I get a lot of flack when I talk to people about security dogs. Why? Because there are so many bad ones and as with everything they are the ones people see. So I thought I would give some insight into a day in the life, and some of the training that went on.
My boss was a visionary. He was former RCMP and he lived and breathed dogs, German Shepherds specifically. He is in part responsible for the training and overhaul of our private security system here. He literally wrote the book.
Years before it was mandated we had to go through training just to be guards. To be K9, we had to fight. Our dogs were trained and certified in protection. That was their primary function, to defend us and get us home every day. In the course of doing their jobs they learned to be patrol dogs. Understand that these dogs were in and out of buildings, parkades, schools and malls continuously. They had to deal with cleaning staff, people working late and movers on a daily basis. They had to be flawless in discerning threats and absolutely in control at all times. In addition some were trained to swing to crowd control, detection or tracking dependant on the dog and it's talents.
This city was particularly rough and K9 teams were sent to places where guards had been attacked or had issues with control. We generally worked as mobile units and our nights were at least 12 hours. We also provided back up for static guards.
In Canada guards are not armed, and when I first started we had no phones and no radios. My first patrol I was handed a pager and a roll of quarters for payphones. Our dogs were all we had, they had to be good at their jobs.
On any given day, at best, they helped oust homeless people and addicts, deterred thieves and dealt with JQP wanting to pet the puppy. That was a good day. We could be left outside in horrible weather to walk housing developments, we could be stationed at a gate, we could be walking abandoned construction sites. The dogs sometimes spent hours in the truck.
And we needed to retest on a monthly basis for both fitness and obedience to keep our spots. We often worked hand in hand with the city police. Although the goal was that dogs were assigned a handler, the nature of the business meant that they were often reassigned. In addition we needed spare dogs to cover illness, injury and emergency coverage. These dogs may work with a different handler every day, so they needed to be stable and a bit forgiving.
From 1991 to 2005, when I left his employ to work elsewhere, Sabi was the only dog not bred or owned by him to ever make the team. And she was the only dog to be trained for all disciplines.