Not every dog is meant to be an assistance dog, but they always find the right "job" for them.
Puppy Raisers raise and train future assistance dogs of all types. Some of those puppies may not go on to graduate as a service dog and instead get “Released” or “Career Changed”. Having your dog get career changed can be the toughest and most bittersweet news for a puppy raiser. But just know it is what is best for your pup and so many raisers in the puppy raising community have been there!
What does it mean to get released?
Being released means they are no longer in training to be an assistance dog for their original organization/purpose. They may be sent to a different organization to pursue a different career or they may be adopted by their puppy raiser or another family as a pet.
Other terms for Released:
Change of Career (COC)
Career Changed (CC)
Washed (used more in owner training)
What do service dogs in training get released?
Service dogs in training can be released for a variety of reasons, whether they be medical or behavioral. Not all dogs are meant to be service dogs, and the goal of every organization is to ensure that the service dogs they train truly love their job in order to best serve their future handlers.
Sometimes dogs are not cut out for their original career, but would be a perfect fit for a different one! Most service dog training organizations work with partners in therapy, scent detection, and even other assistance dog paths. Organizations always try their best to find the job that best suits every dog!
Transitioning an SDIT to Pet Life
Dedicate time for daily training sessions to keep your dog's skills sharp and brain active
Continue to take your dog to pet-friendly places if they enjoy outings
Be patient, the transition to pet life can be difficult for a dog who has spent their whole life accompanying you everywhere
Release does not mean failure
As puppy raisers, we all want our dogs to graduate in the job we're training them for. However, sometimes dogs are just not cut out for service work or any job and that is okay.
It's easy to feel like you've failed when your dog is released from training, but at the end of the day, being career-changed or released is often the best thing for your dog.
Is your SDiT getting released? Check out our blog post with advice from puppy raisers who have been in your position.