Lulu's experience training as a sniffer dog was tweeted by the CIA Lulu's experience training as a sniffer dog was tweeted by the CIA
Oct 23, 2017

The good dog who is bad at sniffing out bombs

This is Lulu, the Labrador who joined the CIA as one of their newest recruits. Her mission: to sniff out explosives.

But weeks into her training programme Lulu just wasn't making the grade. A life at the United States Central Intelligence Agency, it seems, was not for her.

So she had to be dropped from the puppy class of 2017.

In a series of updates on Wednesday, the CIA's official Twitter account posted detailed reasons why Lulu would no longer be part of their sniffer-dog programme, the K-9 Corps.



Dogs in the corps have to be able to sniff out 19,000 explosive scents which they learn in an intensive 10-week training program, with 10 tests at the end. The top dogs then report for duty searching vehicles and buildings for explosives, mainly in the US.

During emergencies the dogs also help local police, schools and other government agencies, but at some point in the canine career a mission overseas is possible.

But treats and playtime come at a cost. The newly graduated pups work about 60 hours a week.

Even "when they are away from 'the office,' they are always on call," explained the CIA on their website.

The dogs - mainly Labradors, German shepherds and Golden Retrievers - are selected by CIA trainers from Puppies Behind Bars, a programme which pairs inmates with puppies to teach the dogs basic commands.

For Lulu it has been a challenging time.


"For our K-9 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 odours, they make it clear that being an explosive detection K-9 is not the life for them," the CIA explained.


The thread and Lulu's problems have brought thousands of reactions online.

"She just wants to chase a ball. Give her a break," said one tweet.

Another read: "Maybe Lulu wants to become an artist, travel the world or something else. Rate this doggo for chasing her dreams."

Others poked fun at the thread, suggesting "maybe Lulu is a double agent."

There is a happy ending, however. Lulu has been adopted and now enjoys nights in with new friend, Harry.


It is not the first time a dog has been retired from duty earlier than expected. Vidar, a Belgian Malinois hunted out roadside bombs and weapons with the British army in Helmand Province.

Vidar's turned 'gun shy' and his retirement inspired a book

But after two years of service he suddenly became "gun shy" - a military term for dogs who are frightened by loud noises - and his retirement was used as an inspiration for a book for those who struggle to read.

While in Australia Gavel the German shepherd was dismissed from duty for being too sociable.


Gavel had time to outgrow four uniforms before police decided he wasn't suited to the front line

Instead of tackling crime, Gavel wanted to make friends. Luckily though he was given a new job after he flunked out of puppy training in Queensland. He was fostered at the official residence of the Queensland governor and is now known as Gavel VRD, 'Vice-Regal Dog'.

Rozina Sini