Does the K9 live with the handler? Yes he does. When the K9 isn’t working, he’s just like any other dog (with some exceptions). The K9 socializes with the handler’s family and is just another pet at home.
How do we select the right dog for K9 work? Normally we put him through several tests. We test his desire to retrieve an article such as a ball or stick. We test him for his alertness by tying him out in the middle of an open area. We then watch him to see if he’s inquisitive about his surroundings and notices everything that’s going on around him. We test his reaction to various noises such as sirens and gunshots. Basically we look for a dog that has confidence and likes to retrieve. If the dog passes all the tests he is taken to a vet for a complete physical and hip x-rays.
How long can a K9 work before he retires? The dog’s health and physical condition determines how long he can work. On the average most K9's retire when they are between 8 and 9 years old, although others have worked longer. Medical problems such as hip dysphasia or spinal deterioration usually lead to the K9 being retired.
What happens to the K9 when he retires? Chino Police Department has a retirement plan for the K9. Once retired the handler may purchase the K9 from the city for $1.00. The K9 spends his remaining days with the handler who now becomes responsible for the care of the retired K9.
Are K9's given narcotics to make them search for drugs? This is a common misconception. The K9 is trained to associate his favorite toy with the odor of the drug through a process of retrieving and play. Once the dog associates the odor with his toy he will scratch and bark at the source of the odor. Once he does, he is rewarded with his toy.
Are our K9's mean? No. We could not use a mean dog for police work. Our K9's are trained to associate a certain command with a certain job. We call that a “conditioned response”. For example, if he is given a command, he responds to it without hesitation, or if his handler is attacked, by another person, the K9 responds by taking action against the attacker. In normal, everyday situations, the K9 is like any other dog.
Why do we import K9's from Europe? European countries have been breeding and training dogs for hundreds of years. They have developed a gene pool through strict regulation which creates a dog with the qualities needed for police work. From this gene pool they select a puppy and begin it’s basic training. There is a more varied selection in Europe and it is sometimes more cost effective to purchase a European dog. Our trainer regularly travels throughout Europe in search of a K9 to meet the specific needs of a department.