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Hopatcong police adding drug detection dog to department
Written by Staff Report
March 10, 2013

"The Hopatcong Police Department has purchased a German shepherd from the Seeing Eye with plans to put it through a 14-week training program conducted by the New Jersey State Police K-9 division."

http://www.dailyrecord.com/article/...-drug-detection-dog-department?nclick_check=1



People sometimes ask what happens to those dogs who don't make it in an Assistance Dog program? Here is one answer.
 

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Or too much drive/prey drive which will be nicely channeled into drug work.
 

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The two main reasons (other than health reasons) I've heard for dogs that wash out of guide work are: 1. environmental sensitivity, and 2. too much prey drive. Obviously, a dog high in prey drive would not be a good candidate for leading a blind person--what if a squirrel crossed the street? But if that dog has confidence and solid nerve, it's an excellent candidate for LE, SAR, etc.
 

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Or too much drive/prey drive which will be nicely channeled into drug work.
This is true, but that should of been identified before SD training was even attempted.

The mentality of throwing everything against the wall to see what sticks is unfair to the dog.


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If seeing eye works like the other service dog organizations that I've learned about, they breed their own dogs, put them in homes for a year, and then see what they have. So this might've been one of those dogs. He was probably trained very well by his foster family but when he got evaluated for the actual training they realized he wasn't going to cut it. With GSDs, that prey drive sometimes comes out much later and you can't always tell for sure with puppies.

Awesome that they found him a working home though.
 

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I had a friend who used to work with Fidelco [seein eye GSDs] about 10 years ago and the state police took most of the male "prey drive monster" reject and SAR folks got the females until the police decided they wanted them too for detection work. Those dogs were weeded out during the foster period.
 

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With GSDs, that prey drive sometimes comes out much later and you can't always tell for sure with puppies.
Absolutely. I've seen it happen more than once--a pup that seems pretty laid-back and moderate at 8 weeks can grow up to be a prey monster! Some dogs are slow in maturing and it may take a while for their drives to develop. So the guide dog candidate that goes to the puppy raiser at 8 weeks, receives care and training by the book, and has NO drive-building whatsoever, can still turn out to have more drive than is appropriate for guide work. Even in their own breeding program that selects for moderation, you can get these individuals. Prey drive is hard to extinguish in canines, even in breeds specifically bred for low prey like livestock guardians, you get the odd one that wants to chase the stock instead of guarding it.
 

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Absolutely. I've seen it happen more than once--a pup that seems pretty laid-back and moderate at 8 weeks can grow up to be a prey monster! Some dogs are slow in maturing and it may take a while for their drives to develop. So the guide dog candidate that goes to the puppy raiser at 8 weeks, receives care and training by the book, and has NO drive-building whatsoever, can still turn out to have more drive than is appropriate for guide work. Even in their own breeding program that selects for moderation, you can get these individuals. Prey drive is hard to extinguish in canines, even in breeds specifically bred for low prey like livestock guardians, you get the odd one that wants to chase the stock instead of guarding it.
There are two people at my club that are puppy raisers for an organization out in California. This place breeds goldens/labs/mixes of the two. She told me that they do tend to pick just 3-4 out of the litter that they believe will be the best candidates and then they place (I'm guessing sell to raise money) the rest of the dogs in the litter. Their last one just left them, and they got a new one a few days later. He was a wonderful boy, him and my boy had some fun times romping around and playing.

It's really cool to hear how these dogs go into drug work if they are washed out though...I know there is a member that currently adopted a wash out dog from the program. It sounds like they're breeding some amazing dogs. Wonderful to see the GSD used as the main service dog in the program.
 

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It does raise the question about puppy selection and that you can't always guarantee what you get.
 

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When Tessa was 1 yr she did not have a lot of prey drive, by 2 years she had completely changed. For example at 1 year she hated fetch, would get the ball 3 times and then was bored and wanted to stop. A couple years back she broke her leg playing fetch, and wanted to keep going on 3 legs.

Just a note, guide dog is the term for a service dog that assists the blind. Seeing Eye refers to a specific organization that trains guide dogs.
 

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It does raise the question about puppy selection and that you can't always guarantee what you get.
Puppy selection is a big part that contributes to a washout rate. While there is no guarantee with any dog, there are better ways to stack the deck in your favor than throwing everything against the wall to see what sticks.


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