A puppy named “Lulu” was dropped from the CIA’s explosive detection K9 puppy class after determining it was not the life for her.
“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,” a CIA release read.
That was the case for Lulu, a puppy in the fall 2017 program.
A few weeks into training, Lulu began to show a lack of interest in detecting explosives. It is just as important that the dog is as interested in it’s job, as its K9 handler. And just like human students, dogs have good days and bad days at school when learning a new subject. They get lazy, stop caring, or just guess to get through it the subject, but usually that bad days only last a day or two.
According to the CIA, the reasons for dogs to have a bad day are endless and it is up to the trainer to discover the problem and find a solution.
“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,” the CIA said.
But not Lulu. Some dogs, like her, make is clear that the issue is not temporary and the job is just not for them.
“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,” the CIA said.
The K9 trainers made the difficult decision to drop Lulu from the program.
But the story does not end on a sad note.
When a dog is dropped or retires from the CIA K9 program, the handler is given the opportunity to adopt them – to continue to formed bond at home. Lulu was adopted by one of her handlers, who worked with her during imprint training.
Lulu now lives a life at home playing with her handler’s kids, sniffing out rabbits and squirrels in the backyard, and eating meals out of a dog dish. She even has a canine companion, Harry who is enjoying retirement.
“We’ll miss Lulu, but this was the right decision for her. We wish her all the best in her new life,” the CIA writes.
But wait, there is even more good news!
Although Lulu was adopted by her handler and they continue to be partners at home, he still needs an explosive detection K9 partner at work.
The CIA is announcing Friday the newest addition to the fall 2017 puppy class, with the hopes of a perfect match. You can follow up with the new pup here.