Training a dog to be a police dog takes a lot of dedication and work but it is not just about the dog. The handler must also know what they are doing.
There are several factors to consider when choosing a dog to be a police dog.
Working dogs come in many breeds and sizes and they are often chosen based on the traits they are known for.
There are many jobs available for a police dog, do such as search and rescue, protection, drug sniffing, explosive detection and cadaver detection.
Depending on what the department needs they will select a dog that meets their needs then send it to school.
Most often a department will procure a “green dog”.
A green dog is one that is between seven and fourteen months old that has received some basic obedience training. The green dog will be assigned to an officer who has worked hard for the privilege of having a K9 partner.
Together they will spend nearly every minute of every day together for the duration of the dogs career.
They will be sent to complete four to twelve weeks of additional training geared toward the task the dog will be used for.
Another option for a department to procure a dog is to find one that is completely trained and assign it to a handler, then they complete the similar training together.
Police dogs can be trained as “single purpose” or “dual purpose” dogs. A single purpose dogs is mostly used for backup, personal protection and tracking.
Dual purpose dogs are more popular and trained to do everything the single purpose dogs do, plus detection of either explosives or narcotics, but never both.
The reason the dogs are trained for one or the other is that the dog can’t communicate to the officer what it found, just that it found something.
Patrol dogs are trained in many aspects of day to day police life from finding and subduing suspects to protecting their officer.
Drug detection dogs are trained on how to find any kind of narcotics. Their training is tough and requires them to be able to distinguish between different types of drugs while avoiding other smells that could distract them.
Bomb detection dogs must learn more than 10,000 different smells that are associated with explosives.
The training they go through for his lasts just ten weeks.
Scent tracking dogs receive specialized training on how to track a suspect or a missing person.
These dogs will search for hours, maybe even days following a scent trail.
The most recent K9 Officer to join the DeRidder Police Department is Rex, also known as Rx. Rex is a two year old German Shepherd from Budapest, Hungary.
Recently, Rex and his partner Corporal Tracy Crouch, completed narcotics detection training through the Little Rock K9 Academy in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Rex is the second K9 officer of the DeRidder Police Department certified for narcotics detection. He joins K9 Officer Dragon.
In January the Vernon Parish Sheriff’s Department recruited new K9 cadet Ellie Mae, a nine-week-old bloodhound from Graceland, Louisiana.
Ellie Mae is being trained as a track and search dog by VPSO Chase Team Commander Deputy Ricky Stephens and Assistant Commander, Deputy Aaron Barbee.
In March Deputy Stephens was asked how Ellie Mae is progressing in her training. He said she is doing great and is already starting to track.