Wednesday, December 23, 2015

K9 Police Training

German shepherds are the most common breed of police dogs.

Police dogs, often called K-9 units, assist law enforcement in finding suspects, apprehending dangerous criminals and sniffing out drugs or explosive devices. These dogs require extensive and frequent training with their officer handlers and usually special breeding for their roles.


Most police dogs are German shepherds, although Labradors, golden retrievers and Dobermans also can receive police training. Some police departments will train their own K-9 units, though most buy specially bred and trained dogs, usually from Europe, and conduct additional training with their department's handler.


Training a police dog involves sharpening innate skills that serve law enforcement: strength, endurance, speed, attacking abilities and a sense of smell. A K-9 handler must learn to control and yield these skills with his dog partner.


Dog training tasks can include: negotiating obstacle courses, searching for culprits in buildings, searching for evidence, tracking suspects, recovering corpses and learning the scents of narcotics or explosives to help officers detect them.


Once trained, police dogs become full-fledged members of a police force, sometimes even becoming sworn officers on the force. Injuring or killing a trained police dog carries heavy penalties, such as a prison sentence for up to 10 years for killing a U.S. federal law enforcement dog.


Handlers often issue commands to police dogs in their native tongue, such as Dutch or German, but this is not done to prevent suspects from countering their commands. Because of their training, the dogs will not respond to commands from anyone but their handler, regardless of the language.

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