March 23, 2019

K9 Dog Units – How Are Police Dog Trained?

police dog k9 units police car narcotic dog

One of the fascinating aspects of the Police force is trained dogs and their handlers known as K9 Dog Units.

The use of dogs for hunting is dated back to Roman times, and they were inducted in law enforcement over a hundred years ago.

The bloodhounds helped in search of Jack and the Ripper in 1888;
soon after that the dogs were properly trained for the police by the Europeans.

K9 Dog Units are the main asset of police force across the United States, but the question is

where do they come from or how they are trained?

In this article, we will answer these questions and have a look inside how these K9 Dog Units are trained and maintained.

How does any dog become a Police Dog?

german shepherd police dog k9 units

K9 dogs are carefully selected by one of two ways:

  1. One option is that a green dog is purchased having age between 7 to 14 months with basic training based on obedience.
  2. This green dog is sent on a training period of 4 to 12 weeks.
  3. The second way is to buy a fully trained dog which is trained by the officer assigned for this purpose. The selection process depends upon the purpose for which the dog is used for or how much funding is available to be invested by the Police Department.

These K9 units extremely demanded by the officers and they work hard to get one, and for this purpose, they also obtain dog training.

But to build a relationship and trust between the K9 unit and his handler is one of the most challenging steps in this process.

Before assigning them specific duties of:

  1. bomb detection,
  2. patrol
  3. narcotic

The officer and dog both are certified by an independent organization.

What does Police Dog training entail?

K9 dog units are trained for single or dual purpose service:

  • Single purpose dogs are used for personal protection, backups or tracking.
  • The dual purpose dogs are more popular and adequately trained to do everything as compared to single-purpose dogs with the ability to detect narcotics or explosives.

The main reason the police dogs are trained for a single purpose is that they are unable to communicate with the officer through words.

The police protocol for explosives is entirely different as compared to narcotics.

Why police dogs are trained with German commands?

Due to the fact, the service dogs are trained in German, mostly so it will be easier for owners to have more control over them.

Well trained dogs can respond to every one command irrespective of their owner;
But the German language is used for extra precaution.

How does the K9 Dog unit identify a Threat?

Dogs usually follow a “drunk uncle scenario,” and they follow the body language of their handlers to make a judgment call.

If the officer is tensed or backing up the dog will read the body language of the handler and react more aggressively either by command or by judging the scene.  But if the handler is relaxed and walking towards prospect, the dog will be relaxed.

Are K9 Dogs aggressive all the time or loving too?

rottweiler aggressive dog barking

K9 dogs can be both loving and aggressive depending upon the situation.

Most people have a wrong perception regarding their all-time aggression as protectors and this cannot be kept as pets.

But in fact, they can be loving too they tend to remain alert as they are trained for this particular reason;
In other words, Protection.

How to become a successful dog trainer?

The successful K9 dog units depend upon the skills of their trainers.

They made them ignore the smell of dog food, birch trees, and tennis balls and catch drugs like heroin.

The training of dogs starts when they are at the age of 8-10 months.
The training of K9 dogs to detect is a big deal which can go up to six months.

Certain breeds for K9 unit’s training

The two races are selected for K9 dog units’ training that can be served for military purpose or protection works.

The two main breeds that are selected for K9 Dog training are:

  1. Belgian Shepherd Malinois
  2. German Shepherd

The sub-type of German shepherd includes giant schnauzers, Labrador retrievers that are common for police jobs.

The reason they are preferred for training because they have specific traits that come in their bloodline.

Other than these particular traits they need to be smart and more social because they have to interact with all sorts of persons.

Is gender important factor during their selection?

german shepherd barking k9 dog

A selection of dogs for K9 dog units based upon their gender is a highly debated topic.

In reality, the reaction of both male and female dog remained extraordinary in their service;

But every dog has its personality.

  • In fact, male dogs are more aggressive because they are always “on.”
  • On the other hand, female dogs can become stubborn once they made up their minds not to comply.

Do K9 Dog Units respond to Siren?

The siren and lights training is not included in dog training. But, they are smart enough to respond to siren and lights as almost every dog goes excited when the lights and siren go off.

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