Last evening as we returned from dinner in downtown Coldwater, the driveway to VJ’s property was lined with police cars; K9 units from various cities in the area including Coldwater, Sydney, Mercer County, etc, etc. About seven officers and seven gorgeous German Shepherds were exercising in VJ’s front property area.
They were using the property to acclimate these dogs to water and VJ’s pond is the perfect location to run the dogs into the water and have them chomp down on an arm!
The German Shepherds ranged from ages of 2 years to Duke, the grandpa at 7 years old. They are purchased directly from Germany or Czech. where some training has taken place. They are then taken to the Police Training Academy where more training is done and they meet their officer who will train further with the dogs.
These dogs go home with the Officers and are part of their everyday lives. Their wives sign on to this also since they need to be able to handle the dogs when their husbands are out of town on training so it is definitely a family deal.
The transition for the dogs from arrival to what we saw today isn’t necessarily an easy one. They are trained in the language of their country, German or Czech so the trainers need to learn the commands in the language the dogs understand. Some have already bonded to the original trainer and need to bond with their new one.
They arrive confused not only from the trip over but the changes in trainers and new place. Many arrive very thin. In Germany it is a business and they are fed minimally, trained and then shipped out. However, the dogs can be upwards of $20K apiece so they are in excellent health.
Running & sitting on command
Asked why do they buy from Germany as opposed to US kennels and the answer is that the requirements in Germany are more stringent than in the US. If a dog is born without a canine, it won’t be bred. Their lines are purer and so is the price.
Sitting down on command in mid-run
The trainers have had their experiences as well. Several mentioned their couches and chairs being shredded to pieces the first time they left the dog alone or that the dog ate the interior of the police cruiser.
Since the towns are small, the departments don’t necessarily warrant a full-time K9 unit such as Dayton or Columbus or larger towns, so these officers serve as patrolmen and the dogs travel in the cars with them. It makes a great deterrent when the officer is confronted with a situation and the perpetrator hears the aaarph from the car. Takes the confrontation to a whole new level!
The dogs are trained to protect their trainers. Therefore, when there is a situation of a pat down or a take down, it is left to the K9 officer to perform the task. If it goes south, their dog will attack and protect. However the dog may not attack and protect another officer they do not know.
Needless to say, these officers are great dog lovers. Duke will probably retire in another year and his trainer will keep him. It will be second dog he has kept after retirement. The officers have the option of buying their dog for $1 after it has retired and very few, if any, don’t keep their dogs.
It was a wonderful evening as well as enlightening. Just another way VJ uses his property for the benefit of his community he has grown up in.