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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-14-2008, 10:55 PM Thread Starter
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dog experience

im a hischool student and i want to be in the k9 unit. unfortunatly i do not even own a dog. i work at pet store with many dogs. is this enough experience to be a K9 handler?

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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-14-2008, 10:59 PM
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Re: dog experience

are you meaning for police, your best bet is to look at clubs in your area and start working with them, alot of people usually bring more than one dog and could use help I am sure which would give you some experience

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-14-2008, 11:00 PM
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Re: dog experience

its a start. have you thought about volunteering at a local shelter or rescue feeding, walking and taking care of dogs?

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-14-2008, 11:27 PM
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Re: dog experience

My understanding is that people don't start out in the law enforcement units as K9 handlers. They join up and train as police officers, and after having proven themselves as regular police officers with real-life work experience, they may volunteer to be assigned to a K9 unit, where they receive additional dog handling training.

If you would like to learn more about police dog training, you may want to look into learning about Schutzhund: it will give you some begining basics about understanding drives, tracking, training obedience, and understanding defensive and aggressive behaviour in high-drive dogs.

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-15-2008, 12:32 AM
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Re: dog experience

We had an explorer unit at the sheriff's office (some depts have this), and some of the students participated in events, and helped out (within the office).

The students also got to ride with a K-9 officer as well, so that might be a start (find out what it's all about, and if it's something you like).

Good luck.

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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-15-2008, 07:41 AM
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Re: dog experience

Most K9 units are made up of officers that have completed the academy and worked the street for a minimum of 2 to 5 years. In order to become a K9 handler, the officer must first know the job of being a police officer. K9 is an additional duty just like most any other special assignment. Once a person volunteers for K9, then past canine experience may be reviewed.

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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-15-2008, 08:01 AM
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Re: dog experience

Quote:
Originally Posted By: Jasper007We had an explorer unit at the sheriff's office (some depts have this), and some of the students participated in events, and helped out (within the office).

The students also got to ride with a K-9 officer as well, so that might be a start (find out what it's all about, and if it's something you like).

Good luck.
yes, they have that program here in los angeles. the kids even get blue uniforms...

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-15-2008, 04:24 PM Thread Starter
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Re: dog experience

what do you mean by joining a club? what kind of club? and thanks for the suggestion on schutzhund

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-16-2008, 11:12 PM
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Re: dog experience

I know with Toronto Police you do not start out in any other area than front line officers, and then you work your way to where you might want to go after several years (which there is no guarantee). There is a police officer who moved here from England that was a K9 officer there for many years, and he can't seem to get onto the Toronto Police K9 unit, and in fact seems some of the guys in the K9 Unit have had no experience with dogs before getting on the unit, they train with their dogs, they learn together.

(all my knowledge come through my husband who is a Toronto Police Officer - who actually talks to me... lol)

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-17-2008, 03:19 PM
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Re: dog experience

Here, you are looking at AT LEAST 5 years (probably longer) on the street before you can even apply to be K9. I have seen other departments where they couldn't find applicants and a junior member was the only option, but its not likely here. Most of our K9 officers have 15 years policing experience at least and most had very little dog experience before going in the section.

DH just recently graduated from the K9 training course with Hary. He has eight years on the road and spent more than two years volunteering with the K9 section and he still wasn't the first pick. They chose two other officers with more seniority (and no experience) over him. One dropped out 8 weeks into the training, one after four days.

My goal is to become a K9 officer as well. I had the same problem as you.
First, I went to the academy. Then, when I got hired, I showed and interest in the section (I was with two different forces). I go out on training days to do quarry work or just watch. I have participated in several training courses for new dogs. I am really lucky because the Sgt in charge of training is more than happy to share knowledge if you show interest.
When I got my house, I got my first puppy, Chatham. I spent at lot of time learning how to train, reading books on training, etc. I learned alot just from him.j
I also ended up with DH (before he was K9)which is how I ended up falling in love with GSDs (his GSD, Kaper, was a washout from a training course). Because of Kape, I found this site, which had been a source of alot of information.
I have read all of the books the PSD trainer uses, plus I continue to try to read pretty much anything on dog training, behavior, etc.

I've got at least two more years before I can apply to the section, since they don't count my year away. I plan on spending it learning as much as I can. Even then, I may still have to wait longer because they base selection more on seniority here then experience.

If I could, I would join a club, however, there are none in the area.

K9 is probably one of the hardest jobs to get to here. After the Polygraph course, it is the longest course offered. Our trainer here is demanding but IMO its so worth it. DH had days where he was really stressed but he did it. He is out on the street now and they have already had their first successful track.

Good luck. You found a great place to ask questions, take advantage of it.
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