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Pupdate: A Pup Leaves the Class

For our K9 trainers, it’s imperative that the dogs enjoy the job they’re doing. Sometimes, even when a pup tests well and they successfully learn how to detect explosive odors, they make it clear that being an explosive detection K9 is not the life for them. Such is the case for one of the fall 2017 “puppy class” pups.

We are sad to announce that Lulu has been dropped from the program.



A few weeks into training, Lulu began to show signs that she wasn’t interested in detecting explosive odors. All dogs, just like most human students, have good days and bad days when learning something new. The same is true during our puppy classes. A pup might begin acting lazy, guessing where the odors are, or just showing a general disregard for whatever is being taught at the moment. Usually it lasts for a day, maybe two.

There can be a million reasons why a particular dog has a bad day, and the trainers become doggy psychologists trying to figure out what will help the dog come out of its funk. Sometimes the pup is bored and just needs extra playtime or more challenges, sometimes the dog need a little break, and sometimes it’s a minor medical condition like a food allergy requiring switching to a different kibble. After a few days, the trainers work the pup through whatever issue has arisen, and the dog is back eagerly and happily ready to continue training.

Lulu_w_friend.jpg
Lulu enjoying retirement with her best buddy, Harry.
But for some dogs, like Lulu, it becomes clear that the issue isn’t temporary. Instead, this just isn’t the job they are meant for. Lulu was no longer interested in searching for explosives. Even when they could motivate her with food and play to search, she was clearly not enjoying herself any longer. Our trainers’ top concern is the physical and mental well-being of our dogs, so they made the extremely difficult decision to do what’s best for Lulu and drop her from the program.

When a dog is dropped or retires from our program, the handler or handler’s family is given the chance to adopt them. Most handlers, of course, choose to do so. The dogs are their partners and have become members of their family, even after just a few weeks of training together. Lulu was a adopted by her loving handler, who had the chance to work with her during imprint training. She now enjoys her days playing with his kids, sniffing out rabbits and squirrels in the backyard, and eating meals and snacks out of a dog dish. We’ll miss Lulu, but this was the right decision for her. We wish her all the best in her new life.


Lulu was adopted by her handler, but he still needs an explosive detection K9 partner at work. Check back tomorrow to meet the newest addition to the fall 2017 puppy class.

If you miss any of the articles in this series, visit “Follow CIA’s New Puppy Class!” main page, where we are chronicling the puppies’ progresses throughout their training.


Posted: Oct 18, 2017 11:30 AM
Last Updated: Oct 19, 2017 07:21 PM