These Organizations Match People With Service Dogs Deemed ‘Too Nice’ To Make It Through Training

by Angela Andaloro

If you’ve ever been lucky enough to be a dog owner, you know that moments with your dog are some of the most special there are.

Whether they’re running around and playing or cuddling up with you on the couch, dogs are some of the best companions out there.

Training a puppy is a lot of work. It involves consistency and dedication. It’s easier to train some pups than others based on the dog’s natural temperament and personality. For all the effort that goes into basic household training, you can imagine how challenging it is to train dogs to be certified service dogs, like dogs who work for the Transportation Security Administration or as police K-9s.

Some pups don’t make the cut for a variety of reasons, such as being too friendly or too easily distracted.

While those qualities may not be what the TSA or the police are looking for, it doesn’t mean those dogs won’t make wonderful pets. That’s why there are a number of organizations out there working to find these good boys and girls the perfect homes.

service dog in training

Dogs are incredibly smart and capable animals. They’re excited by learning and taking on new challenges. Of course, every dog is different. That’s why while some dogs are perfect for a life of service, others don’t quite make the mark.

service dog in training

There are certain requirements for service dogs. They must be able to focus on the task at hand when they’re on duty, which is why you should never approach them. They must be capable of maintaining a certain demeanor and performing specific tasks on command.

If you’ve ever had a dog, you know that our four-legged friends are full of personality. Some dogs are more shy than others. Some dogs are more aggressive than others. Unfortunately, that means these dogs aren’t always the best service animals.

german shepherd puppy

Some puppies who set out to train for the TSA and other government agencies don’t make the cut. Luckily, a few wonderful organizations have stepped in to help those “too good” boys and girls find the perfect homes to grow up in.

The TSA has a canine adoption program for dogs “that do not meet the TSA Canine Training Center criteria for government work.” While these pups still need a little bit of work, like house-training, they’re wonderful as pets.

Since the TSA wants these good pups to end up in the best homes possible, there are some requirements prospective families must meet. The agency looks for families who have fenced-in yards, have no intention of moving in the immediate future, and have taken good care of any animals already in their homes.

You’d have to travel to the Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in San Antonio, Texas, to pick up one of these sweet pups if selected. Depending on where you live, that could be a bit of an adventure, but a worthwhile one to gain a new family member.

There are also organizations that help train shelter dogs to become service dogs. When those pups don’t make the cut, these organizations help them find forever homes. Freedom Service Dogs of America is one example.

Whether you’re looking for a service dog for a loved one or looking to provide a home for a pup who wasn’t a good fit, FSD can find you a match. There are adoption fees to cover medical expenses, and you must be at least 21 years of age.

Service Dogs, Inc. provides a similar service. Some of those dogs will go on to live lives of service. Others will be classified as “career change dogs,” meaning they don’t quite qualify but still need loving homes and families.

SDI requires potential new homes to have adequate exercise areas and access to the home, meaning the dogs can’t be outdoor-only dogs. The agency also requires you to be able to travel to Texas for a trial period before signing the contract to make your forever friend official.

If you’re looking for an older dog, you can adopt a dog who has already completed a career of service as well. Mission K9 makes this possible. Many of the dogs who have served have some issues that require special care.

Because some of these dogs suffer from conditions like anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder, they need a heightened level of care. They can’t be alone too long, and they require lots of exercise, as well as regular veterinary care. It’s a big commitment, but they’re certainly worth it.

service dog laying down

There are a lot of options for helping pups who tried to dedicate themselves to service. No one likes to fall short of their goals, but luckily there are plenty of loving families out there eager to soften the blow. There are also a lot of wonderful families eager to help retired service dogs make the best out of their golden years. It’s another important reason why you should adopt, not shop.