Humans and dogs such as German shepherds share a special bond because of their dominant personality and good looks. It’s no wonder German shepherds have been used by police and military forces for many years. In this post, we will look at some interesting facts on German shepherd police dogs, how they help the police and how to train them effectively.
German Shepherd Police Dogs or K-9’s Facts
Physically, German shepherd police dogs sometimes called German shepherd K-9’s are well-known for their large, agile, and muscular body. They also have high intelligence levels which make them highly trainable. They easily remember words of importance, range of commands, and many tasks taught by their trainer because they have a fast and retentive memory. Since they can assimilate and retain training easily, their caretakers should avoid teaching them bad habits. Aside from extraordinary physical and intellectual characteristics, they also have outstanding personality traits. They are loyal, courageous, confident, and most of all, they are willing to put their lives on the line.
What Type of German Shepherds Do the Police Use
Among the types of the German shepherd breeds, the working lines especially the DDR/East German working lines and Czech working lines are typically bred for military and police purposes because they have exceptional endurance when faced with demanding training compared to the show lines.
German Shepherd Police Dog Price
Since the cost of breeding and raising German shepherd puppies is not cheap, the price is expensive. The price of a puppy or adult dog varies widely depending on the breeder, location, and bloodlines. The German shepherd police dog’s price is less than $1000 for an average German shepherd police puppy while German shepherd puppies with health and performance clearances and a clear breeding record are more expensive. If you want to purchase a fully trained adult German shepherd police dog, prepare to spend at least $10,000 to $15,000. However, you could pay more for a quality-bred adult German shepherd police dog.
How Do German Shepherds Help the Police
You probably have watched movies showing German shepherds working with law enforcers. This situation also happens in real life. A trained police service dog can help law enforcers in a variety of ways. Their general responsibilities include protecting officers and finding, repressing or apprehending suspects or criminals. They can attack criminals who don’t surrender willingly and becomes aggressive. They’re widely used by the police because they can easily take down criminals.
In addition to general tasks, they are also involved in specialized assignments like tracking missing individuals, hidden explosives, illegal drugs or narcotics, and crime scene evidence. That’s why don’t be surprised when you see them at the airports sniffing for concealed narcotics or bombs. Because of their strong sense of smell and agility, they can even detect cadavers on land and water. They can also search and rescue humans in dangerous places. They won’t stop unless their handlers asked them to do so.
Some German shepherd police dogs searched survivors in the World Trade Center in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. One of the most notable German shepherds who participated in the rescue effort was Apollo. He worked 18 hours a day to search and rescue living victims and he’s happy to work for long periods.
How to Train a German Shepherd Like a Police Dog
Let’s say you’ve already purchased an elite breed of a German shepherd. The next step is to train the puppy to become a police dog. It’s advisable to go to a professional dog trainer for working dogs because police training is different from other types of dog training. Before you let your dog be trained by professionals, start by teaching your dog basic skills because professional dog trainers don’t just accept random dogs for training.
If you want to train a German shepherd like a police dog, it’s better if you start training your GSD during the first 16 – 20 weeks of your dog’s life because it is the most critical time to train him to instill positive behavior and prevent behavioral problems. However, they can still be trained whether they’re puppies or adults but don’t ever attempt to train your dog on your own for police training if unqualified.
Obedience training is the most important quality of a police dog so it is important to teach your dog to follow commands. You can start with simple commands such as sit, stay, down, run, jump, etc. Remember that obedience is something you should not force. Teaching obedience by force will result in mistrust. On the other hand, mental stimulation and positive reinforcement will motivate your puppy to follow your commands.
For the physical training, it’s not that difficult because German shepherds are naturally energetic dogs bursting with energy so they need to be physically active during the day. Due to their natural capabilities, they can easily follow a rigorous workout schedule. Physical training includes scaling, sprinting and jumping but make sure you allow moderate amounts of exercise only because they are prone to joint problems like elbow dysplasia and hip dysplasia. You will be investing a lot of time in training your puppy so it takes lots of patience and hard work especially in controlling your dog’s impulses. To avoid predatory aggression, build impulse control and socialize your pup with people and other animals.
One thing you could teach your dog is to track things because it is important in the police, military, and other K-9 training. It’s a good thing German shepherds are exceptional trackers because of their natural keen sense of smell. You can help your dog develop his tracking abilities by exposing him to the scent of a person or thing and encourage him to track that person or thing. As the dog progresses, the training also progresses.
Truly, German shepherds are one of a kind. They are extremely helpful not only as family pets but also as police dogs so treat and train them properly. In return, they’ll reward you with priceless loyalty.