Police dogs are police officers

Six things you should know about police dogs

Our four-legged employees are attracting great interest - and rightly so. We do not want to do without our “sniffers” and guard dogs, who support our work with their valuable services. Here we answer six common questions about our service dogs.

Many success stories have been written thanks to our service dogs. Behind this is a comprehensive education with a lot of playful work and endurance training.

As the head of service dogs, I get a lot of inquiries about our dogs. We always try to answer them as far as we can. However, it is unfortunately not always possible for us to meet all wishes. We would like to answer six particularly frequently asked questions about our service dogs at this point.

1. How do you become a police dog handler?

After completing the police school, you have to work as a police officer for at least two years. Of course, a great interest in dogs is assumed, and one should also be animal-loving, persistent and in good physical condition. The latter is required of our police officers anyway, as well as an exact working method and a great sense of duty.

In order to become a police dog handler, police officers must complete a multi-part aptitude test; this consists of an interview, a written exam and a practical test. Suitable employees who have gone through this procedure are then selected and are allowed to train and lead a service dog.

2. Can I buy a police dog?

No. Our service dogs belong to the police and are bought by the service dogs department. The police are the owner of the dog, and the handler is the owner of the animal.

3. Can the service dog handler take the dog home after work?

Yes. All service dogs live at home with the dog handler even after work and are integrated into family life there.

4. Is a drug sniffer dog made addicted?

No of course not. If the dog were to come into contact with drugs, it could be fatal for him and of course the well-being of our service dogs is very important to us. In training, the drug sniffer dog is conditioned to the smell of the drugs, which can be achieved with different methods. For example, drugs can be placed in the dog's toy so that it can smell the substances. The dog is always looking for its toy, which has been hidden by the trainer. The aim is for the dog to expect his toy as a reward when he “reports” drugs. That is why the dog is taught in play that he should take a position (sitting, sitting down or standing) when he smells the substance hidden in the toy. Once the dog is in position, his toy is thrown at him. Afterwards there is a lot of play. This is how the dog learns the desired behavior.

5. How long does it take to train a police dog?

The training of a service dog takes around two years. During this time the dog learns to follow tracks, to look for and track down people in buildings and in the forest, to find objects such as burglary tools or stolen goods in the area. The Schutzhund must also learn to bite in dangerous situations.

You can read how the training of a protection dog works in the series "From puppy to police dog".

6. What happens to the service dogs when they are old?

When a service dog is old and no longer operational, it stays with the handler and his family and can enjoy his life. On average, our dogs reach an age of 10 to 13 years.