Thursday, September 10, 2009
The Sheriff's Dog Days of Summer.
see more dog and puppy pictures
I saw this and just had to try and get it on the blog for my item today. Finally found the articles I had carefully put away... (Does anyone else carefully put something away, then can't remember where said carefully put away place IS? Hmmph.)
Anyway, it has been a month of notoriety for the Sheriff's Office, in a good, tongue-wagging way. (Literally.) First article was from the local Humane Society newsletter. I usually wander through it, oh, that's nice, glad that puppy found a home, etc., then go back to what I am doing until I get back to it at a later time.
This month's issue has "From Shelter Dog to K9 Officer". It perked up my attention. Were they talking about Zip? The drug dog for our county? I read further. YES!
He is both a drug dog, and an ambassador to the schools. (I don't know if that is Zip's actual title, but his human partner, Deputy Amo, is the School Resource Officer.) Zip was a shelter dog, who went through training, and became a 'correction dog'. He actually retired, he was working at the jail, but jumping and crouching constantly caught up with him. He was un-retired to help with drug detection, where he would still get to use his his skills, but not have to be so intense with jumping, crouching, and so on. Having met Zip, I know he loves his job.
During our Citizen's Academy, Deputy Amo had hidden some drugs in little cans in the room for Zip to find. Zip had just had a growth removed from his nose, and Deputy Amo was concerned Zip might not be as intense as he usually was. Noooo worries. Like lightning, he found the first hidden can. The funny thing was, he sniffed in a circle for a bit, then found it again. I couldn't help but chuckle, Deputy Amo then said, "That's already ours, go find some more!" And, well, Zip did! After he went around and found the stuff, Zip took a victory lap around the classroom, and Deputy Amo then gave him a toy, giving him a loud, "Good Boy, good job!" Man, you could hardly see that dog's tail, it was moving so fast!
Deputy Amo also said that Zip's one downfall is tennis balls. While he was going through the training session, one of the things set up was a truck bed that Zip had to investigate. There were no less than 40 tennis balls in the bed. Zip passed, but I am given to understand he made sure every one of the tennis balls were licked before he went on to his job...
Deputy Amo also explained to me that Zip sits to show he's found something. I had asked why Zip didn't bark or scratch. The explanation was that you want the dog to do something "unnatural" so that it's more obvious. I guess some are trained to scratch, but that can lead to damage in cars and such, so they have gone to sitting as a signal.
I have in turn used this to train MY dog, instead of ramming me with his head or nose, he has to sit at my left side if he wants attention. This is a really good method, with the exception that Rudee wants to come to a skidding stop from a full run, and can't understand why I keep falling over... Eeep. But we are both happier for it, and I say it's because of Deputy Amo.
The other article, from the local paper, mentioned "Sheriff's Office gets funding for new patrol dog". The whole scenario starts out a little on the sad side, one of the patrol dogs, Jari, was ill, and taken to the vet. He had a twisted gut, and had to have surgery. He died on the table of a heart attack, on July 4. So our county was short one patrol dog.
I was wondering if our county commissioners would finance this, we are not exactly a flush county, funds wise. But they must have seen fit to do so, as $12,000 was put aside for a new dog. The money is for extensive training, and shipping. The dog will be a Belgian Malinois. This is a hyper working dog. That is to say, it makes a Blue Heeler look like a slacker. When I met Jari, he would literally vibrate. I thought he was cold, but they are just ALWAYS ready to go. (I think the photo above is of one, however I can't swear to it.) They look a lot like a German Shepards, but I guess the Belgians are being bred more for what Law Enforcement needs, and Shepards more for looks. Too bad. But, that's just me.
Jari was a really nice dog, I was just a bit shy around him, as he had a habit of 'mouthing' people, and I work hard to train that OUT of my dog. Well, he's a patrol dog, I wasn't about to thump him on the nose to correct what need not be corrected! So I pet him on his back when I met him. I am hoping to meet the new dog, and see what he's like. The funny thing, most of the time, just having a patrol dog around is enough. People don't want to be bitten (big surprise), and so when the Deputy says that he will let the dog loose, they give up a lot of times. But they will... uh...
Take a bite out of crime, if necessary...
(Note, information taken from The Pet Press Summer 2009, Jeff Otto author, and Albany Democrat-Herald, Thursday, August 20, 2009, Alex Paul, author.)