Police dogs get training

The Canadian Press

SPRINGBROOK, Alta.–Police officers and their canine partners have been getting some “paws-on” practice at a two-day seminar in central Alberta.
A total of 24 teams from across Canada sniffed out the latest in skills training as part of the Canadian Police Canine Associations seminar.
Whether they were working outdoors or inside, the refresher course helps officers work on things like bite development with their K9 counterparts.
Red Deer RCMP Cst. Peter Baxter said that by training in this area, officers effectively can ensure their right-hand dog is biting in the right places–and applying the proper amount of pressure.
He said that increases officer safety and reduces damage to the perpetrator.
The dogs also work with distractions that can range from garbage cans, the suspect petting the dog, large steps or obstacles, and using sticks or noise-makers.
“We find better ways to advance our training so we can all learn and produce a better product out on the street,” said Red Deer RCMP Cpl.. Dan Block, who works with his canine partner, “Eve.”
However, the seminar is about more than training the dogs. Officers say it’s an opportunity to share their skills and collaborate, as a technique that works for one dog may not work for another.
Cst. Ian Vernon of the Calgary Police Service now is retired from the K-9 corp but volunteers at the conferences.
He spent the two days in the heavy bite suits, sweating, and getting dragged around–all for the betterment of Canada’s police dog units.
“I was a dog handler for 13 years and I learned so much coming to these conferences,” he remarked.
“We catch real bad guys like that; find missing kids who have been gone for days,” Vernon noted.
“So it’s crucial to be able to do what we do with the dogs.”