Raising a Puppy for Police Dogs

by Maggie O'Leary

The Belgian Malinois is a top pick of police agencies.

Police K9 officers are held to the highest standards. These dogs must be trained to sniff out drugs, explosives and people. They must be highly disciplined and willing to answer every command the first time. As a result, they require specialized, intense training before entering police service.

Step 1

Contact a local law enforcement agency and ensure they have a need for trained police dogs. Many agencies contract with particular breeders or trainers and don't obtain dogs from outside sources. After receiving confirmation that the agency is interested in your dog, begin the training and preparation process.

Step 2

Determine the training your puppy will need to enter service as a police dog. This information is available from the law enforcement agency that you work with. Each agency has its own particular requirements, so ensure you get the correct information and train your dog properly so no retraining will be necessary.

Step 3

Train your puppy to the standards given to you by the police agency that will take the dog once training is complete. Your dog will need to know things beyond "sit," stay" and "fetch." Many police dogs are trained to recognize certain scents, such as illegal drugs, firearms and bomb-making ingredients. These are subjects that you will be unable to train on yourself, so it is best to locate a local police or military working dog trainer that has legal access to these training aids. Police dogs also are trained to navigate rough terrain and handle inclement weather conditions. These are things that you can teach your dog. Begin with small excursions and extend the journeys gradually once your dog becomes acclimated to the terrain and elements. Other police dogs are trained in search and rescue procedures. This also is something you can train yourself, by hiding objects and teaching your dog to find them. Start with easy searches at first, such as a treat hiding in your dog's crate. Increase the difficulty gradually until your dog can find obscure objects hiding behind obstacles in large areas. Police dogs also must be trained to take down criminals and protect their handlers. To train on this topic, you'll need a "bite suit" or equivalent, and the ability to teach your dog to bite a suspect only as much as it takes to immobilize them.

Step 4

Obtain any certifications that your dog needs to enter service as a police dog. There are several organizations that provide these certifications. The law enforcement agency that is taking possession of your dog upon completion of training will let you know what certifications are needed and which organizations must be contacted.

Step 5

Release your fully-trained and certified police dog to the law enforcement agency to begin service as a police dog. The agency may be willing to provide you with updates on how the dog is doing, if you wish to keep updated on the dog's career and accomplishments.

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