It is understandable for a recipient to face the prospect of retiring their assistance dog with reluctance, because of the unique bond achieved with a comfortable working team. Sometimes, though, that recipient and assistance dog bond can get in the way of making the difficult decision of when to recommend retirement. For this reason, an assessment with an ASDOG trainer or assessor is undertaken annually prior to the Public Access Test, and in between times as required.
There is no official retirement age, simply a review of what is best for each dog. Assessment categories include: health and physical condition, performance of tasks, response and motivation and behaviour indicators in the home and public environment. Above all our dogs work for as long as possible while they are healthy and happy to do so.
Retirement inevitably looms however, the orange ASDOG jacket is hung up for the final time, and after years of devoted service and companionship, the assistance dog is respectfully given the opportunity to lead a quieter lifestyle. The recipient has first option of adopting their retired dog, or placing the dog with an approved adopter who is a close friend or family member. If the recipient chooses not to adopt, the Management Committee will locate a suitable adopter as soon as possible.
The ASDOG Management Committee proudly supports its recipients and their assistance dogs throughout the duration of the partnered team.