In the millennia since dogs became mans’ best friend, they’ve bounded into a series of tasks from pulling sleds to retrieving ducks. Dogs also instinctively protect you and your home.
With apologies to McGruff, real crime fighting dogs walk on four legs and don’t wear trench coats. Trainer Randy Hare has spent decades getting canines ready for a variety of roles in Law Enforcement. He’s good with family pets, too.
Dita is beautiful six year old Belgian Malinois. She knows what she wants, and she knows how to get it. This dog lives for the game. Drive like that is prized in police dogs.
Trainer Randy Hare explains, “If we can get the kind of dog that has an even temperament and is safe to be around people, but also has that working ability to take care of business when he has to, then we have something that we can put into that scenario with an excellent handler.”
Randy Hare owns Alpha K-9 in Jackson. He specializes in obedience training for family dogs these days, but he still works with a few police departments. Through the years he’s traveled as far away as Slovakia to purchase a pup.
Randy says, “You have a period of about 5 or 6 minutes in order to determine whether you are going to spend 4 or 5 thousand dollars, betting that he’s going to be good.”
Randy has trained dogs for patrol work, bomb sniffing and narcotics detection.
Randy says, “Nobody really knows exactly what they can and can’t smell. We just know it’s a heck of a lot better than ours.”
Positive behavior is rewarded with things like a treat or a tennis ball.
Randy advises, “It’s a living, breathing animal with feelings and emotions, and if you interact with that in an effort to increase their ability to do things, you’ll have a higher success rate.”
That holds true for family pets. Treat them right, and your home will be that much safer.
Randy says, “It would surprise you how many of them would take care of business if they got the chance. Now, some may not, but at the same time, who’s going to test it?”
Most of that responsibility rests on the human end.
When a police dog’s work is done, Randy feels, “They deserve the considerations and respect that a human being does when he retires, and maybe even more so in my opinion.”
Best case scenario, retired police dogs go home with their handlers. There are organizations out there that will buy food and help pay for medical expenses.
Belgian Malinois are becoming popular police dogs. They have less health issues than German Shepherds and their careers are longer, but Randy stresses, that there are a still plenty of good German Shepherds out there.