Second annual Indiana Police K9 Practical held in North Liberty - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Second annual Indiana Police K9 Practical held in North Liberty

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K9 units went through training scenarios in North Liberty K9 units went through training scenarios in North Liberty
There were dogs all over North Liberty Elementary School, Saturday morning. Canine handlers and their dogs gathered there for the second annual Indiana Police K9 Practical. There were police agencies from all throughout the state that had their K9 units go through nine training scenarios.

"Training to me, you can't get enough of it," Town Marshal for the North Liberty Police Department, Mike Sawdon said.

He says this kind of training for the dogs is a little bit different than what is usually done. "What the dogs are going through today, for a normal training day, they're getting a lot thrown at them," Sawdon said. He is a former handler himself and says watching the training made him miss being a part of a K9 team.

Mick Dockery is a Senior Trooper and canine trainer for the Indiana State Police. He has been a handler for nine years and worked as a trainer for two. He says that it is important that the training scenarios are as realistic as possible. "We're training these dogs for success. We have an old saying that you can't expect your dog to perform at a level he hasn't trained to," Dockery said.

There were police agencies from all throughout the state that joined in on the event. Some of the places represented included Nappanee, Warsaw, Elkhart, South Bend, Mishawaka and New Carlisle. "I think it's important that you get different agencies involved. There's a thousand different ways to train a dog,” Dockery said. “Handlers from my department, it gives them an opportunity to maybe train with a different trainer and see something they haven't seen before that may progress their dog in training."

Master Trooper Brad Shultz of the Indiana State police has also been a trainer for seven years. He says part of the success he has in the training scenarios and actual calls comes from the bond he has developed with his dog. "[A] bond that can't be broken. That dog is for you, willing to lay his life down for you. You can't ask for a better partner than the dog," Shultz said.

Dockery did want to remind people that these dogs are not pets so a person should never walk up to a police dog and pet it. It is important that you make sure you have permission from the handler so there are not any accidents that occur.

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