything getting in your way once you meet these amazing animals!

Find an Agency That Works With Law Enforcement Dogs.

While many rescue organizations have begun working with police departments across America.

It’s still important to find an agency that specializes in helping retired police dogs find their forever homes.

This will ensure that you can get accurate information about each dog.

As well as help them connect with someone who is truly able to provide them with everything they need during their golden years. 

Bring Your Child (If You Have One).

Many families are hesitant to adopt older dogs because of concerns about overtraining.

However, if you have children at home, bringing them along for your first meeting could be a great idea.

Since children are naturally great at training animals (just look at how quickly cats learn when kids start speaking cat).

Having one on hand for some extra assistance could be beneficial for both parties involved!

Make Sure Your Home Is Dog-Friendly.

There’s no point in taking home a new family member if you live in an apartment or other space that isn’t pet-friendly.

Be sure to check with your landlord and/or building manager to see what sort of restrictions they have in place before moving forward with anything else.

Decide Whether or Not You Want a Purebred.

Some shelter organizations offer purebred retired police dogs, while others only take mixed breeds.

And there’s always a chance you might end up adopting an imposter!


Talk to Other People

Contacting other people is an important part of adopting a retired police dog.

You’ll need to talk with their former handlers, get background information on their training, and discover how they got along with other dogs in their department.

It’s important that you not just adopt any dog—you want one that was trained properly and will get along well with your family.

The more time you spend talking to people who know these dogs, the better prepared you’ll be for bringing them home.

The adoption process can take anywhere from two weeks to several months.

It all depends on whether or not there are any available dogs at your local shelter or rescue group.

Be patient and prepare yourself for what could be a long wait!


Meet the Puppy in Person

You’ve already decided that you want to adopt a police dog, but before taking him or her home you want to meet your puppy.

Seeing him or her in person will allow you to get an idea of how he or she will look when fully grown.

It’s important to interact with your puppy when he or she is young so that you can bond as quickly as possible.

It may also help in case there are any behavioral issues down the road!


Observe Dog’s Behavior in Its Natural Environment

If possible, observe an active-duty K9 in action before deciding whether you’d like to adopt one.

Seeing a dog in its natural environment will give you some idea of what life with your new canine pal will be like.

Keep an eye out for signs of aggression or overexcitement—both are red flags, especially if they’re being directed at people.


Write A Cover Letter

A cover letter is an extra resume.

It provides an opportunity for you to show off your communication skills, style, knowledge of the company and industry, creativity, etc.

Look for ways to connect what you’re saying about yourself with what you think they’ll be most interested in.

It’s your secret weapon for getting them excited about meeting with you.

The one thing not to do: make your cover letter too long—keep it under 1 page (5-7 sentences) at most.

You want to leave them wanting more!


Provide References

Plenty of retired police dogs are looking for forever homes.

It’s important to do your research when adopting so you can be sure you’re getting a dog that will work well with your family, lifestyle, home, etc.

Contact law enforcement agencies in your area or check out sites like Pets for Patriots.

There are many great options; just make sure you do your homework!


Follow Up with A Few Days Delay

When your dog retires, you’ll want to make sure they get plenty of rest in their golden years.

The most important thing is to make sure they’re safe at all times.

Whether that means keeping them within view or taking them on long daily walks.

It’s essential you find ways to keep your pooch safe while they adjust to their new life.


Don’t Feed The Dog Table Scraps

As cute as it may be, feeding a dog leftover is not good for them.

Their stomachs aren’t designed to digest human food, they can’t eat too much of it at once.

And they could develop health problems or even be poisoned if they eat something off your plate that isn’t right for their diet.

If you want to feed your dog some treats, go ahead, but do so sparingly.

It’s also best to stick with healthy options like rawhide bones, carrots, and apples.

You should also avoid giving dogs chocolate because it can cause heart problems in dogs.

The same goes for onions; while they don’t typically have an effect on humans who consume them, onions are toxic to dogs.


Keep Things Positive When Around The Dog

You are about to enter into a relationship with an animal that has been socialized by humans for years, but never as its own person.

You should never yell at your dog or punish it in any way, including physically.

The best thing you can do is praise it often when it does something right so that it learns what behaviors are acceptable.

In time, you will develop your own system of communication with your new four-legged companion.


Leave The Dog Alone After Going Outdoors In Cold Weather

Dogs will often run outside with their owners in cold weather, and that’s fine.

But once they come back inside, they should be left alone until they have fully warmed up.

Making sure your pup doesn’t go out when it’s freezing outside is just as important as making sure he stays hydrated.

So when he comes inside, make sure you leave him alone for 20 minutes or so before giving him any attention.


Be Patient

Before adopting a retired police dog, you should be prepared for its training requirements.

You may have heard that police dogs are basically ready for adoption straight out of their training.

These dogs are usually trained to obey only one person (their former handler), so it will take time for them to learn how to listen to you instead.

This is especially true if they were abused or neglected during their time on duty.

As many are—so your patience will be tested as you help them adjust to life in your home.

But remember: Your new pet has already been through a lot, and deserves your love and care as much as any other animal.

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