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How is life as a handler?

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  • How is life as a handler?

    My department used to have a k-9 unit and has asked me if I would become a handler so we can start the unit again. My only real concerns are home life and frequency of training. The dog will be patrol and come home with me. Does anyone have anything they can tell me to let me know what home life is and the training involved for regular maintenance? I am sure this will spark specific questions I have. Our last dog was trained in narcotic detection and tracking and my chief would like this dog to also do handler protection. I have a wife and infant daughter at home, and their cat. Thanks for any input.
    Go ahead and run, we like that!

  • #2
    There are so many variables here I dont know where to begin....1st thing if your gonna do handler protection do ALL OF PATROL...IE searching buildings and areas as well as apprehension. Training should be twice a month min. but I usually do some kind of training everyday. The home life is going to depend on you and on the dog as well. Are you gonna keep the dog inside with the fam. or Kennel it is your yard, assuming you have one. Is the dog going to be able to be with the family or not...some dogs dont mix well it just happens. Who will care for the dog if your away, what vet will you use, where and whom will you train with. These are all among about 100 other questions you are going to have to answer...But to Me there is nothing I wouldnt have been able to figure out to get my dog...IMO this is the best job in police work...it takes alot of time and dedication but its well worth it.

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    • #3
      Oh yeah...after being called at 3am for the Dog, that tends to happen too

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      • #4
        k-9

        I hope to keep the dog in the house. I own 2 acres that my house is on so I have plenty of room. The only other animal would be the wife's cat, and my wife is fine with sending that car away if needed. withThe dog would be trained in patrol. For training is twice a month a formal training with other handlers at a training ground or would that include some trianing done on own. The call out will be frequent around here, due to lack of other departments with k-9 using us, but I get called out frequent right now anyways. With the dog at home is there any special treatment or ways to live with the dog that may be different from living with a non police trained dog? What do most do with the dog when on vacation? I run often is it ok to take the dog on the runs with? While at home can the dog be leashed out in the yard for some time like a normal pet dog? Thanks
        Go ahead and run, we like that!

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        • #5
          Here are just a FEW things to consider before getting started -
          1. Select the proper dog. Find someone that knows how to properly test for a police canine candidate.

          2. Determine where your basic training will take place, for how long, and if you will receive any certifications upon the completion of it. Also, determine where you will do your follow up maintenance training. The industry standard calls for 16 hrs/month minimum.

          3. You indicate you will be taking the dog home for care. Advise your department that you MUST be compensated for the at home care of the dog. Check out K9 Fleck.org for legal issues regarding this.

          4. Arrange and spell out how the medical, food, and cost of kenneling for the dog will be addressed. Don't leave this to chance.

          As mentioned, these are but a few of the concerns you should address now with your agency. Best of luck to you and your future partner.

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          • #6
            Alot of the questions on the home life depend on the dog you get. Some can be in the house others cannot, some can act like pets others cannot...it really all depends.

            Make sure your Dept. knows they will also have to give you a vehicle especially equipped, and that in the best interest for them, the dog and you it should be take home.

            The national standard is a MINIMUM of 8hrs. training in Narco. and 8Hrs. Patrol a month...this is formal training. To keep the dog fresh, interested and exercised ill usually find time on my own or while on patrol to set up some kind of exercise during the day....maybe nothing big but at least make him use his brain.

            The running thing, I have on occassion, but stopped due to the fact that I believe too much running on pavement is no good for the dogs hips and joints (IMO) Im not a vet, but i would rather let him run around in a field or park.

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            • #7
              I have four children at home, They all get along fine with my k9 partner. But you must remember that they are a trained police dog, trained to bite and they must respect that. You must always keep an eye on the dog with other people around, no matter how social the dog appears.

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              • #8
                reply

                Thanks, my only child will be turning 1 shortly so I beleive she'll be able to learn to respect the dog. I have over 2 acres for the dog and I do spend time off duty for exercise. Right now we do 1 or 2 man patrols depending on whether or not we want to ride alone or with someone. Does anyone sometimes have another officer in with them? When in filing your paper work do you take the dog in and place in cage? What do most do for vacation with the dog? Are their any specific things at home that is different between the trained k-9 and other pet dogs?
                Go ahead and run, we like that!

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                • #9
                  I have had other people ride with me, but I would rather alone...gotta get dog stuff done during the day, plus it allows someone else to double up where as you have a different kinda partner. The dog can be left in the car for a while just ensure you have a heat alarm and check on them evey 15-25min. while doing paperwork, or have them build you a kennel at your HQ that is shaded for when your inside. On Vac. I kennel the dog...dont have to worrry about it. And for the home thing...they are trained to bite, and are protectors so expect them to act as such. POLICE DOGS ARE NOT PETS, this is what I have to tell people alllll the time.

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                  • #10
                    Training was strongly addressed in the Eleventh Circuit Court case, Kerr v City of West Palm Beach. The court stated: Police Dogs must be subject to continual, rigorous training in law enforcement techniques. Such training ensures that the dogs will continue to respond with alacrity to the commands of their handlers; without such training, the dogs’ responsiveness to their handlers’ commands will deteriorate, resulting in more frequent and more serious injuries to apprehended suspects than might otherwise occur.

                    The U.S. industry standard for canine maintenance training is a minimum of sixteen (16) hours per month, (4) hours per week, on average. This is recommended by the United States Police Canine Association (USPCA), the North American Police Work Dog Association (NAPWDA) and the National Police Canine Association (NPCA). This training ensures that you do not have a misbehaving dog.

                    This minimum of sixteen (16) hours per month applies to each dog TEAM (handler and dog), not per dog discipline. In other words, a sole purpose discipline dog team is held to the same minimal standard as a multi-disciplined, cross-trained dog team. Common sense would dictate that the more disciplines a dog is trained in, the longer it will take to initially train and maintain that dog team.

                    Terry Fleck
                    Canine Legal Update and Opinions
                    www.k9fleck.org
                    (530) 545.2855

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                    • #11
                      Thanks. I am looking forward for the dog to be ready to start training with him. Any advice is appreciated. Thanks for all given.

                      I have not seen and SOP's for our k-9 unit yet, but am going to be aiding in developing them (if non existent) or reformatting them to make sure they are proper for the new dog and today's issues in our city. Any specifics I should be sure to address?
                      Go ahead and run, we like that!

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                      • #12
                        Things to address in the SOP:

                        1. Compensation for taking care of the k9 at home.

                        2. take home car

                        3. use of the k9 (when, how, and authorization)

                        4. training...specify approximate number of hours to train per month. the more the better.

                        5. what happens when k9 retires(handler purchases for $1. The
                        6. care for k9 (vet, when handler goes on vacation, food purchase, and equipment purchase).

                        7. Where to get and store training aid( narcotic or bomb ).


                        These are just some things to consider. I strongly suggest getting several different policies and combining the good points to make your own policy.

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                        • #13
                          Thanks . I head today that as of the first the budget will be in and we can begin the process. If anyone has som SOP's they can share send me a PM and I can get you our fax or mailing address. I appreciate the help.
                          Go ahead and run, we like that!

                          Comment

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