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Today my son and I joined other members of the HOPE group to see a police dog demonstration. We got to meet Jack and his Handler Jackie. She is the smallest dog handler and has the largest dog in this area. She talked with us about the work that Jack does with her, his training, his likes and dislikes and demonstrated some of his skills.
Jack spends most of his time during general duties – going on patrol, clearing houses, looking for people, and other such normal activities for a police dog. He has also been trained in drugs and one other thing… bombs I think. My memory isn’t completely clear.
Came from Czechoslovakia when one year old $10,000. They work with European breeders because they need the pedigree of solid working dogs with good noses.
His handler did all the training with him. Jack works for his toy (a ball with a rope on it). His ball is his “good job” marker. They are trained using positive reinforcement only. She trained Jack in London and returns there twice a month to maintain training.
Carries a gun, pepper spray and a tazer. Tazers come with an inbuilt confetti that is marked with the number of the tazer. So forensics can always tell which tazer was used.
The students (and some of the moms) asked good questions that ranged from size of Jack (75-90 lbs), to ammunition needed (carry two clips with 14 bullets), to items they need to carry. The fun of trying to keep with a dog who can clear a 10 foot fence. Jack is currently the largest dog in the London, St. Thomas, St. Mary’s and Stratford area. He is a black German Shepherd.
He has had 6 apprehensions in his life. An apprehension is when a dog bites a suspect to hold them. They are trained to bite and hold rather than to bite and reposition. This training minimizes damage to the suspect.
She helped us understand why a police dog can clear a house quicker than a person can. Having a powerful nose lets them know if a person is hiding in a room even if a door is shut and locked. Means the officer doesn’t have to wait for a key to gain entrance nor do they have to search every cubby, closet or even the ceiling.
His handler was pleased to show us some of Jack’s skills. He SO loves his ball and watched it eagerly be tossed away and did everything he was supposed to before he finally was able to keep it. He ran through his exercise twice showing off different skills I only caught the first part on camera.
His handler ended up being called back to duty, but before she headed off, we were shown a secret from the police car. She has a button on her suit that can remotely open the back door of the vehicle. Jack is trained to burst out in full protection mode. Unfortunately Jack got the protection sleeve off his handler before I got the camera out and snapping a pic.
We learned that Jack lives with his person 24/7. At night he has an outdoor kennel that keeps him comfortable. The police vehicle is equipped with Jack in mind, with a temperature controlled environment and everything.
It was a great demonstration and I’m glad we went.