Saturday, April 18, 2009

K-9 Demo

Have you ever attended a K-9 demonstration? I’ve been to several. Hey, it’s research. And I’m always amazed by the beauty and intelligence of these dogs, and especially by what they’re trained to do—tracking, sniffing for things like explosives, and search and rescue.

Today, my local courthouse held an open house geared toward families with children. I wouldn’t have attended, except I saw there’d be a canine demonstration. If you’d been there, you'd have seen me standing between a scout troop and a group of little girls in princess dresses. I felt right at home!

Two police officers, whose names I didn’t catch, and Endo the police dog put on quite a show. They began with an obedience demonstration to show how amazingly well-trained these dogs really are. No matter how often I see this, I am always surprised and impressed.

Then Endo showed us how fast he can run, and I think it’s safe to say no one on two legs could outrun him.

The "kids" in the audience seemed to like the biting demonstration best. Here’s Endo with his handler (on the left) barking and pulling on the leash. The officer on the right is holding a biting sleeve, which is used in police dog training. The dog gets to practice biting, and the bitee doesn’t get hurt. Endo clearly wants to practice!

And here’s Endo, in full biting mode. Again, safe to say that if he clamped his jaw onto someone’s arm, that person would not be getting away.

Apparently police dogs know the difference between training and real police work, and Endo made using the biting sleeve look more like a game. When the demonstration was over, he proudly carried the biting sleeve back to the police vehicle.

Thanks for the demo, Endo! Keep up the good work!

Until next time,


Anonymous said...

How fascinating this must have been! It's hard to imagine how many hours and hours of work go into training the dogs and their handlers – I admire the dedication.

And I would love to have seen you sandwiched between the Scout troop and the princesses, Lee!


Lee McKenzie said...

Training time probably varies from one PD to another. These handlers and dogs do three months of full-time training before the dog goes into service. Not sure exactly how many hours that would be, but lots!

The children were great, and they asked lots of questions.

One little boy wanted to know if a cat could learn to a police dog. Both officers grinned, and one of them diplomatically sidestepped the question by saying they do have a cat in their communications center.