Hopes were high for black lab Lulu when she joined the CIA’s Fall 2017 “Puppy Class,” but it seems working for the government isn’t for everyone.
Lulu was one of 6 select recruits chosen to join the first all-female K9 training class. The smallest member of the team, 1.5 year-old Lulu seemed a natural for sniffing out explosives. “She’s hyper and silly when she plays, but has an easygoing sweetness and is extremely sensitive to her surroundings and what is being asked of her,” the CIA posted on its website.
Lulu progressed through a grueling 6 weeks of imprint training, learning to sniff on command and detect the scent of more than 20,000 different explosive concoctions. After she completed her imprint training, she was paired with her handler from the Fairfax County PD in Virginia to undergo another 10 weeks of advanced training as a team.
But being a “bomb dog" isn’t the right fit for every K-9. A few weeks into classes, trainers noticed Lulu was no longer motivated to find explosives, even with tasty treats on the line. Getting into a funk while in training isn’t uncommon, and they hoped Lulu would snap out of it in a day or two. After trying different tactics to get her back in the game, the trainers realized that Lulu’s boredom and disinterest was no temporary condition. “Even when they could motivate her with food and play to search, she was clearly not enjoying herself any longer,” the CIA wrote on its website. “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.” Lulu's handler made the decision to adopt her. Though no longer part of the elite K9 team, in her retirement Lulu belongs to a new exclusive group — gaining a brother, a black lab named Harry, and a family all her own. “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,” the CIA wrote.
Though she flunked training, Lulu remains a very good girl. We wish her all the best. SC: The Dodo. #takethisjobandshoveit #cia #EDD #workingdog #dogsoffreedom