Guardians of the Night: The Unseen Lives of Police Dogs - Doggy Brace

Police dogs are specifically trained for their roles within law enforcement. These canines (K-9s) play quite a different role than your pooch at home. These dogs are highly competent and skilled in serving society due to their extensive training. Police dogs are trained for various situations, including search and rescue, apprehension, and detection. 

Let’s dive in and see what dog is right for the job.     

Police Dogs and Paw Patrol (Quite Literally)

German Shepherds are the most popular breed and have been in the police force for ten decades. Therefore, they have a generational history of service. 

German Shepherds have many traits that make them great for the job. As you will know, a dog’s nose is super sensitive to smell. Dogs can smell the bacon in the morning as soon as it is thrown in the pan. Imagine the possibilities when the dogs are equipped with proper training!

Being highly intelligent, athletic, and obedient are all qualities that German Shepherds possess. Moreover, German Shepherds have a strong work ethic, and their eagerness to do their job makes them great contenders for the K-9 unit.   

How Are Police Dogs Trained?

You know the saying, “It’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks,” it rings true in the dog force too. Police training for these K-9s starts around age 1, depending on maturity levels.

Police dogs undergo selection procedures as any police officer would. Dogs need to have the correct temperament to be in the force. Dogs are analyzed daily for their physical and psychological health to ensure they are the right ones for the job.  

Depending on a dog’s specialty, it may depend on their training area. For instance, the dogs could be trained to be on patrol or trained to specialize in explosive searching.

A common method of training includes positive reinforcement. Here the police dogs learn through association. For example, if a dog follows a command, the dog will receive a treat. Positive reinforcement is a great technique and has shown to be effective in the long run with dogs. Therefore, the dogs will require fewer corrections in their career. 

Where Do Police Dogs Live?

Police dogs are usually given to a single handler who they stay with throughout their careers. Dogs are off-duty at their handler’s home and become a part of the family as a pet. 

You may be wondering how the dogs know that they are off duty. The dogs sense cues like their environment, uniforms, and verbal commands to understand when they are on and off work. It goes without saying these animals are amazing! 

A Day In The Life

Believe it or not, “work like a dog” does apply to these furry friends. Unlike your pet dog, who spends time relaxing around the house, the K-9 unit works 8-10 hour shifts with its handlers.  

The bonus of being a handler is bringing your best friend to work daily!

A typical day is hard to predict as it depends on the dog’s specialty and what the day brings. A K-9’s day could start with a morning patrol doing a drug sweep at a school or attending the office for a meeting (the dogs take this as nap time). 

The next part of their day may be spent waiting for a call where the K-9 unit may be needed to help out. The call could be for a search and rescue or detecting drugs; there are many possibilities. 

In the evenings, dogs and their handlers can patrol certain areas where crimes are likely to act as a deterrent. After their shift, the dogs go home with their handlers for much-needed rest and recovery. 

What Happens To Retired Police Dogs? 

After an 8 year service, police dogs retire and live the rest of their lives as pets. Usually, the police dogs will stay with their handler due to the strong bond they have formed after years of service! The K9s enjoy retirement like we would, eating, sleeping, playing, and repeating. 

 K-9’s Service 

Fur sure, K-9s have a special role in service, but they also get to retire and enjoy their lives as family pets. 

At Doggy Brace, we hope that we have provided insight into the lives of police dogs. So that the next time you see a handler and their dog, you will understand more about the behind-the-scenes! 

Dogs are amazing animals that provide humans with companionship and protection. Make sure your dog is in good health, and if you ever notice a limp, Doggy Brace is here to help! Shop with us today.