Muir Wood therapist, David Laing
Muir Wood Adolescent and Family Services is a Joint Commission-accredited mental health and substance use disorder treatment provider located in Petaluma, California. We provide integrated evidence-based care including psychiatry, psychotherapy, experiential therapy, wellness services, and milieu therapy for adolescents and teens, and their family members.

Parents Use Drug Dogs to Sniff Out Marijuana at Home

Are drug-sniffing dogs an appropriate response to ferreting out drug use and abuse at home or is it overkill? Some parents have decided that no measure is too large when it comes to finding out whether or not their kids are hiding drugs at home. Some are exceedingly creative: hiding drugs in air-conditioning vents, pulling back the carpet and hiding it there, and burying it in bed linings. Parents who are concerned that there are unhealthy secrets would rather spend the $350 or so that it costs to hire a drug-sniffing dog to come out to the property instead of spending hours searching high and low.

For and Against

Those who are for the practice say it’s an efficient use of time and a good way to get a definitive answer to a their drug-related questions. Those who are against say that it does more damage because:

  • Helping teens to avoid drug use is based on developing a positive relationship with them and introducing drug-sniffing dogs into the home doesn’t foster that positive relationship.
  • Drug-sniffing dogs only determine whether or not there are drugs on the property, not whether or not a child is using drugs. In fact, kids are just as likely to keep their “stash” in a school bag, at school, in their car, or at a neutral place rather than in their home where parents can find it.

Those who are against the practice say it’s a better idea to simply administer a take-home drug test to a child suspected of getting high. Parents will likely get an answer before the test is given: those who aren’t using drugs usually have no problem taking the test and those who are often refuse.

Responding When You Think Your Son Is Using Drugs

You’ve noticed some changes in his appearance, his treatment of you, and his attitude toward the rules and schoolwork. He’s been bringing home different friends who seem to share this new attitude and outward appearance. He seems out of it more often than usual and evasive when you ask him how he’s doing or where he’s been. If you’d like to bring in a drug-sniffing dog to see if you can find any physical evidence to confront him with, it may be useful, but a frank conversation, a little investigation into their phone and schoolbag, and following through on consequences may be far more effective.

If you believe that your son is using drugs and he is unwilling or unable to stop, we can help him to start making more positive choices. Learn more about Muir Wood and our unique teen boy-specific rehabilitation program when you contact our call center or download our admissions packet today.