New England area law enforcement K9 units, Search and Rescue Dog groups and other public service and public safety organizations with K9 units or “working dogs” are always looking for a dog with “the right stuff”. Some of these organizations have asked GSRNE for assistance in finding appropriate rescue dogs for their programs.
The dog MUST be between the ages of 10 months and 3 years. Most dogs over 3 will NOT be accepted.
The dog cannot be fearful or skittish – dogs with fear based aggression or “fear biters” will NOT be accepted.
The dog MUST be ball/toy-crazy! (would want to “sell his soul” for a ball/toy). He must want to continue to play with a toy/ball for and extended period of time- over 2 to 3 minutes with his desire to play with you growing and growing. He must want to play with his toy/ball no matter where he is EVEN IF NOT AT HOME.
You should be able to take the dog to an unfamiliar area, and hide the ball/toy, and the dog should commit himself to searching for the ball/toy even though there may be people, cars, other animals, strange noises, etc. TEST THIS. Nothing should distract the dog’s desire to locate (using primarily his nose) the ball/toy. This quality/intensity of desire to search and the dog’s preference to use his nose over his eyes is of the utmost importance. Lack of intensity/urgency to get the ball/toy is one of the main reasons for not accepting a dog into a K9 unit training program.
The dog should not be afraid of slippery surfaces. Test him on linoleum as well as other types of surfaces – does he walk across it without hesitation?
The dog should not be afraid of sudden loud noises.
The dog must be in generally good health. (Or if ill, have a quickly-treatable problem such as an ear infection). Some police organizations will need to x-ray the dog prior to accepting him- his hips and elbows must pass as healthy. If they do not, the dog may be returned to you.
Conditions that will be checked on a per-dog basis:
If the dog has bitten someone it may not rule him out. It will depend on the unit and on the circumstances surrounding his aggressive incidents. If he’s a very confident dog, aggression history is less likely to be a sticking point for an interested unit.
If the dog has some dog-aggression, this *may* not rule him out. Severe dog-aggression will usually rule a dog out.
Most units prefer male dogs. Some units do accept females and are more likely to when looking for a detection dog (narcotics, explosives detection etc) this job may require her to be more social and “friendly” and have the ball/toy drive at a very high level. Most units do not accept females for patrol dog situations.