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K-9 Police Dog Squads 23 Police Dogs Breeds Top 10 Police Dogs What are Police Dogs Called? How are Police Dogs Trained? What are Police Dogs Used For? What Police Dogs Do? Police Dog Names Police Dog Training Police Dog Height Police Dogs Lifespan Bomb Squad Dogs Sniffing Police Dogs Robotic Police Dogs Police Dogs Retirement Police Dogs Adoption Police Dog F.A.Q
A police dog is a dog that is specifically trained to assist police and other law-enforcement personnel
Police dog's duties include: searching for drugs and explosives, locating missing people, finding crime scene evidence, and attacking people targeted by the police. Police dogs must remember several verbal cues and hand gestures.
The most commonly used breeds are the German Shepherd, Belgian Malinois, Bloodhound, Dutch Shepherd, and the retriever breeds. Recently, the Belgian Malinois has become the dog of choice for police and military work due to their intense drive and focus.
Malinois are smaller and more agile than German Shepherd Dogs, and have fewer health issues. However, a well-bred working line German Shepherd Dog is just as successful and robust as a Malinois. In many countries, the intentional injuring or killing of a police dog is a criminal offense. In English-speaking countries, police dog units are often referred to as K-9 or K9, which is a pun upon the word canine.
EARLY HISTORY Dogs have been used in law enforcement since the Middle Ages. Wealth and money was then tithed in the villages for the upkeep of the parish constable's bloodhounds that were used for hunting down outlaws. In France, dogs were used in the 14th century in St. Malo. Bloodhounds used in Scotland were known as "Slough dogs" – the word "Sleuth", meaning detective, was derived from this.
The rapid urbanization of London in the 19th century increased public concern regarding growing lawlessness – a problem that was far too great to be dealt with by the existing law enforcement of the time. As a result, private associations were formed to help combat crime. Night watchmen were employed to guard premises, and were provided with firearms and dogs to protect themselves from criminals.
Law enforcement agencies use man's best friend to assist in a variety of tasks - to not only make their jobs easier but to make them safer. Many of those tasks require a honed set of skills taught by professional dog trainers, which take months to master. The tasks are created for a specific dog breed - for example, not all breeds are considered for take-down maneuvers, based on size or general temperament. Imagine a Chihuahua or Pekingese attempting to tackle a perp. However, such breeds are excellent choices to sniff out explosives, drugs, or fit into small areas.
All in all, K-9 units have developed for more than a hundred years, and some of those procedures and techniques have not changed much, even those that originated in Europe. The earliest K-9 training facility started in Ghent, Belgium, in 1899, which became widely recognized as the leader in canine training, utilizing Belgian sheepdogs and wolfhounds. As a result, word spread and in 1907, Brigadier General Theodore A. Bingham, the New York (NY) Police Commissioner, sent Inspector George R. Wakefield to study Ghent's training program. Wakefield returned to the states with five Belgian sheepdogs for operation and breeding purposes.
This would become the first canine training program implemented in the United States but met only moderate success. The New York Police Department decided to adopt the Ghent police dog training program, rather than develop their own. After all, they were trained by the best. By 1911, 16 dogs were trained – with their respective handlers, as required by the Ghent training program – and sent out to various residential areas in Long Island between 11 pm and 7 am every day. Results were mixed at best.
The dogs were trained to chase and tackle anyone between these times, stand on their chests, and bark until their handlers arrived.
From the time they were puppies, the NYPD raised them in closed-off areas away from the public and only allowed them a set amount of time with civilians. They were trained not only to obey law enforcement in general but to see anyone not in a police uniform as hostile. During training, men would walk through the kennels in plain clothes and tease the dogs for several days or even weeks until the dogs showed extreme aggressiveness towards anyone not wearing a uniform.
Tackling was another matter. Dogs were trained to wrap their front paws around the lower legs and drag them down. Additionally, dogs were trained to search houses, track, and chase suspects. These procedures were carried over from the Ghent training program. The NYPD was not the only agency to adopt these training methods. In 1910, Glen Ridge, New Jersey, purchased two Belgian sheepdogs from the NYPD to patrol vacant homes and the streets. However, by 1918, they disbanded the K-9 unit as the patrol car had made them nearly obsolete – and due to the number of complaints by civilians who chose to take late-night strolls.
Dogs were used more unofficially between the 1920s and 1940s, mostly by the military and occasional private agencies. Not until the end of the war, after seeing the successful use of dogs during the Second World War in England and by private organizations, did American law enforcement make another attempt at implementing them again. The early to mid-1950s saw a surge in K-9 training programs, but most were by private companies for security purposes, such as large department stores.
This changed in 1954 when the Dearborn (MI) Police Department hired an ex-marine dog trainer to train four German shepherds to perform patrol duties. Four patrolmen volunteered as handlers and received six months of training. The dogs were trained to scale walls, enter a vehicle and hold its occupants, disarm a man, search buildings, and be vicious or gentle on command. After six months on patrol, not a single police dog-related incident was reported, and as a result, the corps was disbanded. In 1955, the dogs were sold to the Portland (OR) Police Bureau to begin their own canine corps.
In 1956, the Baltimore City (MD) Police Department instituted the first modern canine corps in the United States. During the same time, the Los Angeles (CA) Police Department attempted to do the same and saw the many benefits of having a canine corps but had few areas that required foot patrols. Given the widespread use of motor vehicle patrols, the LAPD did not see how the costs could outweigh the rewards. However, Baltimore's program was so successful that it garnered attention across the United States, prompting nearby police departments to request specialized training to create their own K-9 units.
After visiting the Baltimore training facility in 1959, the Lancaster (PA) Police Department had five volunteer handlers ready for service. America has seen the use of canines in law enforcement for more than 100 years, with failures and successes, but one aspect has remained, and that is the continued use of man's best friend remaining an integral part and partner to law enforcement professionals.
MODERN ERA Bloodhounds used by Sir Charles Warren to try to track down the serial killer Jack The Ripper in the 1880s. German shepherd in use by Schutzpolizei officer and SA auxiliary during the German federal election, March 1933, shortly after the Nazi seizure of power.
One of the first attempts to use dogs in policing was in 1889 by the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police of London, Sir Charles Warren. Warren's repeated failures at identifying and apprehending the serial killer Jack the Ripper had earned him much vilification from the press, including being denounced for not using bloodhounds to track the killer.
He soon had two bloodhounds trained for the performance of a simple tracking test from the scene of another of the killer's crimes. The results were far from satisfactory, with one of the hounds biting the Commissioner and both dogs later running off, requiring a police search to find them. It was in Continental Europe that dogs were first used on a large scale. Police in Paris began using dogs against roaming criminal gangs at night, but it was the police department in Ghent, Belgium that introduced the first organized police dog service program in 1899.
These methods soon spread to Austria-Hungary and Germany, in the latter the first scientific developments in the field took place with experiments in dog breeding and training. The German police selected the German Shepherd Dog as the ideal breed for police work and opened up the first dog training school in 1920 in Greenheide. In later years, many Belgian Malinois dogs were added to the unit. The dogs were systematically trained in obedience to their officers and tracking and attacking criminals.
In Britain, the North Eastern Railway Police were among the first to use police dogs in 1908 to put a stop to theft from the docks in Hull. By 1910, railway police forces were experimenting with other breeds such as Belgian Malinois, Labrador Retrievers, and German shepherds.
Human law enforcement officers need to be a special type of person, and police dogs must be a special type of dog. These impressive animals come from generations of dogs specifically bred to perform the complicated tasks that police dogs are required to accomplish. Generally speaking, this is not something all dogs are able to do, and that is why we usually see just a few specific breeds being trained as police dogs.
Apprehension Perhaps the most popular discipline of the police dog is suspect apprehension. Police dogs are trained to bite dangerous suspects and hold them hostage. In many situations, they are the first ones to put their lives on the line and go in against an armed suspect to protect their human partners. Most apprehension dogs are herding breeds, such as the Belgian Malinois, German Shepherd Dogs, and Dutch Shepherds.
For hundreds of years, herding breeds have been bred to have the physical strength and intelligence needed to work with their owners to herd livestock - qualities they also need to restrain a dangerous person. That said, they must be stable dogs, with the ability to know when someone is a threat and to act solely on the command of their handlers.
Detection It is no secret that dogs have an amazing sense of smell. Dogs have 225 million scent receptors in their noses, and we use this ability of theirs to our advantage when fighting crime. When it comes to criminal activity, dogs are often taught to detect various drugs, explosives, accelerants when investigating arson, and other crime scene evidence. The dogs are able to perform their tasks anywhere and are most commonly searching airports and border entries for explosives and illegal drugs, large events for explosives, and even civilian vehicles that have been pulled over. Military dogs are also trained to detect landmines, in order to protect their handlers and personnel from danger.
Search and Rescue A large part of police work is searching for lost victims, whether it is someone who has been kidnapped or a missing person who has gotten lost. In the case of search and rescue, dogs can be trained to find living victims and the remains of deceased humans. They are able to search through rubble after a devastating explosion, earthquake, or other disaster.
They are able to cover miles and miles of forest looking for a lost hiker or someone buried after an avalanche and can even locate the bodies of drowned victims underwater in oceans and lakes. The ability of dogs to cover large areas in a relatively short period of time provides a great resource when looking for victims. Although human searchers play an important role that can not be replaced, search and rescue dogs are able to get the job done with unique precision.
Apprehension and Attack Dogs - This dog is used to locate, apprehend, and sometimes subdue suspects.
Detection Dogs - Trained to detect explosives or drugs such as marijuana, heroin, cocaine, crack cocaine, or methamphetamines. Some dogs are specifically trained to detect firearms and ammunition.
Dual Purpose Dog - Also known as a patrol dog, these dogs are trained and skilled in tracking, handler protection, off-leash obedience, criminal apprehension, and article, area and building search.
Search and Rescue Dogs (SAR) - This dog is used to locate suspects or find missing people or objects. Belgian Malinois, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, and Bloodhounds can all be used.
Public Enforcement - These police dogs assist officers in maintaining order. They may chase down a criminal suspect and hold them while the officer arrives or they may just guard an area - like a jail or prison, to keep suspects from escaping.
Arson Dogs - Arson dogs are trained to pick up on traces of accelerants - things that would start or worsen a fire at sites of suspected arson.
Cadaver Dogs - Cadaver dogs are trained to sniff out decomposing bodies. Dogs' noses are so sensitive that they are even able to smell bodies that are under running water. As a result, training techniques were developed, and cadaver-sniffing dogs now have near 100% accuracy rates. Her research has been published in the Journal of Forensic Anthropology.
Australia The Australian Federal Police and other law enforcement agencies are known to employ K9s for security priorities such as airport duties.
Bangladesh Border Guards Bangladesh, Rapid Action Battalion and the Dhaka Metropolitan Police maintain several dog squads to assist in anti-narcotic and anti-bombing campaigns.
Belgium The Belgian Canine Support Group is part of the country's federal police. It has 35 dog teams, most of which are Belgian Malinois. Some dogs are trained to detect drugs, human remains, hormones or fire accelerants. About a third are tracker dogs trained to find or identify living people. These teams are often deployed to earthquake areas to locate people trapped in collapsed buildings. The federal police's explosive detector dogs are attached to the Federal Police Special Units.
Canada Canadians started using police dogs occasionally in 1908. However, they used privately owned dogs until 1935 when the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) saw the value of police dogs and created the first team in 1937. By the 1950s, the RCMP had German Shepherds, Schnauzers, and Doberman Pinschers in service. Many Canadian municipalities use dog squads as a means of tracking suspects. Most municipalities in Canada employ the bite and hold technique rather than the bark and hold technique meaning once the dog is deployed, it bites the suspect until the dog handler commands it to release. This often results in serious puncture wounds and is traumatic for suspects.
A dog has the legal status of property in Canada. As such, developing case law is moving towards absolute liability for the handlers of animals deliberately released to intentionally maim suspects. The dog is effectively a weapon. In 2010, an Alberta Court of Queen's Bench judge stayed criminal charges against Kirk Steele, a man who was near-fatally shot by a police officer while he stabbed the officer's police dog. The judge found that the shooting was cruel and unusual treatment and excessive force.
Police require reasonable suspicion they will recover evidence in order to use a dog to sniff a person or their possessions in public. This is because using a dog to detect scents is considered a search. The main exemption to that rule are the dogs of the Canada Border Services Agency who are allowed to make searches without warrants under s.98 of the Customs Act. In 2017, it was reported that the Canadian forces now have approximately 170 RCMP dog teams across Canada and it is continuing to grow as more and more Canadian municipalities are seeing the value of police dogs.
Denmark There are a total of 240 active police dogs in Denmark, each of which are ranked in one of three groups: Group 1, Group 2 and Group 3. Dogs in Group 1 are very experienced, and highly trained. Group 1 dogs are typically within the age range of four to eight years old and are used for patrolling, rescue, searching for biological evidence and major crime investigations. Group 2 dogs are employed for the same tasks as members of Group 1, but they do not participate in major crime investigations or searching for biological evidence. Group 3 is the beginner rank for police dogs, and are only employed for patrol operations.
Hong Kong The Police Dog Unit (PDU) was established in 1949 and is a specialist force of the Hong Kong Police under the direct command of the Special Operations Bureau. Their roles are crowd control, search and rescue, and poison and explosive detection. In addition, the PDU works in collaboration with other departments for anti-crime operations.
Netherlands The Dutch Mounted Police and Police Dog Service (DLHP) is part of the Korps landelijke politiediensten (KLPD) National Police Services Agency) and supports other units with horse patrols and specially trained dogs. The DLHP's dogs are trained to recognize a single specific scent. They specialize in identifying scents - identifying the scent shared by an object and a person, narcotics, explosives and firearms, detecting human remains, locating drowning people and fire accelerants.
The KLPD is just one of the 26 police regions in the Netherlands. Every other region has its own canine unit. For example, the canine unit of the regional police Amsterdam-Amstelland has 24 patrol dog handlers and six special dog handlers and four instructors. The unit has 24 patrol dogs, three explosives/firearms dogs, three active narcotic dogs, two passive narcotic dogs, two scent identifying dogs, one crime scene dog and one USAR dog. They work on a 24/7 basis, every shift has a minimum of 2 patrol dog handlers on patrol. The special dog handlers work only in the dayshift or after a call.
India In India, the National Security Guard inducted the Belgian Malinois into its K-9 Unit, Border Security Force, and Central Reserve Police Force use Rajapalayam as guard dogs to support the Force on the borders of Kashmir. For regional security, the Delhi Police has recruited many of the city's street dogs to be trained for security purposes. The Bengal Police uses German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, and the Indian pariah dog in its bomb-sniffing squad.
Israel Israel utilizes canine units for border patrols to track illegal persons or objects that pose a threat. Police dogs serve in the Israel Police and Israel Prison Service.
Italy All the law enforcement in Italy (Carabinieri, Polizia di Stato and Guardia di Finanza) have in service many patrol dogs for Public Order, Anti-Drug, Anti-explosive, Search and Rescue. The first train centers for police dogs in Italy were established after World War I and in 1924, Italy purchased German Shepherds from Germany for border patrol operations in the Alps. The Carabinieri Kennel Club was formed in 1957 to produce police dogs and train handlers in Italy. German and Belgian shepherds are used for multiple purposes, Labradors for drug, weapons and explosive surveillance and Rottweilers serve for protection.
Japan Japan is one of the few Asian countries that have dogs serving in law enforcement as other Asian nations dislike dogs due to cultural norms. In ancient times, samurai had Akita service companions between the 16th and 19th centuries that would defend samurai while they slept at night. In modern times, the German shepherd is the common police dog of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department.
Kenya Police dogs began their service in Kenya in 1948 as part of the Kenya Police Criminal Investigation Department of the Kenya Police. Since the 1950s, the main police dog in service is the German shepherd, with Labradors, Rottweilers and English Springer Spaniels being used for specialized purposes. Since the 2000s, the Kenya Police has increased the breeding and adoption of police dogs with the long-term goal of having canines serving in each police station of Kenya.
Nepal The Nepal Police first established a canine unit in 1975 due to increased crime rates and to help with investigations. Since then, police dogs are in service throughout various regions of Nepal and have been present at the Tribhuvan International Airport since 2009.
Pakistan Pakistan Customs uses a K-9 unit for anti-smuggling operations. Pakistan's Sindh Police also have a specialized K-9 unit.
Peru Peru recruits various canine units for various governmental, military and police operations. The National Service of Agrarian Health (SENASA) of the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation has the Canine Brigade of Plant Health that detects plants that may violate phytosanitary trade practices and to prevent the contraband importation of pests in plants and fruit. The brigade is present at Jorge Chavez International Airport and in Peruvian territory.For the National Police of Peru, they prefer the German Shepherd, Belgian Shepherd Malinois, Beagle, Weimaraner, Golden Retriever and Labrador Retriever breeds for their service and accept donations of dogs between the ages of 12 and 24 months.
The National Police use canine units for drug surveillance in the country's main airport, Jorge Chávez International Airport, with the force receiving canine training from United States Customs and Border Protection. The Peruvian Army has canine units trained for search and rescue as well as disaster situations. During the COVID-19 pandemic in Peru, a limitation of gatherings and curfew was enforced with the assistance of canine units that served for law enforcement.
Russia Police dogs have been used in Russia since 1909 in Saint Petersburg. Attack dogs are used commonly by police and are muzzled at all times unless ordered to apprehend a suspect. Police dogs have also been used to track fugitives, which has remained common in most Soviet Union Successor States.
Sweden The Swedish Police Authority currently deploys around 400 police canines. There is however no requirement for the dogs to be purebred, as long as they meet mental and physical requirements set by the police. Dogs aged 18–48 months are eligible to take admission tests for the K9 training. The police dogs live with their operators, and after retirement at age 8–10 the operator often assumes the ownership of the dog.
United Kingdom Police forces across the country employ dogs and handlers and dog training schools are available to cater for the ever-increasing number of dogs being used. The use of police dogs became popular in the 1930s and in 1938, Scotland Yard officially added dogs to its police force. There are over 2,500 police dogs employed amongst the various police forces in the UK, with the Belgian Malinois as the most popular breed for general purpose work. In 2008, a Belgian Malinois female handled by PC Graham Clarke won the National Police Dog Trials with the highest score ever recorded.
All British police dogs, irrespective of the discipline they are trained in, must be licensed to work operationally. To obtain the license they have to pass a test at the completion of their training, and then again every year until they retire, which is usually at about the age of 8. The standards required to become operational are laid down by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) sub-committee on police dogs and are reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that training and licensing reflects the most appropriate methods and standards.
United States Police dogs are in widespread use across the United States. K-9 units are operated on the federal, state, county, and local levels and are used for a wide variety of duties, similar to those of other nations. Their duties generally include drug, bomb, and weapon detection and cadaver searches. The most common police dogs used for everyday duties are the German Shepherd and the Belgian Malinois though other breeds may be used to perform specific tasks. On the federal level, police dogs are rarely seen by the general public, though they may be viewed in some airports assisting Transportation Security Administration officials search for explosives and weapons or by Customs and Border Protection searching for concealed narcotics and people. Some dogs may also be used by tactical components of such agencies as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the United States Marshals Service.
Most police agencies in the United States – whether state, county, or local – use K-9s as a means of law enforcement. Often, even the smallest of departments operates a K-9 team of at least one dog, while the officers of more metropolitan cities can be more used to working with dozens. In the former case, police dogs usually serve all purposes deemed necessary, most commonly suspect apprehension and narcotics detection, and teams are often on call, in the latter case, however, individual dogs usually serve individual purposes in which each particular animal is specialized, and teams usually serve scheduled shifts.
In both cases, police dogs are almost always cared for by their specific handlers. K-9s are not often seen by the public, though specialized police vehicles used for carrying dogs may be seen from time to time. It is a felony to assault or kill a federal law enforcement animal, and it is a crime in most states to assault or kill a police animal. Yet despite common belief, police dogs are not treated as police officers for the purpose of the law, and attacking a police dog is not punishable in the same manner as attacking a police officer.
Though many police departments formally swear dogs in as police officers, this swearing-in is purely honorary, and carries no legal significance. Police dogs also play a major role in American penal systems. Many jails and prisons will use special dog teams as a means of intervening in large-scale fights or riots by inmates. Also, many penal systems will employ dogs, usually bloodhounds in searching for escaped prisoners. At the federal level, police dogs play a vital role in homeland security.
Dogs are many things, such as a man's best friend, companion dog, guide dog, therapy assistant and many more. And like humans, a select few dogs will answer to a higher calling, though not all breeds are suited for work in law enforcement. Certain dog breeds provide assistance and service in local police departments, national military and other law enforcement agencies - bomb squad, search & rescue, etc.
That being said, let's explore the wonderful dog breeds that serve and protect more than just their owners! These highly trained police dogs are generally called K-9, which is a homophone of "canine". This term originated from the name of the Army's War Dog Program during World War II. Back then, they were called the "K-9 Corps."
MILITARY & POLICE DOG BREEDS
These are the most popular police dog breeds serving humans all over the world. However, there are more breeds that serve mainly in their home countries. These highly trained police dogs are generally called K-9, which is a homophone of "canine." This term originated from the name of the Army's War Dog Program during World War II. Back then, they were called the "K-9 Corps."
1. German Shepherd Services: Military, Police K-9 Unit, Search & Rescue, Bomb Squad.
German Shepherds are the third most intelligent dog breeds. Combined with an athletic body, large stature, muscular frame and agile speed – they have become the gold standard for police dogs. Not only do they have the remarkable physical gifts to be great police dogs, but they are highly trainable and immensely loyal. Plus, they can be aggressive when needed. These herding dogs are generally used in the police force's "K9 Unit," as known in english-speaking countries. Their job consists of several duties.
German Shepherds excel in search and rescue - missing or lost people, detecting drugs and explosives, crime scenes investigation or even chasing down people in high-stress criminal chases. These confident smart dogs learn an arsenal of verbal cues and hand gestures that correspond to a specific task. They are so highly respected that any attempt to injure or kill them is a criminal offense in most states.
2. Belgian Malinois Services: Police K-9 Unit, Military, Navy Seal, Search & Rescue
The Belgian Malinois is the smaller cousin of the German Shepherd. Believe it or not, they are even more athletic than the German Shepherd due to their smaller physique. However, they hold many of the same physical and personality traits as their larger counterparts. So it is no surprise the Malinois have become popular K-9 dogs as well.
In addition to the K-9 Unit, this fearless breed has become increasingly used by the military for operations of all sizes. For example, the Belgian Malinois named Cairo is a military working dog (MWD) used by the Navy's Seal Team Six. Cairo's role was extremely crucial in the take down of Osama Bin Laden. Back during World War I, these dogs were primarily used as messengers and ambulance dogs. In addition to police and military operations, the Malinois is also used for search & rescue and therapy.
The Bloodhound is not a dog breed you can easily imagine running with the likes of German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois. However, they do serve a very specific role for law enforcement – tracking people and drugs. Their ability to segment a specific scent and follow it over a long distance make them such valuable dogs. In fact, Bloodhounds arguably have the best nose in the dogdom, along with Beagles and Basset Hounds.
Their sense of smell is 1000 times better than a human's. This breed was the very first to be commissioned by a police unit for their services. They have been working with police since 1889, when they were used to try to track down Jack the Ripper in London. Today, there are fewer Bloodhounds working in K9, but we have them to thank for the current use of dogs in law enforcement.
Rottweilers are such versatile dogs when it comes to serving its people. Known to be the ideal guard dog, a Rottie will love familiar people but act cautious and alert around strangers. Make no mistake, they are confident and reliable dogs. Because of this, Rottweilers are currently used as guard dogs, police dogs, search & rescue and military dogs. They simply do it all. With the U.S. military, Rottweilers have had a history of being premiere messenger dogs.
For both World Wars, these dogs were sent from base to base to deliver urgent messages. It is no surprise why military generals decided to send Rottweilers instead of the other hundreds of dog breeds available. They are courageous, loyal and dependable! Rottweilers are also the 2nd most dangerous dog breeds in the USA. If you are interested in seeing which breed ranked above them, check this out.
The Doberman Pinscher is a large muscular dog with a slim frame and cropped ears. They are known to be tenaciously loyal and obedient to their owners – which make them such great guard dogs. They are also extremely intelligent dogs, coming in as the fifth most intelligent dog breed. With both the brains and brawn, it is a "no brainer" why these dogs were once heavily used by the police force.
Although the Doberman was once a popular K-9 breed, they are becoming less prevalent in K-9 police units around the world. They are more of a family guard dog today. The reason is because they are much more costly to acquire than other police dogs similar in strength and intelligence – such as the German Shepherd.
6. Airedale Terrier Services: K-9 Police, Protection Unit, Guard Dogs, Military
Airedale Terriers are the largest of the Terrier dogs, weighing up to 70 pounds. Though they are friendly and kind dogs, they can be courageous and clever. With their police-friendly temperaments, Airedales have served as police dogs in the British police force. However, they are just hunting dogs in America. Thanks to their high intelligence, exceptional nose and tough wiry coats, they were good K-9 candidates. Plus, they were easy to maintain.
These dogs were specifically trained to attack those not in a police uniform. It eventually became a problem when police handlers were off duty. In addition, Airedale Terriers were fantastic war dogs for Great Britain during the first World War. They did all types of tasks, including scouting and carrying military supplies.
The Boxer is one of the most versatile war dogs that Germany has seen. They served in both World Wars, used as effective patrol dogs, guard dogs and messengers for the military. From the working group, Boxers were bred to be an all-purpose farm dog. They are diligent dogs with high instinctive and adaptive dog intelligence. They were almost perfect dogs for the military!
One of their specialties was in transporting communication wires between groups on the battlefield. These spool of wires connected to their collars and they quickly maneuvered to other stations. Boxers were serious heroes in their war dogs. Fortunately, they are mainly companions and family dogs today. However, the German police force still uses them for certain operations today. They are not as popular in law enforcement anymore, mainly because of health issues, but they are still fully capable dogs for intense situations.
8. Rajapalayam Dog Services: Police K-9, Guard Dogs, Border Security
The Rajapalayam is an Indian sighthound that is arguably the most famous and popular dog breed from India. As you may have guessed, they are popular among the Indian Police force. Specifically, they are employed by the Border Security Force and Central Reserve Police Force to guard and protect the borders of Kashmir. These dogs are large and powerful.
Plus, they do not like being handled by strangers, making them great for guarding. Although Rajapalayams are great local police dogs, they are not so much used as them today. State-level Indian police forces mainly use German Shepherds and Doberman Pinschers today. Rajapalayams are still excellent law enforcement dogs that have provided more than just hunting and companionship.
9. Bouvier des Flandres Services: K-9 Police, Search & Rescue, War Dogs
Originating from Belgium, the Bouvier des Flandres is a powerful and large dog that is been serving in Wars and Police forces for decades. Though they were bred to be all-purpose farm dogs, they evolved to be so much more. Bouviers first began their military careers during World War I. They did everything – from delivering urgent messages to pulling ambulance litters.
They were so active during war that so many Bouviers lost their lives in the line of duty. In fact, they almost went extinct. After the first World War, organizations and groups began to revive the breed in France, Netherlands and United States. Once again serving their duties, Bouviers participated in the Second World War.
10. Akita Inu Services: K-9 Police Unit, Guard Dogs
The Akita Inu, also the national dog of Japan, is the courageous and protective dog breed currently used in the Japanese police force. They are known to be a little territorial and protective, which make them excellent guard dogs for police and families. Akitas are also exceptionally good at sensing danger or any suspicious behavior.
With appropriate training, they have transformed into Japan's premiere police dogs. And because they are famously loyal, they work very well with their handlers. Outside of Japan, Akitas are not as popular in law enforcement. But perhaps with Japan leading the way, well start to see them more around the world.
Giant Schnauzers, the largest of three size variations, are unique military and police working dogs. For instance, they are one of the only breeds to serve with the Air Force. These giant dogs were used as working dogs for the Air Force back in the second World War. However, it was not until the 1980s that they were brought back to the military organization.
According to Air Force Sgt. Kelly Webster, dogs are trained like new recruits to the Air Force. They learn special skillsets like odor detection, enclosure searching and obedience. Although the Air Force thought they were not suited for this type of work, they decided to try again after the war. Today, Brock is the first and only Giant Schnauzer to serve with this force in a few decades.
OTHER LAW-ENFORCEMENT DOG BREEDS
Not all dog breeds in law enforcement are part of the military and police force. Other dog breeds may not have the physical capabilities for field operations, but have other special skills. Here are the other dog breeds that help with law enforcement – just not with militaries and police K-9 forces. They deserve just as much recognition!
If there was an all-purpose dog, the Labrador Retriever - commonly known as the "lab" would be it. Labs are the most popular dogs because of their friendly and passive personality. They are ideal for law enforcement because they are highly obedient dogs - ranked 7th for obedience & working intelligence. As a result, they are mainly trained for tracking.
While Labradors are super friendly and great for families and therapy patients, they are not the most ideal security dogs. There is a reason why they do not serve guard dog roles! However, Labradors more than make up for it by helping the blind, tracking down bombs and participating in search and rescues. According to Summerville Police Department, Labs are generally used to detect explosives or narcotics by sniffing it out. They will physically scratch or bark at where the bomb is located.
13. Beagle Services: TSA, Bomb Squad
When you think military or police dog, the Beagle is rarely the first dog breed that pops to mind. They are kind and loyal dogs, physically known for having long droopy ears. The Beagle is considered one of the "dumbest" dog breeds, but did you know that they also have one of the most powerful sense of smell? They are just smart in other ways. Because of their nose, Beagles have been used in many situations that require sniffing out illegal substances in airports all over the world.
In just the United States alone, Beagles are responsible for seizing over 180,000 pounds of prohibited foods being smuggled into the country. Amazing work, doggo! Do not let the lack of intimidation and small size of Beagles make you think they are not essential in serving numerous agencies around the world. They are amazing dogs with a big heart, but an even bigger nose, so to speak.
The Dutch Shepherd is like the German Shepherd's cousin from the Netherlands. They are eerily similar in both color and size, but have different temperaments that lead to different roles on the police force. Dutch Shepherds were originally bred in rural areas to become the "all-purpose farm dog." However, because of their size, intelligence and athletic ability, they are now utilized as a dog fit for a higher calling.
According to the American Dutch Shepherd Association, these dogs are used for tracking, dog sport, herding, security and occasionally in the police force. They are not featured breeds in the police force, such as the K-9 Unit, but that does not mean these amazing dogs do not do an amazing job with other tasks.
15. German Shorthaired Pointer Services: DEA, Narcotics Tracking, TSA
The German Shorthaired Pointer or GSP, was originally bred as a skilled hunting dog with powerful legs. They are quick, agile and versatile on both land and water. Friendly by nature but extremely hard working, the German Shorthaired is an ideal dog breed for law enforcement – but maybe just a little to friendly for the police force.
Today, German Shorthaired Pointers are employed in special law enforcement organizations all over the world. The world finally realizes how great they are! They specialize in tracking illegal substances and are widely used in air transportation security (TSA). You will also find the GSP dogs working with detectives, tracking evidence at crime scenes.
The Basset Hound is one of six basset-type dog breeds to come out of France. Like the others, the Basset Hound is a "scent hound" and a really good one too! With short legs and droopy ears, these hounds most resemble a cross of a Beagle and Pembroke Welsh Corgi. But do not let their silly looks fool you, they are highly capable dogs.
At first glance, you already know this dog breed lacks the athletic ability to compare with the German Shepherd. Instead, they are known for their acute sense of smell. Specifically, they specialize in tracking "ground-scents." It probably has a little to do with their short stature. And although they are not as popular as the Beagle - used worldwide, Basset Hounds currently serve in several countries as an explosives-tracking dog. They are also used for narcotics tracking in France.
17. English Cocker Spaniel Services: Firearms Tracking, Bomb Squad, TSA
The English Cocker Spaniel is one of the most versatile dog breeds to work with law enforcement - outside police and military. They are surprisingly athletic, but are actually known for their nose. In many European countries, they track illegal firearms and explosives for transportation security. One of the coolest things the English Cocker Spaniel does is sniff out dirty money at airports. We assume the money is on their way to being laundered. English Cocker Spaniels are apparently learning how to perform CPR on humans in Madrid.
The Springer Spaniel is a top-notch working dog and was originally bred to be an all-purpose hunting companion. One of the best temperament traits of the Springer is their willingness to obey and please their owner. This makes them reliable dogs for law enforcement. These dogs are relatively small and compact compared to other dogs working with law enforcement.
However, they have a powerful wet nose capable of effectively tracking many things. Springer Spaniels are capable of using their nose to pick up slight nuances of wind and their pattern changes to find the target. It is really incredible stuff! This skill was especially important for hunting game, but now it is being used to catch criminals and save lives.
19. American Pit Bull Terrier When the intimidation factor counts, this is the boy. Smart, obedient, fearless and certainly imposing when patrolling sketchy hoods, these dogs are just now being recruited from local shelters, trained in obedience and responsiveness and given a second chance as K9 members.
20. Belgian Tervuren The Belgian Tervuren might not seem as dangerous as Rottweiler, but most people think twice about upsetting it's owner, especially if it's an authority figure. Almost wolf-like appearance, these hairy dogs should not be underestimated, even though they have a loving side. The Belgian Tervuren is always ready for action when it's human companion demands, but can also be used for drug detection and bomb sniffing.
21. Briard If you have seen this dog breed before, you won't think that it would make a good K-9 police dog officer. However, because of their alert personalities, Briard dogs actually make excellent guard and watch dogs aimed for very specific law enforcement tasks, and are often used as police dog breeds in certain countries. This dog breed is also considered to be easily trainable, fearless and brave.
Today, the Briard is most often used in police search and rescue missions, tracking, and as PTSD service dogs. This large French dog has changed the way many people see working K-9 officers, and that is because Briard's work is different to that of a German Shepherd.
22. Cane Corso Descendant of Roman war dogs, it is only logical that the Cane Corso should be used in the police task force. Alert, courageous, strong and extremely intimidating, this dog breed is a hardworking K-9 police dog who is excellent at protection and patrol work. Similar to Dobermans, they are known for their physical abilities – although not as fast, they have one of the strongest bites of all canines.
Overall, they are not very popular police dog breeds. There is currently only one Cane Corso in service in the USA according to official law enforcement records. But it seems that in the future, with more Pit Bulls and similarly discriminated and banned dog breeds coming into police work, the number of Cane Corso dogs as K-9 unit officers will rise due to their adaptability and working attitude.
23. Weimaraner The Weimaraner dog breed is known for its beautiful, smooth lines. These dogs are athletic and sleek and usually have short, fine gray hair, although there are longer-haired varieties. Their aristocratic heads are long with a strong muzzle and intelligent amber, grey, or blue-grey eyes. Their limbs are muscular and long, with webbed feet. Talented dogs, Weimaraners are skilled hunters, guarders, trackers, retrievers, pointers, and watchdogs, and are also used for police work and search and rescue.
Can I donate or gift my dog to the National Police Dog Foundation to be a police dog? Although we help fund law enforcement agencies with K-9 purchasing, training, and medical needs through retirement, we do not place dogs with agencies. Our experience shows that most law enforcement K-9 units do not accept dogs from the public. However, we do suggest that you contact your local volunteer K-9 Search and Rescue groups to see if they may have a need.
How does a police agency purchase a police dog? Many police agencies do not have a budget for police dogs, so they are purchased by public and corporate donations. Agencies may also need donations to pay for the dog's training, as well as veterinary bills, daily food and training equipment.
Why are K-9s not part of a department's regular budget items? K-9s are considered a specialty unit, which means technically they could run a department without them, unlike police cars, police officers, and their training. 80% of a police department's budget goes toward salary, and the remaining 20 percent is needed to acquire equipment and training for the officers. There are simply not enough funds for most agencies to include the cost of K-9s and their up-keep in the general budget.
Where do the K9 Police Dogs live? All K9s become a vital part to the police family. In addition to this, they become members of their handler's family. When not at work the dogs live at the handler's home. During this time the dogs spend time with their families as any other dog does. It is not uncommon for the dogs to go camping or hiking with their handlers while off-duty.
What do police dogs eat? Unlike the average family pet, a police service dog is extremely active and requires a diet formulated to meet its increased energy and nutrient demands.
Do police dogs like to bite? Police K9s only bite when absolutely necessary to protect themselves, their handler, another officer or citizen, or when they need to capture a fleeing felony suspect. Most often, when faced with a confrontation with a police dog, criminal suspects choose to surrender peacefully. When the dogs to bite, they are trained to bite and hold the suspect until their handler is able to take over and place them into custody safely. This usually results in very minor injury to the suspect. Salt Lake Police K9s are primarily used as search tools. They enjoy hunting for and finding people, articles of evidence and drugs.
Who trains police dogs? All dogs are trained in-house and on-duty. Officer Russ Peterson and Officer Nick Pearce are the department instructors for the squad and oversee the training for both patrol and tracking dogs. The patrol dogs are certified annually in both patrol and narcotic functions through the State of Utah, under Utah POST standards.
How old are the dogs when they start training? Normally K-9 try to get patrol dog candidates as close to 1.5 years old as possible. This is to maximize the working life, and minimize the down time dealing with developing a dog from puppyhood. Dogs can begin their training at a very young age. Bloodhounds are purchased as puppies and start training at that time, usually 8-10 weeks old!
How do officers get selected to become a K9 Handler? Candidates must pass a rigorous screening process, sometimes even involving members of their family. Several officers compete for each opening on the squad and competition is tough. Additionally, this assignment lasts a long time so there is not much movement or openings on the squad. We choose our K9 Officers from among the most effective officers within the department. Each candidate is then evaluated on many dimensions in order to determine which one will be the most effective when paired with a PSD.
How long does it take to train the police dogs? Basic training for the patrol dogs takes approximately 4 months of full-time work, sometimes longer. After they become certified they receive about 2 hours of in-service training per 10 hour shift. We continue to train them daily until they retire.
What happens if the handler gets out of the program before the dog is ready to retire? Depending on the dog's age, the dog might be re-trained with a new handler or be given to its original handler if age and circumstances permit.
What does "K-9" stand for? It is short for the species "canine", or dog. When it is on the side of a police car it means the police car carries a working police service dog.
What breeds do they use for police dogs? The most popular breeds are German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois, Dutch Shepherds, and occasionally mixes of these breeds. Less popular, but still used at times, are Rottweilers, Doberman Pinchers, and Bouvier de Flandres. Other breeds are used for detection work, if this is their sole purpose.
Are there black German Shepherds? Yes, but the color and coat of a German Shepherd varies. They may have long hair or short, they may be solid black, sable - a mixture of grey and black color, black and tan or red, or mostly black with a few tan marking on their legs. All of these marking and coat types are normal for the German Shepherd.
Why are some Malinois so thin? The Malinois is genetically a more slender build and a very active breed. For this reason their body is constantly burning calories. Bred to be extreme athletes, they typically have very little body fat. In addition, they can have a very short coat that gives them an even sleeker appearance.
What other breeds do police agencies use? Labrador Retrievers are often used for narcotics and explosives detection, and evidence discovery, as well as for Search and Rescue functions. Bloodhounds are used for trailing, and many mixed breeds can be used for detection and scent work as well.
Do they use only males, or do they also use females for police service dogs? Males and females both make excellent police service dogs.
Is hurting a police service dog the same as hurting a police officer? Injuring or killing a police service dog is a 3rd degree felony punishable by imprisonment of up to 5 years. We invest considerable resources in our K9 partners and we consider them officers in every sense. They put their lives on the line every day to protect the community and the officers of the Salt Lake City Police Department.
How much do the police dogs cost? To put some perspective to it - out of every 1,000 potential dog candidates, it is estimated that only 2 will have the drive set, characteristics, and temperament to be part of our program. Dogs that meet our high standard selection cost between $8,000-$10,000 each! Fortunately when measured in terms of effectiveness and community safety, the payback period on the initial investment is very short!
Do you neuter or spay police dogs? Females are normally always spayed because of their heat cycles and for medical benefits. Males may also often be neutered for medical or behavioral reasons.
What age does a dog begin working as a police dog? The youngest age when they become mature enough to concentrate on training well is between 12 and 15 months.
What age does the police dog retire? Depending on its health status it is normally around 10 years of age.
Where does the dog go after he finishes a police career? It lives at home with its handler to live out its life as a family pet.
Can they go on vacations with their handler and family while working as a service dog? This depends on department policy, but normally the answer is yes.
Do police dogs live in the house or a kennel? Normally after working a full shift they go to their kennel where they eat and get the much needed sleep and rest they will need for their next shift. However, it is not uncommon for them to come in the house on their days off, or even daily before or after their shift begins.
How much does a police dog cost? It varies, but because most police dogs are still coming from Europe, the cost for the dog alone, including airfare, is $8,000.00 and climbing.
How Are Police Dogs Named? A police dog's name will be called out loudly and repeatedly throughout the course of its career. Most training facilities and K9 units agree that their dogs should have names that represent their aggressive, rough nature. After all, criminals should be intimidated when the handler calls out a police dog's name. Yelling out "Daisy" is not likely to scare anyone. Names like Bomber, Kujo, Attila, Fury and Blade are more appropriate for police dogs.
Are Police Dogs Trained to Be Aggressive? Bite sleeve training teaches police dogs to attack people who threaten the dog's partner. During this type of training, an aggressor will wear a bite sleeve and act in a threatening manner toward the handler. When the handler gives a command, the calm dog will bark viciously and attack the sleeve. Dogs in the K9 unit are also trained to read their partner's body language. If the officer is relaxed, the dog will most likely be relaxed. But if the handler shows signs of fear or tension, the dog will react by intimidating the source of the threat.
It is worth noting that police dogs are trained not to engage in active aggression unless they are given a command. Attack commands are usually given in German. This is partly tradition and partly to ensure that the dog only responds to the handler's orders. Although police dogs can be aggressive on demand, they usually make great pets. These loyal, obedient and intelligent animals can become great additions to any family.
Do all police dogs come from Europe? No! American breeders have been importing quality dogs from Europe for many years which is allowing America to produce the same excellence in bloodlines as in Europe. If this practice continues, we will lessen our dependency on importing dogs from Europe.
How much does the police dog training cost? For full training in Patrol Work, Detection, and Hard Surface (Urban) Tracking, you can figure the cost to range from $12,000.00 to $15,000.00 total, per dog, depending on the length of each class.
What type of training do police dogs receive? Patrol training, which includes obedience, agility, tracking, evidence searches, open area and building searches, and narcotics or explosives detection are the most common areas of training, although service dogs can also be trained to help find dead bodies, lost children, and the sick or elderly. In addition, scent discrimination training is being used to help match a potential suspect to an object such as a weapon used in a crime.
What does a police dog trained to find explosives do when he finds it? The alert is passive, which means the dog will tell it is handler that it smells an explosive component by either sitting or laying down as close to the object as possible.
Does Police Dogs has a metal teeth? Some police dogs have been equipped with metal teeth, sometimes made from titanium. This is not necessarily to make for a more vicious bite - the teeth of service dogs can become damaged or broken from intense training and work. Metallic teeth can prolong their working lives.
Does Police Dogs get paid for their work? Police dogs generally do not get paid. However, their basic expenses, like food and medical care, are covered by the department and the handler may receive some additional salary to cover incidentals. They may also receive a pension upon retirement.
How can people help police dogs? The National Police Dog Foundation is always taking applications for volunteers. We need help in every area of fund raising. If you, or someone you know, would like to help you can begin by becoming a member or making a donation. Without your support, K-9 programs run the risk of being eliminated whenever departments are in financial distress.
Also, without the assistance of programs like NPDF, working and retired police dogs are at risk for shorter and less comfortable lives because the costs of their medical care can be a heavy burden, especially in these tough economic times. After a long life of dedicated service to our communities, their physical comfort is well-earned and deserved.
Training of police dogs is a very lengthy process since it begins with the training of the canine handler. The canine handlers go through a long process of training to ensure that they will train the dog to the best of its ability. First, the canine handler has to complete the requisite police academy training and one to two years of patrol experience before becoming eligible to transfer to a specialty canine unit.
This is because the experience as an officer allows prospective canine officers to gain valuable experience in law enforcement. However, having dog knowledge and training outside of the police academy is considered to be an asset, this could be dog obedience, crowd control, communicating effectively with animals and being approachable and personable since having a dog will draw attention from surrounding citizens.
For a dog to be considered for a police department, it must first pass a basic obedience training course. They must be able to obey the commands of their handler without hesitation. This allows the officer to have complete control over how much force the dog should use against a suspect. Dogs trained in Europe are usually given commands in the country's native language.
Dogs are initially trained with this language for basic behavior, so, it is easier for the officer to learn new words and commands, rather than retraining the dog to new commands. This is contrary to the popular belief that police dogs are trained in a different language so that a suspect cannot command the dog against the officer.
Dogs used in law enforcement are trained to either be "single purpose" or "dual purpose". Single-purpose dogs are used primarily for backup, personal protection, and tracking. Dual-purpose dogs, however, are more typical. Dual-purpose dogs do everything that single-purpose dogs do, and also detect either explosives or narcotics.
Dogs can only be trained for one or the other because the dog cannot communicate to the officer if it found explosives or narcotics. When a narcotics dog in the United States indicates to the officer that it found something, the officer has reasonable suspicion to search whatever the dog alerted on bag or vehicle without a warrant. In suspect apprehension, having a loud barking dog is helpful and can result in suspects surrendering without delay.
Training this dog involves more responsibilities. It also depends on the dog's ability. For example, if you have a sniffer dog, you can provide training for him to be used for detection purposes. But, obedience training is essential for these dogs from a young age. It is the foremost step in training this dog and it helps the dogs to obey the handlers or trainers. Once given obedience training, you can give any special training to the dogs to be used in narcotics, patrolling, bomb detection, etc. Training differs based on the special needs required.
Criteria It is important to know what police forces want. They will buy our dogs at our kennel in the Netherlands. The criteria for a good and stable police dog are basically the same all over the world. So, for us it is relatively easy to train police dogs accordingly the standards. All police dogs or K9's should be social dogs. This means that the dogs should be friendly towards public. But how can you train this? Socializing working dogs means that they should be around people as much as possible. When we select our dogs before they enter a training program, this is one of the first things we look at.
Workdrive When we are selecting dogs for police forces we also look at the work drive of the dogs. Are they willing to work ? Our trainers look at the will to work by testing the future police canine with a ball or kong (toy). Dogs who are crazy on that, are usually also dogs that can be trained easily.
Medical The last part before buying a dog from our suppliers is the medical part. All dogs that we buy are x-rayed on hips, back and elbows. This x-rays are qualified by international standards going from excellent to very poor. (A-B-C-D-E system). We will only select dogs that have A or B qualification.
Kinds of Police Dog Work
Bomb Detection - Training will be a 10-week course. You have to train the dog to make him learn more than 10,000 different smells of explosives.
Drug Detection - Training is given to the dogs to find narcotics of any kind. Dogs used for this purpose should be trained to know the difference between various kinds of drugs and the other smell.
Patrolling - Dogs used in patrolling will get day-to-day training in different aspects. These dogs are able to identify the suspects, keeping criminals under their custody and protect the masters. Sometimes, these dogs will also be given drug detection training.
Scent tracking - It is a high level of training. This training helps the dogs to learn everything about the tracking suspects and identify the missing people by following their scent.
POLICE DOG COMMANDS The command is the essential thing in this training. As dogs should listen to the commands and act accordingly, you have to make the dog learn, understand and obey the commands. Let's have a look at the list of basic commands used in the training.
Sit Stand Stay Down Come Jump Go Ahead Go Inside Track Fetch Bite
THE BASICS Scientists already know a lot about how animals like dogs learn associations between behaviors and rewards. Dog trainers can use this knowledge and their experience to help dogs learn new behaviors - even behaviors important to police work.
There is still a lot we do not know about what would help dogs to learn their jobs faster. For example, is it better to teach a police dog about one important odor at a time, or many odors? How do dogs learn about one important odor when it is mixed with other odors? How can you tell if a puppy will become a good working dog? These are big questions about how animals learn that scientists and trainers can work together to solve.
Police dogs have handlers who take care of them and are assigned to them - a serving police officer needs to have completed a 2 year probationary period before being able to apply to join the Dog Section. It is important to have a handler who knows what they are doing for the well-being of the dogs.
As fun as it is to have a dog as a partner, the officers need to learn a lot of skills like legislation and veterinary practices. They also need to know canine psychology! But all of the demanding training pays off, as they have a very strong bond with their dogs at the end.
Every dog's natural ability is identified so it can be worked on and enhanced. Dogs are encouraged to use their instincts in a controlled way and on command. The exercises in training are designed with this in mind.
Police dogs are constantly rewarded for good, hard work. During training they receive good food, care, exercise and protection, and the training has an emphasis on safety, control, and efficiency. They learn obedience, attack, search, and also how to keep focused in distracting situations so that they are prepared for any eventuality while on duty.
Police dogs are trained with positive reinforcement, and it is something you need to use as well if you want a happy, well-adjusted dog. Remember, your dog has feelings too! And we know you love your pets, so be sure to be kind to them especially if they seem stubborn or slow. Positive reinforcement will improve your relationship with your dog.
Police dogs are loyal to their handlers and do what they tell them because they enjoy it, which is why a strong bond is always an advantage. You can have a dog who fetches things for you when you ask for them, and easily impress your friends. You can follow the basics of police dog training to help strengthen your relationship with your dog. Keep in mind that it is supposed to be fun, so do not work your dog beyond its capacity! After all, a happy dog is a healthy dog!
Dogs Pay Attention to Us and Learn From Us Of all the different types of animals, dogs are unique in how well they work with us. Many thousands of years ago, dogs started helping humans to hunt, guard our herds of sheep, and protect our homes. In return, humans provided shelter and food for the friendliest and best-working dogs and their puppies.
Nowadays, you can see the results of thousands of years of dogs living with humans, something scientists call domestication. Over many generations, animals come to live with humans, and in some cases, work alongside us. For example, dogs pay more attention to humans than their wild wolf relatives do. Dogs watch where we go, as well as where we look and point. Because dogs are so interested in us, we can train them to do a variety of behaviors and they are very eager learners.
During Training, Dogs Learn Associations Maybe you know a dog that has been trained to understand commands, such as sit, roll over, or shake a paw. Dogs do not naturally do these behaviors when told. Instead, they had to learn to connect the words we say ("Sit!") with the right behavior that gets them a treat (sitting).
When we train them properly, dogs are good at learning that some of the words we say are associated with certain actions and rewards. This is why dogs are helpful in many different jobs. Scientists who study psychology understand a lot about how dogs learn to make associations. A learned relationship between events or behaviors. For example, learning that the sound of a doorbell means there is someone at the door, or that doing a bad behavior might lead to a time-out.
Between our words and their actions, such as sitting after hearing the word "Sit!" in order to get a reward. If trainers repeatedly reward a behavior like sitting with food or a toy, then a dog will do the behavior more and more. Psychologists call this process positive reinforcement. When a behavior - for example, sitting, produces a positive outcome - a treat, the behavior will be encouraged and is more likely to be repeated, because a behavior becomes encouraged or reinforced when it leads to a positive outcome, like a toy.
Some Police Dogs Are Trained to Tell Us Where Things Are Hidden Teaching dogs associations is one way that trainers help dogs learn to do their jobs. We can understand more about animal learning by looking closely at police dogs. For example, how are police dogs trained to tell their human partners when they have smelled something important? This is more complicated than learning to sit, but it is based on the same basic learning processes.
Police dogs can do something that their human partners cannot often do: they can locate important things just by smell (Figure 2). Dogs can sniff out dangerous or illegal items, or even find a missing person. But the dogs first must learn what odors are important to their human partners and how to tell their partners about what they are smelling.
We can break down how dogs learn this into four main steps (Figure 3). The learning that occurs at each of these steps does not happen in 1 day - it takes some time. How long it takes depends on the dog and the trainer, and some trainers may do things a little bit differently.
Step 1: Associating the Marker With the Reward Think back to the example of training a dog to sit. You can imagine that when a dog receives a treat or toy for sitting, the owner might also say something like, "Good!" If this is done often enough, dogs can also learn the association between getting a reward and the word "good." Similarly, when training a working dog, a trainer needs to be able to tell the dog when it is doing something good. The words or sounds that trainers use to tell dogs that they are doing something good are called markers.
A type of signal that tells an animal that what it has done will be rewarded, either immediately or after a certain period of time. So, a marker tells the dog that what it has done will be rewarded. A marker can be any sound, but many trainers like to use a clicker - a device that produces a clicking sound or a word, such as "OK."
At the beginning of training, the marker does not mean anything to the dog - it is just a sound. To make the marker important to the dog, the trainer must show the dog over and over again that the marker means a reward is coming. To do this, a trainer can put a toy in front of the dog, but hide it behind his or her hand. If the trainer moves his or her hand, the dog approaches the toy. Right when this happens, the trainer uses the marker ("Ok!").
After doing this many times, the dog learns the association: when the dog hears the marker, it can expect its toy sometime soon. Are you wondering why trainers might use toys instead of a food treat? For working dogs, it is typically safer to keep their food far away from any potentially dangerous items. Also, the dogs really like playing with the toy with the trainers - like a game of tug-of-war—so toys are rewarding, just like food is.
Step 2: Learning to Sniff for the Important Odor At this point, the dog understands that when it hears the marker, it will get a reward. Now, the trainer needs to teach the dog to sniff out a particular odor among all the other smells in the environment - as if you were asked to use your nose to find a pile of cinnamon among piles of other spices. The trainer puts something that has the important odor into a container.
The container is then placed near the dog. Dogs are naturally curious and use their noses to explore. So, the dog will soon start to sniff the container. When it sniffs, the trainer uses the marker ("Ok!") and gives the reward to the dog.
If the dog sniffs containers that do not have the important odor, it does not hear the marker or get the reward. This can be done over and over again. The dog will learn that it should sniff for a specific scent, because that will lead to a reward. This is another example of learning an association by the process of positive reinforcement.
You might be wondering why trainers do not use a command like "Sniff!" the same way they might use the command "Sit!" for sitting. Because sniffing comes so naturally for dogs, trainers do not always use a command to get the dogs to perform that behavior.
Step 3: Learning to Find the Odor The trainer now has to teach the dog that the odor is not always easy to find. When the dog is working, it may need to explore a large area, sniffing everywhere to find the odor. So, to teach this, the trainer can put the container in many different hiding places. After the dog searches and sniffs at the container, the trainer will use the marker. If the dog then returns to the trainer, the trainer will give the toy reward. This can be repeated many times.
When the dog starts to get good at searching and finding the container, the trainer can slowly start to increase the time between the sound of the marker and letting the dog play with the toy. This is important because, in the real world, the dog's human partner may not be able to reward the dog with the toy immediately. But the partner can use the marker so the dog can anticipate a reward sometime soon.
Step 4: Learning to Communicate With the Partner At this point, the dog has learned to explore the environment, searching for the important odor. But, as a final step, the dog needs to learn how to tell its human partner when the odor is found. To do this, it is best to use a dog's natural behavior. For example, some dogs may naturally sit when they smell the important odor and wait to hear the marker. Some other dogs may stare directly at the location of the odor while waiting.
When the trainer starts to see the dog's specific behaviors, he or she can start to use the marker and give the toy only when the dog does the behavior after sniffing the correct place. For the dog, the behavior of sitting or staring when it is near the odor becomes associated with the marker and reward, so the dog will begin to do it more often.
All of these training steps can take a long time. Sometimes, trainers may need to repeat a step, or try a new way of teaching so that a dog can learn. But, because dogs pay close attention to humans and want to work with us, many of them can become good working dogs.
Law enforcement agencies have had dogs as part of the service for over a century. Formal police training started around 1899 in Ghent, Belgium.
The use of dogs by police departments really gained in popularity in the United States starting in the 1970s.
Both males and females are used as police service dogs though some trainers may prefer one over the other.
Typically, dogs do not start their police training until they are between 12 and 15 months of age. That is when they become mature enough to concentrate.
The most common breed among police dogs is the German Shepherd, generally heralded for its intelligence and ability to handle high-stress situations.
A smaller cousin of the German Shepherd, the Belgian Malinois, is also oftentimes used for police and military work. Cairo, the dog that accompanied Seal Team Six in the Osama bin Laden raid, was a Belgian Malinois.
Not all police dogs are large and fearsome. Beagles are sometimes used by Customs and Border Protection officers not only to sniff out bombs and drugs, but even overseas food.
Bloodhounds are terrific at tracking a scent, and they do not bite. They are great for missing persons cases as they can still track a scent weeks later.
The size of the average police dog will vary depending on the breed. Active duty German Shepherds typically weigh between 80 and 100 pounds.
A single purpose police dog can cost upwards of $4,000 without any training. A dog trained for both patrol and narcotics can cost between $8,000 and $10,000.
Beyond additional costs like vet care and annual certification, initial training for a police dog is about $2,000 to $3,000. Full training can get up to $15,000 per dog. The total cost to start a K-9 unit is closer to $20,000 to $30,000.
While some service dogs respond to German commands, that us not necessarily always the case. This is partly because some police dogs are trained in Germany and partly because using a different language can help to protect officers.
Active police dogs generally go home with their handlers where they are given the same level of care and attention as civilian dogs. They get to "relax" when they are off-duty.
Training never ends. Even when they are not actively working, police dogs are learning new skills and gaining new knowledge.
Individual practices by different precincts will vary, but canine cops are generally "sworn in" as police officers and receive an official badge.
Drug-sniffing dogs can be trained to smell nicotine in e-cigarettes and vape juice, as well as any number of other contraband like marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, and more.
Several search-and-rescue dogs helped look for survivors at Ground Zero after the 9/11 attacks in 2001, including NYPD German Shepherd Appollo. He was the first search dog to arrive at the scene.
Dogs in law enforcement are becoming increasingly specialized, just like their human counterparts. They can work in detection, patrol, pursuit, forensics, investigation, crowd control, search and rescue, and more.
The oldest municipal police dog unit in Canada is in Vancouver. It started in 1957 and consists of 15 dog teams working 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Vancouver Police Canine Unit responds to 10,000 calls per year.
A dog from Madrid Municipal Police named Poncho took the Internet by storm when it apparently gave CPR to a "collapsed" officer.
Police dogs can and do bite with up to about 240 pounds of force or more. They are trained to contain potential threats - bite and hold, but they should release if the perpetrator stops resisting and fighting back.
In general, some laws surrounding dog bites also apply to those in a K-9 unit. If the dog was improperly trained or used excessive force on a nonviolent suspect, the suspect may have grounds to sue or otherwise pursue some legal action.
Police dogs are just as much in harm's way as their human officer counterparts.
Generally, police dogs retire after seven or eight years of serving on the force. There are numerous news stories of heroic dogs who have been shot and even died in the line of duty.
The Protect a Hero campaign strives to provide K-9s with bulletproof vests. Funds are raised through the sale of specially marked dog food.
Most retired police dogs continue to live with the families of their original K-9 handlers, but some are adopted out to qualified homes.
Police dogs can tell the difference between identical twins. While this may fool the eyes of a human, dogs are trained to use their noses.
K9s are trained to sniff out electronics such as hard drives or thumb drives. Last year the Huffington Post reported on the first canine-assisted search for computer equipment. The dog was able to locate a thumb drive hidden four layers deep inside of a tin box in a metal cabinet.
Police dogs played an important role in searching for victims during the 9/11 attacks. More than 100 search and rescue dogs looked for survivors.
Persians, Greeks, Babylonians and Assyrians were the first cultures to use dogs with the police.
Are you on the hunt for a name for your new pooch? Looking for a great name that means strength and dignity? Why not choose a name inspired by the police force? These dog names are especially great choices for canines that work with police officers, or even just the pet of someone who works at the precinct!
Strong Male Dog Names Inspired By The Police Force Avalanche Bear Bane Bolt Captain Bomber Bang Prowler King Krypto Boss Butch Bullet Diesel Crash Fang Gunner Hulk Ace Badger Bones Buddy Bud Gator Hawkeye Rocky Hercules Caesar Bruiser Hunter Wolf Force
Finn Ranger Goliath Moose Rex Spike
Strong Female Dog Names Inspired By The Police Force Alaska Diva Echo Colt Brooklyn Clue Dagger Blizzard Elektra Cleopatra Harley Reina Huntress Indiana Jinx Joan Leia Katniss Mercy Pepper Scout Liberty Olympia Starbuck Queen Tiger Xena Nala Raven Rogue
1. Glory Hounds Filmed in Afghanistan, this 2-hour special profiles four military dogs and their handlers in the war zone as they locate insurgents and dangerous explosives. These couples are the best of friends in the worst of times. The US Military Office has granted this crew to be followed by reporters and carry special in the action cameras. As heartbreaking as it is to see a fallen dog's body draped in the American flag, what Glory Hounds does extremely well is to depict and deepen our appreciation for the trainers of these four-legged soldiers of America.
2. Always Faithful The movie director, Harris Done, did an incredible job by letting us share the indestructible bond shared between a marine and his K9 dog. We have been incredibly moved by this military dog documentary that follows five K9 Marines from training to deployment in Iraq and Afghanistan. It shows us how the US Marine Corps dog teams behave on the front lines and how they lead such a risky life.
3. Sniffing Out Bombs: America's Most Elite Dogs When the bombs went off at the Boston Marathon, highly trained dogs were rushed to the scene to search for more explosives. Boston police have said sniffing dogs swept the streets in the morning and a second time just an hour before the first marathoners crossed the finish line. Since 9/11, dogs have been used more than ever within the armed forces of the United States and other Western countries. This is simply because nothing has been shown to be more effective than the nose of a well-trained sniffing dog to find bombs. This documentary is rare because most of what these armed officers do is classified but “60 Minutes” was allowed to speak with the teams training America's most elite dogs and military dog handlers.
4. Send In The Dogs UK Series: The Metropolitan Police Send In The Dogs is a British documentary split into four 45mn episodes about the work of the Metropolitan Police, British Transport Police, West Yorkshire, Greater Manchester Police's police dogs. An interesting point with the United Kingdom police forces is that most of them are not carrying any firearm or weapon, it has been a policy enforced by several governments in order to create trust between the police and the people. The police dogs in the United Kingdom have increased importance to their police handlers as they are their most efficient weapon. The British K-9 teams are visible everywhere, from the transport networks in major cities like London and Manchester to the rural areas in the country. Malinois, Spaniels, Border Collies, and German Shepherds are amongst the breeds used to perform various policing tasks such as drug-sniffing, IED and bomb detection, human tracking, criminal arrests, and neutralization, etc.
5. Puppy Police Academy (Metropolitan Police) Split into five small episodes of 6-10 minutes each, the Puppy Police Academy is a little insider glimpse at the progress of a group of German Shepherds, or Alsation, puppies as they are put through their paces at the sprawling greenery of MPS Dog Training Establishment in Keston, Kent. From dog breeding to dog training, they share with us incredible moments we all love to witness. Handlers and dogs from all over Great Britain, Europe and many parts of the world attend the MPS Dog Training Establishment for a variety of courses. The department uses proven military dog breeds such as German or Belgian Shepherd Dogs, Labradors, and Springer or Cocker Spaniels.
POLICE DOG RETIREMENT AND ADOPTION This article is proudly presented by WWW.THESPRUCEPETS.COM and Laura Mueller
Many police departments around the country employ special K-9 units that assist officers in everything from finding missing people to searching for evidence at crime scenes. These heavily trained dogs are true partners to their human companions, working tirelessly alongside them to keep their handlers and the rest of us safe. But what happens when their work is finished?
Up until the year 2000 most retired police dogs were euthanized, a shocking practice that was thankfully stopped with the signing of Robby's Law by then-President Bill Clinton. Under the new law, which still stands today, dogs retiring from service in law enforcement or the military can be adopted by their handlers or other service members. And if that is not an option, they can be adopted out into the general public.
What to Know About Retired Police Dogs Most of the time, police dogs retire because of age. These dogs are highly intelligent and work hard throughout their lives, first in training and then in active service. By age 7 or 8 or sometimes closer to 10 or 11, they are ready to hang up their K-9 badges and spend their remaining years relaxing. While police dogs are incredibly well-trained, the stress of the job can have unintended consequences, including anxiety and depression.
Dogs who retire from the police force may exhibit negative behaviors such as aggression, separation anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder. As such, they may require additional training in retirement or even re-socialization. This is not to say that adopting a retired police dog is not worth it. In many cases, adopting a retired police K-9 is an incredible opportunity to provide a chance for a working dog to be just, well, a dog. If you are interested in pursuing this type of rescue, read on for the steps that you will need to take.
How to Apply for a Retired Police Dog Police dogs form intensely strong bonds with their handlers in the line of duty. As such, their handlers are always the first choice for adopters when the dogs retire. In most cases, these dogs do go on to live carefree lives as family pets with their police partners. Usually, opportunities for civilians to adopt retired police dogs only occur if a dog's handler passes away or cannot otherwise care for him or her. Sometimes, dogs who "failed" out of police dog training and never actually performed active service become adoptable. In both cases, other law enforcement officers will be first in line to adopt, followed by the general public.
There is no organization strictly dedicated to adopting retired police dogs. Instead, organizations like the National Police Dog Foundation and the Retired Police Canine Foundation assist handlers with things like medical care and training for their retired pups. Mission K9, however, is an organization that assists former working dogs in many ways, including arranging civilian adoptions. To find out more about their adoption procedure, as well as the process for adopting a retired police dog, visit their "Adopt" page:
Your best bet for adopting a retired police dog is to do the legwork yourself, calling local police stations and K-9 officer training facilities and inquiring directly. If a police department or training organization does have a dog for adoption or expects that they will soon - either because the dog is retiring from the force or deemed unfit for service - they will be able to fill you in on the exact adoption process and any adopter requirements. Do note that waiting lists can take time, and it may be years before a dog is available for you.
Why You Should Consider Before Adopting a Former Police Dog The process to adopt a retired or "failed" police dog is not an easy one, nor is there a guarantee that a dog will be available or you will be successful in your application. If all the moving parts do come together, adopting a dog whose service has ended is a truly impactful way to give a happy ending to dogs who have worked hard to protect and serve the people around them. The life of a police dog is not always easy. Like their handlers, police K-9s frequently face high-stress situations and life-threatening dangers.
Adopting a retired police dog is an opportunity to provide a canine a chance to just be a pet in their final years, with all of the love and spoiling that goes along with it. Rescuing a pet is a fantastic way to make a difference. If a retired police dog is not available, look through the TSA Dog Adoption Program, or consider just heading to your local shelter. There are millions of dogs and cats in need of homes, and many would be delighted to find forever with you.
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