There are a lot of working dogs out there, some working on farms, others working with the police as well as dogs that are specially trained to work with the military. These wonderful dogs know their jobs and their handlers totally rely on their brilliant senses to help them out in many different ways. But what happens to a working dog when it is comes to retirement, where do they go and who takes care of them?
Collies are wonderful working dogs, they are busy characters and delight in the jobs they do around a farm. If they look after sheep these eye dogs are highly trained with an extremely responsive sheepdog commanding a very high price indeed. Responsible and reputable breeders tend to avoid selling any of their dogs overseas which is a very comforting thing to know. Farmers all over the country prize their farm dogs and spend years working them so they form a superb bond – the partnership literally becomes 'one man and his dog'. Unfortunately time stands still for no man or dog either, so when an older dog finds it hard to carry on working, their owner's have no option but to retire them. Very often a farmer will have bought or bred a young dog some time before the old dog stops working. With the help of the older dog, farmers then start to train the young working dog so they are ready to step into the older dogs shoes, making for a much smoother transition for all concerned. It could be fair to say that a large number of working sheepdogs spend their retirement on the farms they have worked on. However, some farm dogs need to be re-homed and this is where rescue centres come into the picture. There are rescue organisations all over the country that offer temporary homes for working collies both retired dogs and younger ones who did not make the grade as well as any mistreated dogs that needed rescuing. It can be a hard task rehabilitating a working dog so they adapt into a home environment, and this is especially true of collies because they are extremely busy characters. Collies need to be occupied all of the time for them to be happy. Obviously an older dog is going to be calmer than an young dog, but collies even in their latter years can be demanding characters. This is why you have to discuss adopting a collie or sheepdog with the people at a rescue centre before you decide you to take one on. Re-homing a retired working collie is a very rewarding experience, but you need to have the space around your home to accommodate them as well as all the time this breed of dog needs to keep happy and content.
Police dogs are highly trained in all sorts of disciplines and become very attached to their handlers and vice versa. These dogs provide us with invaluable services, often associated with life saving situations and this includes searching for missing people. Police dogs and their handlers can be seen in many cities and towns across the country, they form part of an elite team that serves a community to make it a safer environment for everybody to live in. Every year, many police dogs are retired from active duty but very few are offered for adoption. More often than not it is their handlers who adopt them so they can live out there lives in the company of the person they have come to know. Police dogs are normally retired at around 8 years old, although some dogs stop working a little earlier, especially if they weren't able to complete their training. You may be thinking about adopting a retired police dog, but remember inexperienced dog owners will not be able to adopt one very easily. You need to know about dogs and their needs, especially when it comes to a dog that's been highly trained and kept active all of it's working life. You also need to do a lot of research and preparation before deciding to adopt a retired police dog, no matter what breed of dog it happens to be. You can contact the police directly to enquire about adoption or you can get in touch with one of the many rescue organisations that specialise in re-homing these lovely but very 'special needs' animals. It is organisations such as these that would be able to advise you on how to go about adopting a dog as well as offer you a lot of valuable advice on the special needs involved. There are a lot of factors that are taken into consideration before you would be accepted as an approved owner. You have to remember that although these dogs may be older, they are still highly trained and as such need a lot more care when handled - the environment you offer them has to perfectly suit their needs.
Army working dogs are highly trained animals that serve their country alongside their handlers. These dogs are true 'life savers', they are regularly asked to risk their own lives in order to preserve the lives of their handlers and fellow army personnel. These wonderful dogs are put in dangerous environments and are trained to respond to their handlers instructions with an absolute obedience that's second to none. When it comes to retirement, army dogs need very special care. Potential dog owners would need to meet very specific criteria in order to qualify to re-home an army dog. It would be fair to say these brave dogs are only re-homed to people who have already had experience of taking care of them or a similarly trained dog like a retired police dog or even a search-and-rescue dog. If you think you would be able to re-home a retired army dog, you would need to check you do in fact meet all the criteria and you can do this by contacting the relevant re-homing organisations. The thing to remember is that many of these working dogs can show signs of aggression due to the way they've been trained. They will need a lot of care and attention which means offering them the right sort of environment and the time to adapt to a new way of life they would feel comfortable in. Re-homing these wonderful dogs can be a very rewarding experience. But not everyone is suited to adopt a dog that's worked all of it's life. You need time, patience, knowledge and an understanding of how difficult it can be for a retired working dog to adapt to a new handler and to a very different way of life than the one they previously knew.
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