There’s a reason why every cop does not have a K-9 dog they work with. No, it’s not just funding and budget issues. When partnering a police officer with a K-9, there are many things that go into consideration. Not only do the two have to be a cohesive team, but there are standards for both the human and dog to stand up to. However, not everyone (or every dog) makes the cut.
K-9 dog standards
You have all seen the movies and tv shows showing K-9 units. You have all probably noticed that in most cases, the most common dogs used for K-9 forces are German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois. Believe it or not, there’s a reason they don’t choose just any dog to be on the police force.
German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois are commonly used due to their ability to track, protect, and attack humans. They are also very good at tracking drugs and weapons. These two breeds are some of the strongest, loyal, and determined breeds in the canine world. One of the main things that is looked at when picking a dog is their prey drive. This tells how persistent and determined the dog is when it comes to tracking or biting. The police that choose the dog’s also look at their bite and how “good” they bite. If the dog has a single, deep bite; they are considered to have a good bite.
These dog’s are also very athletic and hard working. They do not tire easily and will do whatever it takes to get the mission at hand accomplished.
The human’s standards
Just like the dogs, the police officer has to be chosen very carefully. Only few are lucky enough to get a K-9 dog and even less of those few actually keep them. They must be patient, determined, and they must be a true leader. Many do not realize that when a police officer takes on a dog, it is a 24/7 gig. You must have the dog at all times and form a bond with the dog as it will be your partner. When training these dogs, it is very common for the handlers to get bitten. However, even then, they must continue training and staying loyal to the dog. By the end of training, the officer will no longer look at the K-9 as just a dog; no, instead it will be as their partner.
A true honor
Although in movies and tv shows having a K9 might seem fun, it is a lot of hard work for both the dog and the officer. It can be physically and emotionally draining. However, it is also extremely rewarding to not only see your dog be the best of the best, but to also be trusted to handle and train this dog. “Having a dog on the force was what we needed, and I am very honored they chose me to be the handler for Booker” – Officer Clay Clay McDonnough
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