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Parents Hire Drug-Sniffing Dogs to Check Up on Their Kids

Apparently cheeky or cheesy PSAs are no longer enough ammo in helping parents keep their kids off of drugs: they're resorting to hiring K-9 units of their own. A New Jersey company called Sniff Dogs rents out retired, trained drug-sniffing dogs to parents suspicious that their kids might be involved in drugs.

The dogs rent for $200 an hour and can detect heroin, cocaine, meth, and ecstasy — not to mention pot-residue on clothes even if the drug was smoked two nights before. That knowledge alone might be enough to spark sparking up teens into doing their own laundry.

To see the conflict behind the good intentions,

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One parent hired the pups as a precautionary measure. She said, "Most kids will deny it and then where do you turn? Not knowing is worrisome. It's nice to know you can have something you can turn to." The dogs didn't uncover any dope on their visit.

Now that technology has vastly expanded the kid-tracking capabilities of parents (including GPS-embedded clothes) the increased surveillance brings up issues of trust. One psychologist says, "There are major repercussions for this type of intervention. When parents do this, it erodes trust and goodwill." Is wagering trust over safety a good bet? Can tools like this help more than they hurt?

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Join The Conversation
russ-n-pups russ-n-pups 8 years
I used to work with teens that were addicted to drugs and alcohol and my partner is a K9 narcotics officer. One thing to correct in the article is that the dogs are not technically trained to detect ecstacy or any other pills. The chemical binders that hold the pills together are all the same and the dogs would hit on tylenol or any other legal pill. I wish this service was around years ago before I had to say goodbye and buried an incredible young man who had been addicted to coke. The costs of having the dog do a search is far cheaper than the possible legal fees and funerals. This gives parents an opportunity to step up and be the parent. Teens are teens. We all did stupid things. This also can possibly prevent a teen from ruining their life with a police record following them around for the rest of their life. If parents think that their kids are doing drugs, I would hope that they would take advantage of this service.
ronalddoda ronalddoda 8 years
Just to assure the people out there... gps embedded apparel is intellectual property that I alone own in the U.S., and I have not licensed it to any company yet. You don't have to worry about it being used at the present time in this way because it isn't being used in this way... or ever in this way. This type of technology (when companies begin to license and develop it) will be geared toward more practical purposes and not be used in the way in which it is implied in this article. Looks like you might have to worry about these dogs though... If anyone or company disagrees, or if they feel they would like to work on practical applications of my intellectual property, they can contact me at ronnybebes@aol.com. Have a good day. Ron Doda
CHOOCHOO CHOOCHOO 8 years
Verrry niiiice, UD - Monkey or no monkey.
skb9850 skb9850 8 years
UD, true it is the parent's job to keep their kids safe. But until the kid has shown he's doing something wrong I think you can respect their privacy. I'll admit it is a fine line to walk, and parents will draw that line at different places according to their own experiences.
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
You're welcome. I have my moments. It's like that system, if you have an infinite number of monkees typing on an infinite number of typewriters, eventually one of them will type something that makes sense. Of course, the smell would be horrible...
MartiniLush MartiniLush 8 years
"I agree that there needs to be good communication both ways, and the child needs to understand that there are acceptable and unnacceptable behaviors, but their right to privacy does not supercede your right to keep them safe." UnDave! You just said in once sentence what I have been trying to express in 4 or 5 comments, and so much better, too! Thanks!
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
"I understand your point about respecting a kid's privacy and individuality as a person." I completely disagree with this. It's about safety. If you even think the kid is doing something wrong, you need to take care of it immediately. If you, the parent, have to step on the kid's toes, well, he/she/it will get over that. I agree that there needs to be good communication both ways, and the child needs to understand that there are acceptable and unnacceptable behaviors, but their right to privacy does not supercede your right to keep them safe.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
That was actually me that said that about checking your kid's room, but I was just joking that it seems so quaint now compared to what parents are able to purchase to check up on their kids. Good old-fashioned snooping has pretty much gone the way of the dinosaurs when you compare it to GPS tracking and the like :)
skb9850 skb9850 8 years
tls, I agree with Mykie, you are presenting your arguments well and clearly without attacking. :) I understand your point about respecting a kid's privacy and individuality as a person. I just feel that once a kid has started experimenting with drugs, privacy has to go out the window. Someone suggested that if you were going to use a dog, why not just search the room yourself? If you (general you) are willing to search the room,which is also a huge invation of privacy, why not bring the dog in? In my case, I have never done drugs so I really don't know exactly what to look for besides the obvious stash of pills or little glassine packets. So for me, the dog would be the way to go to be sure the room was clean or not.
sw33tlovin sw33tlovin 8 years
"That knowledge alone might be enough to sparking up teens into doing their own laundry." LOL. honestly, i find it a hard task coming across people who don't do drugs these days. and yes, i consider weed a drug. i think being a parent is the hardest thing in the world & if they feel hiring a dog will ease their load a little bit, i'm all for it. god, i'm glad i'm not having children.
MartiniLush MartiniLush 8 years
I agree, Mykie! Debate is a good thing. I always love to hear someone else's opinion. Tls, I really appreciate how you stress communication with your children in all of your comments here. We can both agree on that - communication is the most important thing! While I think we disagree on the use of the dog, I am with you that my kid would definitely be aware that something like this would be coming if I didn't feel I could trust them to be honest and that any "tool" - be it drug testing or the dog - shouldn't be used as a first line of defense.
Mykie7 Mykie7 8 years
Hey, I've always said I don't mind debating opposite sides, what gets me is when people get personal and nasty with their differing opinions.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
Also, thanks Mykie! That's definitely a big compliment when you have differing viewpoints :)
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
Between drug testing and dog sniffing - in truth, I have problems with both, and I find both to be invasive, but a drug test seems (strangely, I know) less invasive, maybe because the tactic just seems less extreme to me. Most importantly, I wouldn't surprise my kid with it. I'd warn him/her ahead of time that if the problem continued it would come to that, so that it would ultimately be up to my kid to make the choice as to whether it would need to come to that point. I guess that's the biggest difference for me - it would, for me, allow my child to have some "say" in the process.
Mykie7 Mykie7 8 years
And Choo and Lush, it does suck, it was one of the worst times of my life watching her go down and being completely powerless to stop it.
Mykie7 Mykie7 8 years
tls, you do make very good points. I don't necessarily agree with you, but I appreciate your clear points. :)
MartiniLush MartiniLush 8 years
tls, I am curious about something. How different is taking a kid for a surprise drug test and hiring the drug sniffing dog? I think both actions signal that you don't trust that your child is telling you the truth and both can be seen as invasions of privacy. I don't see much difference between the two. I am interested in your opinion on this.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
"Because without it, the child WILL lie to a therapist. When they get that far in they have no conscious. It's about staying high." This is definitely true, but if the child truly has gotten clean several times and started using again, I'm not sure how bringing in a drug dog to search for evidence is going to make this the time that it actually works and the problem gets better. At that point, then no, therapy probably isn't good enough and I'm guessing rehab is the next step. It doesn't, however, change my view that the drug dogs are better left to the police, just like GPS tracking and other techniques generally seen on CSI. A drug test is just as effective and, in my opinion, less invasive should it have gotten to the point where actual evidence is necessary (for example, hair testing can't generally be faked like a urine test can, if that's the concern).
MartiniLush MartiniLush 8 years
Oh, Mykie, that is awful!
CHOOCHOO CHOOCHOO 8 years
oh, that sucks, mykie.
Mykie7 Mykie7 8 years
no "conscience" not conscious
Mykie7 Mykie7 8 years
Tls, this was a very VERY good point "f you've gotten to the point where you think you need a drug dog, chances are you already know what you'll find, and hard evidence isn't going to do anything to make the problem "better." Honestly, if it's gotten that bad, why isn't the kid in therapy already?" And is absolutely right. BUT, answer me this. Say you've done the therapy, say a COUPLE of times, but you have a pretty good idea that they're using again. You know for a fact that this kid is good at "fooling" drug tests. You also know if caught again, they will go to jail. Wouldn't you as a parent rather head that off with a dog so that you can go to the therapist with your child and present them with good solid proof? Because without it, the child WILL lie to a therapist. When they get that far in they have no conscious. It's about staying high. Now, some parents might just let the child go to jail, figure that might finally teach them the lesson. That would be their choice, but for the parent that doesn't, wouldn't this route be the way to go? I live in an area where there are LOTS of drug problems. It's not just kids. It's the adults too. I knew a woman, she was a single mother of 5 kids. She and I were VERY good friends. We worked together, our kids hung out together, our families were always together. Then she met a man. I Had a bad feeling about this guy from the beginning. She lost her job, lost her kids, lost her house, lost EVERYTHING, and right up to the end was saying she wasn't on drugs. She died of an overdose. I would have liked to have had a dog.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
*oops, "beings" not "being"
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
Alright then, we'll just have to agree to disagree. I just hope that if I ever do choose to have children, I'll keep in mind that, while as a parent I'm responsible for their well-being, they're also independent human being that deserve some respect, which I think this tactic completely ignores.
CHOOCHOO CHOOCHOO 8 years
tls, like lush said, every parent is different, as is every child. there are very pleasing kids all the way up to ADHD/ODD kids, who resent any kind of authority and will do the exact opposite of any good advice. it's great that you found your own way, but some kids aren't smart enough to do that and don't make it. as a parent, if i act like an idiot and wind up saving my kid from a fatal mistake, i can live with the label.
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