K9 Frequently Asked Questions
We receive many questions regarding K9 Officer careers. The following information is provided as a general guideline for becoming a K9 officer within the Town of Gilbert.
Any sworn officer of the gilbert police department who has completed a 12 month probation period is eligible to apply for the k-9 unit. There is an extensive selection process to test officers who apply for the unit. Perspective officers undergo an oral board evaluation, a practical exam wherein they handle a k-9, and a physical fitness evaluation. Officers must demonstrate the physical ability to control a k-9, the endurance to keep up on long searches, and be able to lift the k-9 over a 6 foot wall. Practical experience handling k-9s is not imperative, but certainly beneficial. The officer's employment record is also considered before assignment to the k-9 unit.
What made you choose malinois over such breeds as german shepherds, rottweilers, doberman pinchers, etc? Each breed you mention has admirable qualities. Finding and testing good police dog candidates is a time consuming process. We have been more successful in finding suitable malinois than dogs of any other breed.
I've heard that most (nearly all) german shepherds used as police dogs come from europe. Is that true? Generally speaking, it is true that most police dogs (including german shepherds) are imported from europe. The usual response to this answer is, "why?" in the united states, dog breeding programs have historically focused on a dog's appearance - the prettier the dog, the more worthy of breeding. In europe, working dogs have been selected for breeding based on their ability to perform a desired task. This difference of breeding philosophy has produced a dichotomy in many working breeds. Logic dictates that the best place to find a good working dog (i.e., police k-9) is to look where dogs are bred for working. This is not to say a k-9 can't chase bad guys and look good doing it. Look at otto for instance....
I am interested in law enforcement and especially in becoming a canine officer. Is there anything i can do to prepare for the k9 unit? Certainly. I would read all the books you can find on the subject. There are quite a few good books out there. There are many dog sports that are similar to police k-9 (e.g. Schutzhund). This is a great way to "get your feet wet." good luck.
After watching the many ways dogs helped during the recent ny/wash. Dc crisis, i want to prepare myself and a dog to be of service to the community and/or country. I'm considering crisis therapy work and search & rescue. I am going to get a labrador retriever. What programs are available locally for volunteers? There are many avenues to pursue. You can certainly research programs on the internet and get more answers than i can provide. I am also sending a copy of this message to one of our police communications supervisors. She is a member of a local search and rescue group. She may be of some assistance to you. You seem pretty sure on the dog you want to acquire for this work. I would suggest you research your interests prior to getting a dog for such a specific purpose. Selecting a suitable k-9 for s&r, for instance, can be very difficult. It can be very heart-breaking to purchase an animal, pour your heart into the work, only to realize 2 years later the dog was never suitable for the work. The only way to better your chance of success is to learn about your selected field, contact breeders with experience in that field and train with experienced people. Good luck to you!!
Are black labs good for police dogs? What can they do and not do? Is a 3 or 4 year old dog too old? Labradors can make great detection dogs! There are many employed by law enforcement agencies in arizona and around the country. In general, labs are not used for officer protection or criminal apprehension. Most labrador breeders focus on hunting characteristics, like the retrieve instinct. Pronounced retrieve drive can be very useful in training detection work. At three or four years old, a lab is still a great student for detection work!
Where was your dog trained and how long did it take for the dog to learn basics? We trained 8 weeks, full-time for the initial k-9 academy at mcso (for additional information, visit k9 training). We train in-service 4 hours a week (formally). The 'basics' come very quick with the right dog, depending on what you mean by 'basics.'
I am a police officer in North Carolina, i have a 1year old female german shepherd, is it possible to train her or is she too old? Training dogs for police k-9 duty usually does not begin until a dog is one year old. Many of the tasks required of a police k-9 require a mentally and physically mature dog. So, this is a great time to evaluate your dog's potential.
I have heard that the belgian malinois is not only a wonderful protection dog, but also a wonderful family dog. We are currently considering adding a belgian malinois to our family. We have 2 children, aged 6 years and 8 months. Have your dogs ever shown signs of aggression towards small children? I would agree the belgian malinois makes a great protection dog and would be wonderful with your family. As you probably know, the breed is bred for working and tends to be very energetic! It is a challenge to keep up sometimes. I have a 2-year old who is best friends with otto.
I was wondering how is your car made to handle a dog and all that? There is quite a bit of work that goes into the k-9 vehicles to make them functional and safe for both the k-9 and officer. The back seat is removed form the vehicle and a wall-to-wall, ceiling-to-floor aluminum enclosure takes its place. The rear windows have grates allowing fresh air, yet security when the windows are rolled down. The k-9's have a carpeted platform covering the entire back seat area. The vehicles are equipped with an electronic "heat alarm" that sounds if the interior temperature exceed 85 degrees. This is important to the dog's safety when left alone in the car during our hot summers. The vehicles are also equipped with a remote door release. This allows the officer to open the k-9's rear door just by pressing a remote control button. This is a great safety feature in the event the officer needs the k-9's help immediately while away from the vehicle.
Why do you buy your dogs in holland and not in belgium (belgium malinois)? The dutch are very active in the promotion of dogs with skills desirable for police work. This is due primarily to a competitive certification program called "knpv." even though the malinois apparently originated in belgium, the dutch arguably produce the best police dog candidates in the world.
Can your dogs kill a suspect if they needed to? Like a man with a gun or something? No. The k-9's are only trained to hold on to an offender until their human partner arrives.
Do you addict your dogs to drugs? No. The dogs are trained to associate the odor of illegal drugs to a favorite toy. They never actually ingest drugs.
Has your dog been neutered? No. But they are not used for breeding.
Why is your hood always up on your jeeps? This keeps the engine cool so the a/c will function as efficiently as possible to keep the dogs cool.
Does your dog live at home with you? Yes. Otto goes to work with me and lives at my house. This is important in building a strong bond with the dog. It is also most cost effective for the police department.
What do you feed your dog? Nutromax
Does your dog do tricks? Not really. I don't spend a lot of time teaching him things that would be unrelated to his job as a police dog. All my training is dedicated to making him the best possible k-9!!
Do your dogs sleep inside the house, or outside? If outside, does he have air conditioning? Otto has his own house, so to speak. He sleeps in a fully air-conditioned kennel with outside access.
How fast can your dog run? I have measured otto's speed with my bicycle speedometer at 27 mph. However, i don't know how accurate that is.
Is your dog allowed to sleep on duty? Usually, the dogs are too excited to sleep while at work. But if i am out of the car for an extended period (booking a prisoner, etc.) I can usually find otto napping when i come back.
Do you train your dogs to fight other dogs? Just in case a suspect sics his dog on you... No, we try to train our dogs to get along with other dogs. Otherwise, it would be very distracting to our dogs when they run into other dogs while searching for a bad guy.
Have your dogs ever won any awards? Both otto and kimbo have won numerous awards at various police dog competitions. For details see the current events section of this webpage.
I have heard the malinois are the best dogs for police work, is this true? If you asked kimbo or otto this question i'm sure they would agree that malinois are the best dogs for police work. However, there are many other breeds that make fine police dogs such as german shepherds, bloodhounds and labrador retrievers. All have their particular strengths when it comes to police work.