why-animals-do-the-thing: ofspaceandboys: beh…









“You can’t deprogram them.”

So just, allow a sober person to keep the dog?

This is the police trying to make people panic about legalization.

IF YOU LEGALIZE THESE DRUGS WE’LL KILL THIS DOG is totally a normal and cool thing that professionals interested in protecting the people say

This is one of the things that’s really hard to get behind unless you have an in depth understanding of working dogs, especially police dogs. These dogs cannot be pet homed; they’re liabilities, even if they are solely drug-detection dogs (and most are cross trained). And it is near-impossible to retrain scent detection dogs, so the only options would be donating to police organizations where marijuana is still illegal, selling to private companies (prisons, schools, etc. especially), or putting to sleep. I do believe those first two options are on the table, realistically, but that’s still a lot of dogs suddenly jobless that are a huge liability upon the police departments that house them. Working dogs, especially high caliber ones, go bonkers if they aren’t worked.

However, a lot of these articles have been taken out of context. Yes, it’s likely that some police folk were trying to do a scare tactic, but I’m fairly sure someone mentioned it was a possibility that the dogs would be put to sleep and folks ran with it, as well.

Nope, no, no, very untrue. They can be pet dogs, in fact most of them live with their handlers’ families during the 2/3 of their life they aren’t working. They can absolutely be retrained or they can be retired early.

The easiest way to retrain something like this is to make the particular stimulus (marijuana) the cue for a different behavior then it was previously a cue for. Behavior A goes on extinction or is punished and Behavior B is trained and reinforced. You still have a dog that alerts to marijuana but it alerts in a different way than it alerts to still illegal drugs. This can be backed up by training data for legal reasons.

Unfortunately many K-9 units don’t have the resources or experience to do this. But euthanasia is still far, far from the only option.

Uh yeah as someone who has trained actual working drug dogs, the fear-mongering that it’s impossible to retrain these dogs is just…. not true? And it’s something that’s done very often. The idea that a dog can only search and alert for one scent is severely understimating a dog’s capabilities. Us humans have far weaker noses and we can still distinguish multiple scents at a time. Of course a dog would be even better at it than us, so 99% of drug dogs or dual purpose dogs are trained for multiple scents. It’s more cost effective and more efficient in the field. It should also be noted that currently, most stations DO NOT train dual purpose/cross-trained dogs (that is, dogs that detect drugs AND attack suspects). They are very much the exception and not the rule, and that is EXACTLY because of reasons like this, as well as public safety concerns. Those TSA drug dogs? They aren’t going to bite anyone. The ones that search highschools? They’re p much safe, too. Hell, most departments choose to use an entirely different breed of dog for scent work now. Drug detection dogs are not hard to home, and generally are not liabilities. As well, dogs aren’t so primitive and stupid they can’t just learn something new.

Also, just to clarify; a protection dog that does tracking is not dual purpose. Tracking a suspect and finding articles is not the same as finding drugs.

This is all good information. I’m boosting for the information sharing, not because I have anything to add other than: yes, working dogs need a job, and so if retired they would not be easy pet dogs that just laze around and only need minimal enrichment- but that doesn’t mean there’s nowhere for them to go. You just can’t adopt them out to whatever softhearted members of the public want one.