Archive for the ‘Police Dogs’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Police K-9: A Partner Like No Other

Canines are a vital part of police work, and they, like their two-legged partners, must attend a basic police academy designed especially for dogs. Police dogs must be certified before they’re allow to work the streets with their handlers.

K-9 training is extremely intensive, and during the time at the academy the animals and their human partners achieve a close bond. The two gradually begin to work together as one, and simultaneously the animals become very loyal to their handlers. They’ll stop at nothing, other than their handler’s commands, to achieve their objective.

It is a must that the handler establish himself/herself as the dominate “dog” in their pack of two. There should be no doubt as to which of the two is boss. How handlers establish their dominance is a fun, yet… You know, I believe I’ll save that bit of information for another day.

Police dogs, like all working canines, love to please their human partners. Sure, they enjoy a favorite toy, food, water, and a warm place to sleep, but it’s the quality time with their handlers that they want most of all.

It’s a unique experience to have a canine partner. I had two, a huge rottweiler and black lab. The training is extremely tough for a handler, but it’s like 16 weeks at Disneyland for the dogs. Yes, that’s 16 weeks per dog.

My dogs and I attended the Virginia State Police academy. Training requirements vary for other departments.

During the time my canine partners and I were in basic training, there was quite a bit of running (lots of running) jumping, rolling in the grass (officers and dogs together), tug of war, swimming, climbing, running, running, running, and more running. Play, play, play, play, play.¬† It’s all fun for the dogs. It’s all grueling work for the handlers. Lots of work. And lots of running. Did I mention the running?

The academy was a lot of hard, tough work (you’d think I’d had more than my fair share of running during my first basic academy, but noooo…. I wanted to be a canine officer).

It didn’t take the troopers long to realize the canine training was sort of like 16 weeks at Chuck E. Cheese for the dogs. They loved it!

It was a real treat to watch the dogs truly enjoying every minute of every day. They were the stars of the show. We, on the other hand, were on the “dumb end of the leash.” It was all about the dogs. We didn’t get to rest until our four-legged partners needs were met.

Police dogs are trained to achieve specific goals, such as patrol/suspect apprehension, tracking, and finding narcotics.

A dog’s sense of smell is 50 times more sensitive than humans. They also smell several different items at once, making it nearly impossible to mask the scent of narcotics and other illegal items (cell phones, CD’s, weapons, ammunition, explosives, etc.).

Where humans smell the combined odors spewing from a pot of stew cooking over a fire, a dog detects the stew’s individual ingredients—bat wings, eye of newt, spider web, stump water, an owl egg, etc.

The same is true when criminals hide drugs in various containers, such as a cocaine placed in a cooler beneath¬† layers of ice and dead, stinky fish. But, this method of hiding narcotics won’t fool a trained police dog.

A canine trained to detect narcotics is easily able to smell the odor of the cocaine, along with the scent of the fish, the plastic used to fabricate the container, and the scent of the person who handled the cooler.

The same is true no matter where drugs are hidden—luggage, in canisters containing black pepper, an engine compartment, etc.

Police dogs trained to apprehend bad guys are absolutely fearless. Once the handler lets his/her dog know which person is the target to take down, the canine immediately focuses on nothing but the bad guy. It’s like flipping a switch from happy and playful to serious and let’s go!

The method used to alert a dog to a particular person/target is often a guarded secret. And I’m not telling.

Speaking of let’s go…well, the videos below tell the story. Amazing animals!

And then there’s this dog…

And this one…

*By the way, today begins the first step in our move back to the left coast. The packers are here today and tomorrow, and the movers are scheduled to show up Wednesday morning to empty out our house. A week later we begin the journey westward.

During the next two weeks my blogging may be a bit sporadic, but I’ll try to post something each day. No guarantees, though.

Anyway, to those of you in our new hometown, we’ll see you sometime in April. Of course, we not exactly sure where we’ll settle down. We’ll make that decision after taking a hard right turn at Bakersfield, heading north toward the Golden Gate Bridge.

I’m anxious to connect and re-connect with writers in the San Francisco area. Please let me know about meeting locations and times.

PostHeaderIcon A Police K-9 Offers Tips To Handlers

Sorry I can’t reveal my real name, but I’m currently working an extremely dangerous undercover assignment in a massive dog-fighting ring. That’s why I’m only showing part of my body. Can’t display my scars, marks, and tattoos…you know, the things that could easily identify me when I get back work. For the purpose of this meeting, though, you can call me “Dawg.”

I’m risking blowing my cover to talk to you today because, well, sometimes you guys don’t use your heads. I’m not saying you’re stupid. It’s just that you don’t think before you act. Seriously, it’s okay to leave us in the car while you’re outside standing in the shade yucking it up with your buddies? We enjoy a good joke too. Besides, the grass feels wonderful on our feet. And don’t think I can’t smell the burgers and fries on your breath when you get back inside the bucket of bolts you so proudly call a police car. Nearly an hour inside Mickie D’s….puhleeze…

And, remember that traffic stop last week? Yeah, you know the one. I know you only issued her a warning. But I’m not stupid. I get it. She batted her eyelashes at you and smelled like jasmine. What I don’t understand, though, is why you didn’t you introduce me to the poodle riding shotgun. You know I’m a sucker for curly, white hair. Life is not all about you and your shiny badge and big gun, you know.

Anyway, our union, Police Dogs 101, sort of elected me as spokesperson, so I’m here today in advance of the upcoming contract renewal to address a few of our concerns. It wouldn’t hurt private citizens to pull up a chair and listen as well. So here goes, and I suggest you take notes.

1. We notice that you wear shoes to work every single day of your life. And we know why. Oh, boy, do we know why! Snow and ice are COLD. Concrete and asphalt are HOT. And, for goodness sake, would you walk barefoot over broken glass? Well, no one, including dogs, should be forced to walk on those surfaces. So take your narrow hips to the store and buy us some booties! They make and sell them every day. We don’t mind looking goofy if it means no frostbite, blisters, or cuts. Use your head, Sherlock.

2. We enjoy biting a bad guy as much as any dog, but our internal temperatures can skyrocket while tracking and searching on really hot days. That’s right, Ace, you try wearing a thick fur coat in the August sunshine. So keep one of those thermometer things in your pocket. No, we don’t enjoy it when you poke them into the place where the sun doesn’t shine, but it’s better than keeling over from heat exhaustion. We’d do it ourselves, but…no fingers, you know.

3. Another good idea, and goodness knows you’d never think of it, is to wet us down before a search on hot days. It helps keep us cool. But, please, not when the humidity is really high, because in that case the water would only serve to keep the heat in.

4. Bring some water with you if the search is going to be a long one. We don’t like drinking from mud puddles and creeks. Do you know what’s been there? Well, we do, and it’s not exactly the most sanitary thing to do. Would you drink from something that turtles and frogs use as a toilet? I didn’t think so. And let’s not even think about all the mosquito larvae swimming around in those places. Gives me goosebumps just thinking about it. Do us both a favor and bring some water, okay!

Speaking of water…how about changing the water in my bowl a few times during the day (the one in my kennel). You know me, I drool in it, and even sometimes step in it to cool my hot feet (and you know where my feet have been). Besides, I don’t like tasting the green stuff that can build up in the bowl if the water sits for a long time.

5. If you do insist upon leaving me in the car while you’re off doing who knows what (probably biting someone behind my back), then please have the decency to leave the car and air conditioning running. And for goodness sake, have someone install an alarm that notifies you if either of the two malfunctions or shuts off. Remember, I don’t have fingers to operate the power locks and those window roller-downer-things.

6. Shade. I can’t stress this enough. We want our kennels placed in the shade. If your yard is treeless (heaven forbid) then march your butt down to the hardware store and purchase a roll or two of shade cloth to place over the top of our kennels. It”s an easy project. We’ll even help, if you want. If so, merely place the roll near us and I promise we’ll have it unrolled and divided into bite-size pieces in no time flat. Now that’s what we call fun.

Speaking of fun…we demand a few hours of play time each day. You cannot expect us to work every minute. Throw something for us to retrieve. Hide something and let us find it. Let us roll around in the dirt, etc. Anything like that will suffice.

And whatever you do, please don’t forget to tell us what a great job we’re doing. We absolutely adore praise for a job well done. Also, a little loving goes a long way. Now don’t go getting all mushy on me. A pat on the head and back and an occasional hug is all we’re asking. You can save the kisses for your spouses.

Okay, that’s it for now. We look forward to your response in advance of our next meeting.

By the way, if you happen to see that poodle again, tell her to give me a call.


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