K-9 officer's and their furry counterpart are amazing when working together. It is important to recognize that a K-9 dog is a working dog and has received special training. Never approach any dog until the handler recognizes you personally and tells you it is acceptable for you to approach.
When you approach a dog, any dog, not just a K-9 dog, allow the dog to smell you before you make any motion to pet or touch the dog. It is important that you never stare into the dog’s eyes, as staring directly is a threat to dog's and shows dominance.
When you are petting a dog or allowing a dog to smell you, extend your hand out with a tightly closed fist. If the dog does bite, it will be hard for him to find a place to grab with his teeth if your hand is curled in a ball.
If you are petting a dog you are not familiar with, do not pet the dog on his head. The dog cannot see what you are doing and he may feel threatened and respond by barking or nipping. Always pet the dog on the dogs back.
K-9 Officers work seven hours on the clock. They receive one hour a day to water, feed, and care for their K-9 partners. This includes playing and exercising the animals. Each K-9 Officer is different in his approach with their K-9 partner some officers choose to allow the dog inside their home, while other officers choose to keep the dog outside the home in a separate kennel.
The reasoning for keeping a K-9 outside in a kennel is diverse. The most common reason is to prevent the officer’s family from having to discipline the dog. By allowing the dog to stay separate from the family and having only the officer discipline the dog, the dog remains higher on the totem pole. Rather than having the dogs status lowered by adding more disciplinarians.
Through continual training the officer and K-9 learn to bond and gain a trust among each other. The officer is the “alpha” in the pack status. The K-9 will initially test this theory in an attempt to overtake and become the “alpha” male. Yet, with the proper training and with the right temperament the trainer will quickly prove with the animal he is in charge and the animal is not the “alpha.”
There is such a unique and distinctive working relationship among K-9 Officers and their K-9 partners. Most importantly realize that a K-9 and his officer are a team and it is important not to distract them. In addition, since the K-9 officer must focus on his four-legged partner, understand it is the other officers following the pair closely are actually protecting the K-9 officer, so he is not hurt or lost himself.
Watching a K-9 team in action is incredible and the definition of teamwork. Each must tune into the vibes of the other so that this amazing team can be successful. Canine power can be the key to finding a child in the wilderness, especially if a child is lost in unfamiliar area.