Dogs are trained to work as K-9s through a combination of specialized training programs and individualized training with their handlers. Here is an overview of the typical training process:
Overall, K-9 training is a highly specialized process that requires a significant investment of time, resources, and expertise. However, the end result is a highly skilled and reliable partner for law enforcement, search and rescue, and other specialized roles. Help make sure these valuable dogs come home safe every day with a donation today.
There are several breeds of dogs that are typically used as K-9s, each chosen for their unique characteristics and abilities. Here are some of the most common breeds and why they are chosen:
Overall, these breeds are chosen for their specific traits and abilities that make them well-suited for K-9 work, such as intelligence, trainability, athleticism, and drive. However, it's important to note that not all dogs of these breeds will be suitable for K-9 work, and each dog must be evaluated individually for their temperament and abilities.
Regardless of the breed, Brady wants to make sure that every K-9 comes home safe at the end of the day. You can help support him with a donation today. And don’t forget check out our shop!
There are several traits that make a dog a good K-9, depending on the specific role they will be playing. Here are some of the most important traits:
Overall, a good K-9 is one that possesses a combination of these traits and is well-trained, well-socialized, and well-cared for by their handler.
Here at Brady’s K9 Fund, we see a lot of pictures of you and your canine companions, and well, some of them are better than others. Here are some useful tips for taking better pictures of your dog.
1. Get down to their level: Taking pictures at the dog's eye level can help create a more intimate and personal connection with the subject.
2. Use natural light: Taking pictures in natural light, such as outdoors during the day, can help create a more pleasing and natural-looking image. Pictures of black dogs at night are especially difficult.
3. Use a fast shutter speed: To freeze the action and avoid blur, use a fast shutter speed of at least 1/1000th of a second.
4. Use a wide aperture: This can help create a shallow depth of field, which can help blur the background and make the dog stand out. If you’re using your mobile phone, Portrait mode also works on dogs!
5. Experiment with different angles: Try taking pictures from different angles to see what looks best. For example, you can try taking a close-up of their face or a full-body shot.
6. Try different background: A simple background can make the dog stand out, while a busy background can be distracting.
7. Timing is everything: Capture the dog's personality and expressions by taking pictures at the right moment, when they are relaxed and comfortable.
8. Get close: If possible, get as close as you can to the dog to capture more details and create a more personal and engaging image.
9. Use a good lens: A good lens can make a big difference in the quality of your pictures, and can help you capture the details and expressions of your dog.
10. Have Fun: Dogs can sense if you're having fun and will be more relaxed and responsive to your camera.
If you’re a fan of police K-9s, you’ve probably seen pictures or videos of a person dressed in an oversized puffy suit, looking like the Michelin Man, with a ferocious working dog in hot pursuit. This person sporting the well-padded suit is what is known as a decoy, and he has a very important job when it comes to building a confident, successful police dog. In this post we’ll discuss the role of the bite suit, the function of a decoy, and why good decoys are paramount in K-9 training.
The Bite Suit
A bite suit is exactly that: a super-durable fiber getup that a police dog can sink his teeth into without causing serious harm to the individual wearing it. The bite suit provides protection and mobility to the decoy, and the K-9 can build his confidence and skill in suspect apprehension.
The Role Of A Decoy
A well-trained decoy teaches a police dog how to increase and perfect his prey drive. Prey drive is the dog’s natural instinct to chase and capture an object of desire. If we’re talking about a wild dog, prey drive is important for the dog to be able to successfully hunt a fleeing animal for its next meal.
For a police dog, prey drive is key for apprehending a bad guy. The decoy also instills in a K-9 combat drive, which is also known as fighting instinct. In an emergency situation, a working dog must be able to capture and sometimes wrestle a suspect, but also hold the bad guy in place until a police officer can make the arrest. This requires the 1-2 punch of prey and combat drive.
Good Decoys Matter
In the past, some police departments would allow rookies or other curious cops to get in a bite suit and help the K-9 Unit with its training, no experience necessary. But a decoy with zero training only provides a police dog subpar practice, and subpar practice makes for an ineffective K-9.
A strong decoy gives a K-9 important feedback. Everytime the dog chases and catches the decoy, the decoy has the expertise to offer a reward for a perfect performance or no reward for a suboptimal pursuit. The decoy has the skills to hone the K-9’s confrontational bites, increasing the dog’s bite strength and tenacity, ultimately making the police dog more potent in the real world.
Remember: Police dogs in the line of duty have dangerous jobs. If you would like to help protect hard-working police K-9s by providing them with LOF StreetFighter K-9 ballistic vests, please go to our donations page or click on the button below. No contribution is too small.
A police K-9 is in hot pursuit of an armed and dangerous suspect.
Like an Olympic sprinter, the police dog is quickly gaining ground on the bad guy. The suspect is no match for the highly trained and svelte Belgian malinois that cuts through the night like a missile.
The dog is now 15 feet from the bad guy. The suspect suddenly whirls around, lifts his right arm, and fires two shots, one which strikes the police dog.
If the K-9 wasn't sporting body armor, this might be the end of his story. But fortunately for this police K-9, he was well equipped. While he certainly felt the force from the 9mm round, the shot was nonlethal thanks to the bulletproof vest he was wearing.
So how exactly do ballistic vests work?
Simply put, bulletproof vests are designed to diffuse a bullet’s energy and deform it on impact, which slows the round and distributes the energy throughout the whole vest. This minimizes blunt force trauma to the gunshot victim.
Soft body armor, such as Brady’s K-9 Fund vests created by LOF Defence, are designed using interlaced strands of Kevlar, a superstrong, synthetic fiber that is 5 times stronger than steel. The net-like design of Kevlar helps to catch a bullet on impact, similar to how a tennis net stops a tennis ball. Ultimately, the bullet gets robbed of the energy that makes it so deadly. Because of the incredible technology of Kevlar, a police dog that gets shot while wearing a ballistic vest will likely only suffer a bruise rather than a bullet hole that could prove fatal.
Remember: police dogs routinely face dangerous assignments and circumstances. If you would like to help protect police dogs in the line of duty by providing them with top-of-the-line LOF StreetFighter K-9 ballistic vests, please go to our donations page or click on the button below. No contribution is too small.
K-9 officers have pretty exciting and rewarding jobs. In partnership with their police dogs, K-9 officers are dispatched to some of the most intense and intricate service calls. Using their training and skills, these human-dog teams hunt down dangerous criminals, seek out hidden narcotics, find missing persons, and locate explosives on deadline. But how does a person become a K-9 officer? How long does it take to become a K-9 officer? Can anyone pursue this profession? In this article, we tackle what it takes to become a K-9 officer.
Every state has its own requirements and procedures for becoming a K-9 officer. However, the main prerequisite for becoming a K-9 officer is first becoming a police officer. To become a police officer, most candidates need a high school diploma. It’s becoming more common for departments to require at least 2 years of college, too. In the preliminary phase, police applicants will take written, oral, and physical agility exams. Successful candidates will then proceed to an intense background check, psychology assessment, polygraph exam and medical evaluation. The candidates who pass all phases of the hiring process will attend a police academy, followed by rigorous field training. Once a police officer has few years on the job, most departments will deem the officer eligible to apply for a specialized assignment, such as the K-9 Unit.
Just like each state has its own requirements for becoming a police officer, each state has its own stipulations for working with a K-9. Some states require K-9 officers to complete a training program with their canine partners, while other states require professional certification. The United States Police Canine Association is one organization that offers certifications. Whether you need to take a training course or achieve a certification, you can expect to spend a lot of time training with your dog to become a master at the craft of dog handling.
Many police departments across the nation have their own K-9 Units. Some K-9 Units are very small, with only one dog. Other police departments, particularly big city departments, have the funds for multiple dogs. For example, the New York City Police Department (NYPD) has about 34 working dogs, each with varying responsibilities such as criminal apprehension and patrol, narcotic detection, and explosive detection. Other than city and town police departments, K-9 officers can work for a variety of law enforcement agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
Remember, working dogs routinely face dangerous assignments. They put their lives on the line for the greater good of the community. So, if you would like to help protect police dogs in the line of duty, please go to our donations page or click on the button below. Every donation goes toward providing K-9s with a LOF StreetFighter K-9 vest. No contribution is too small.
There is a ton to know when it comes to police K9s. What do police dogs do? What breeds make the best police dogs? How are K9s trained? Do they get paid for their service? In this ultimate guide to law enforcement dogs, we answer all your questions and more. So, let’s get to it.
Police dogs are highly trained service dogs that assist law enforcement personnel in a variety of specialized tasks. They undergo a lengthy training process in order to become experts at their jobs and ensure they can assist their human partners at an elite level.
Police dogs can either be single-purpose, meaning the K9 has one specific job, or dual purpose, meaning the K9 is trained for multiple tasks. The most common K9 jobs are suspect tracking and apprehension, narcotic and explosive detection, and search and rescue (SAR).
K9 police dogs are phenomenal at sniffing out bad guys, thanks to their highly tuned noses. When dangerous criminals are on the run, police dogs are often used to help law enforcement officers find the suspects. A K9 may follow a scent trail that covers miles of land before ultimately locating the target. Police dogs are trained to apprehend bad guys with their mouths. A police K-9 will bite a suspect’s arm or leg, holding him in place until the police officer can physically make the arrest.
Police dogs are often tasked with sniffing out narcotics and bombs. Narcotic detection dogs (NDD) are police K-9s trained to detect 5 basic narcotic odors: marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and MDMA. Explosive detection dogs (EDD) are trained to sniff out a variety of explosive materials. Both of these specialized K-9s are commonly utilized in searching buildings, security checkpoints, vehicles, pedestrians and packages.
SAR dogs are trained to locate and help their handlers rescue missing persons. SAR dogs can be utilized after natural disasters strike—such as earthquakes, avalanches, or tornados—to find both alive and deceased victims. SAR dogs can also be utilized in non-disaster situations, such as if a child goes missing or a hiker gets lost in the wilderness. Thanks to the athleticism of these working dogs and their incredible olfactory systems, SAR K-9s can cover large areas of land in a relatively short duration—a helpful tool when searching for missing.
Not every human is meant to be a police officer, and similarly, not every dog is meant to be a K9 police dog. Police dogs are specifically bred to perform at high levels and excel at difficult tasks. Here are the most common dog breeds that excel at law enforcement work.
By nature, German Shepherd Dogs are smart, courageous and confident. German Shepherds have a penchant for guardianship, with a strong willingness to put their lives on the line for their human counterparts. To top it off, these super-smart dogs have incredible strength, speed and agility, making German Shepherds one of the most popular breeds for police work. German Shepherds are commonly used for patrol purposes, but can also double as a scent detection dog.
Belgian Malinois are extremely hardworking and versatile dogs, known for building an unbreakable bond with their handlers. To the eye, these dogs have an incredible elegance to their solid musculature. Like German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois are herding breeds. For hundreds of years, Belgian Malinois were bred to help their owners herding livestock. Thus, it’s fitting that Belgian Malinois are often utilized for apprehending criminals.
The Dutch Shepherd originated in the Netherlands, where it diverged from its cousins—German Shepherd and Belgian Malinois—in the 1800s. Alert and intelligent, Dutch Shepherds are competent police dogs that are used for a variety of challenging tasks, including tracking and apprehension, scent detection, and search and rescue.
Labrador Retrievers have an appearance that is less formidable than breeds like German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois. Notably, Labrador Retrievers have amicable faces and floppy ears—an appearance that lacks the intimidation factor needed for patrol work. Instead, Labrador Retrievers are used for their scent detection capabilities. Labrador Retrievers are hunters by breed, and thus finding explosives and illegal drugs is like playing a game for them. Labradors are also commonly used in search and rescue work.
There is a reason bloodhounds are dubbed “sleuth hounds.” In short, they are incredible at finding humans who are lost or hiding. With their powerful legs, bloodhounds have great endurance allowing them to track scent for miles over difficult terrain. Bloodhounds are very vocal breeds, a beneficial trait for search and rescue work. When bloodhounds find the target scent, they’ll let out barks and howls to alert the handler of their find.
Fact #1: Police departments have used K-9s for more than 100 years. Formal police training started around 1899 in Ghent, Belgium.
Fact #2: K-9s typically begin serious police training when they are 12-15 months old. At this age, dogs are mature enough to concentrate on a task for an extended period.
Fact #3: Some police dogs are fitted with titanium teeth. Their natural teeth may suffer damage throughout their careers and metal choppers ensure a durable bite.
Fact #4: It costs more than $20,000 to fully train a police K-9.
Fact #5: On average, a police dog’s career lasts 6-8 years.
Fact #6: Police dogs debuted in the United States in 1907 in New York City.
Fact #7: A trained German Shepherd police dog’s bite has a force of 1,500 pounds per square inch.
Fact #8: Most police dogs retire by the age of 10.
Fact #9: Many states have laws that protect police dogs from assault by the public, with penalties including jail time.
Fact #10: Not all police dogs are bred to be police dogs. Some K-9s are adopted from animal shelters and trained to greatness.
Police dogs generally do not receive paychecks. However, their basic expenses, like food and medical care, are covered by the department. The police dog’s handler may receive a stipend to cover additional costs.
Prior to getting paired with a handler, a police K-9 typically has 8 months to more than a year of training. The handler-K-9 team then trains for an additional 3-6 months. It’s worth noting that a police dog never really stops training. Even when the dog is in service, the K-9 should always be honing its skills.
Most retired police K-9s will spend the rest of their days with their handlers, enjoying a life of relaxation and leisure. If handlers cannot take care of retired K-9s, loving families will adopt the ex-police dogs.
Most police dogs get rewarded with a tennis ball, Kong, or other chew toy upon a job well done. For example, if a K-9 is deployed to search a vehicle for narcotics and finds them, the handler will often toss a tennis ball to the police dog upon successfully completing the search.
Police dogs read human body language in order to know who they are to bite. Police K-9s understand which person is a threat by looking for an individual displaying aggressiveness. Furthermore, the K-9 handler makes sure the police dog is fully zoned-in on the correct target prior to unleashing the dog.
Many police K-9s wear ballistic, stab-proof vests to prevent them from being injured in the line of duty. Brady’s K-9 Fund is a non-profit organization that donates state-of-the-art LOF Defence Streetfigher body armor to police dogs in need. We believe K-9s should never hit the streets without a quality level of protection.
Most police dogs learn commands in a foreign language, like Dutch or German. K-9s are trained in a language other than English for a couple reasons. First, many of these dogs are bred and raised abroad in countries like Germany or the Netherlands where English isn’t the primary language. Second, most criminals don’t know how to give police dogs commands in foreign languages. By training the dog in a different language, it adds a layer of security for both the K-9 and handler.
If you would like to help protect police dogs in the line of duty, please go to our donations page or click on the button below. Every donation goes toward providing K-9s with a LOF StreetFighter K-9 vest. No contribution is too small.
At Brady’s K9 Fund, we want the greatest protection for our K-9s. Police K-9s are hardworking, loyal and impeccably trained dogs that deserve the best tactical armor on the market. That’s why Brady’s K9 Fund partnered with the LOF Defence Systems, a leader in body armor and creator of the state-of-the-art StreetFigher K-9 vest.
LOF Defence’s K9 StreetFighter vest is equipped with many features to ensure our sponsored working dogs are safeguarded and comfortable when patrolling the streets. Here’s an in depth look at the LOF K9 StreetFighter vest, the only body armor we trust to protect our working dogs.
The Canada-based LOF Defence specializes in state-of-the-art body armor. Not only does LOF Defence strive to go beyond survivability with its vests, the tactical company aims to increase comfort, fit, and structural performance too. This allows law enforcement, K-9 units, military and special forces to be more effective and perform with improved confidence.
For K-9 Units, the LOF Defence StreetFighter vest is king. In fact, it’s the favorite choice of law enforcement K-9 handlers across the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Asia. While the StreetFighter vest uses a minimalist design to keep the dog agile and driven, the vest doesn’t minimize protection over the dog’s major vital organs. It’s the perfect balance of functionality and survivability.
The StreetFighter K9 vest was designed using feedback from police and military personnel who previously lost their K9s in hostile situations. Using scenario-based feedback, LOF Defence created a ballistic vest equipped with innovative features and benefits. Here’s a look at what the vest provides our police dogs.
Many K-9 vests on the market are outdated and impractical. They are heavy and bulky. K-9s quickly tire and overheat, and K-9s lose their range of motion, agility and drive. Oftentimes, even if a police dog is issued one of these old-style vests, the handler won’t use it because the K-9 performs so poorly while wearing it. Thus, the police dog is left vulnerable and unprotected.
Brady’s K-9 Fund only donates LOF StreetFighter K-9 vests because we know this vest provides the best protection for police dogs. Because it is lightweight, ergonomic and packed with plenty of features that allow police dogs to perform at their best, we know handlers will always dress their K-9s with this vest before hitting the streets.
If you would like to make a difference in a police K-9’s life, please go to our donations page or click on the button below. Every donation goes toward providing police dogs with a LOF StreetFighter K-9 vest. No contribution is too small.
Some police K-9s need ballistic, stab-proof vests. Other working dogs need medical expenses taken care of after they retire. And some civilian dogs just need a new forever home. Whatever the case, there are a variety of specialized non-profit organizations that are eager to assist canines in need.
Whether you’re looking to donate or just wanting to learn more about how you can support a non-profit, here is our roundup of the 10 best organizations that help dogs.
The mission of Brady’s K9 Fund is to supply state-of-the-art ballistic and stab-proof vests to police dogs in need. While the jobs of K9s are important, not every police department has the funds to vest their dogs. Brady’s K9 Fund donates LOF Defence Streetfigher vests—a customized body armor that protects the dog’s vital organs, helps prevent heat exhaustion, and allows the K-9 to maintain mobility and work drive.
Fun Fact: The CEO and founder of this non-profit is a supercool 11-year-old fifth grader.
Since 1998, the National Police Dog Foundation has helped underfunded police departments purchase K9s as well as financially assist with the high-quality training of a department’s police dogs. As police K9s suffer a lot of wear and tear while working, this organization also offers assistance with the veterinary bills of active and retired police K9s. In fact, they have a network of veterinarians that include some of the nation’s best specialists in canine care.
Fun Fact: Did you know it can cost up to $25,000 to purchase and train a police dog?
From reuniting military working dogs with their handlers to assisting retired K9s with issues stemming from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the Mission K9 Rescue is all about serving retired working dogs. Even working dogs that don’t have designated handlers are eligible to receive care from this non-profit organization. In fact, Mission K9 Rescue will prepare a working dog for adoption and find it a perfect forever home.
Fun Fact: Mission K9 Rescue is the first and largest working dog adoption organization in the U.S.
Founded by veteran Mike Ritland, the Warrior Dog Foundation aims to transition working dogs from operational active duty to retirement in the civilian world. Many military working dogs and police K-9s are trained to be aggressive and have a bite history—not qualities an average person is looking for in a dog. As such, this non-profit provides mental and physical rehabilitation and rehoming services to help these elite dogs transition into home life and prevent them from being euthanized.
Fun Fact: Founder Mike Ritland served the United States as a Navy SEAL for 12 years.
Some dog breeds are misunderstood. They have off-the-wall energy, have a penchant for biting, and need a more intense purpose in life than solely being a human’s companion. Throw Away Dogs Project rescues breeds like German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois and trains them to become police K-9s. Once the dogs have received training, this non-profit organization donates them to underfunded police departments in need of K-9s. It’s a win-win for the dog and the department
Fun Fact: Prior to starting the organization, founder Carol Skaziak worked for Northwest Airlines. Her final year with the airline was spent flying with the NFL team, the Philadelphia Eagles, as Northwest was the official airline for the team at the time.
Military working dogs and police K-9s are heroes, just like their human counterparts. It’s the vision of Project K-9 Hero to ensure that retired working dogs are rewarded for their service with exceptional healthcare and the peaceful lifestyle they deserve. K-9s accepted into the project will have up to $3,000 a year in general medical expenses and all food costs covered. The organization also has an emergency fund to cover any unexpected surgeries that exceed each working dog’s annual monetary allotment.
Fun Fact: Founder Jason Johnson actively works with the United States Congress to pass the K-9 Hero Act, HR #5081, which would enable the Department of Justice to assist with the medical expenses of retired government working dogs
According to the Retired Police Canine Foundation, approximately 10,000 police K-9s retire each year. Once a K-9 retires, the police department is no longer obligated to take care of the dog. Unfortunately, K-9s don’t have a pension like their human partners. The Retired Police Canine Foundation aims to lessen the financial blow associated with taking care of retired K-9s, especially when it comes to their hefty veterinary bills.
Fun Fact: Prior to launching Retired Police Canine Foundation, founder Tina Geraci took care of New York Police Department’s K-9 Chief, one of the first K-9 Units post-9/11 to patrol NYC’s subway system.
Not all dogs who are bred to become military working dogs make the cut. Many of them are deemed unsuitable for government work after undergoing some training, and are eventually adopted out to the public. The Mal-FFunctions Organization targets Belgian Malinois that are bred specifically for the Department of Defense’s working dog program but wash out of training. The organization assists with rehoming these dogs, making sure they find a loving forever home.
Fun Fact: The name of the non-profit—Mal-FFunctions—pays homage to the Department of Defense’s method for identifying the litters of puppies bred for its military working dog program. Each litter is identified by using a letter of the alphabet in pairs, i.e. AA, BB, etc. Each puppy in the litter is named a corresponding name starting with the double letter, i.e. AAndrew, AAlexander, AAustin.
Operating out of Rochester, New York, BrightStar German Shepherd Rescue is an organization dedicated to saving the lives of German Shepherds. All BrightStar dogs live with foster families in order to become better socialized, trained, and learn to live with loving families before being placed in forever homes. Potential adopters are screened extensively to ensure the German Shepherds will receive the best quality of life and be sure the new owners will remain committed to the dogs.
Fun Fact: According to the American Kennel Club, the German Shepherd is the second-most popular breed in the United States.
Belgian Malinois make for some of the best police K-9s due to their incredible energy and drive. But these same qualities make it difficult for this breed to thrive in an average dog owner’s home. As such, many Belgian Malinois who live civilian lives are given up by their owners. Operating out of the West Coast, Woof Project specializes in rescuing Belgian Malinois and matching them with forever families.
Fun Fact: Originally bred in Belgium as herding sheep dogs, Belgian Malinois are now favored for narcotics and explosive detection, suspect tracking and apprehension, search and rescue, and military operations.
If you would like to make a difference in a police K-9’s life, please go to our donations page or click on the button below. We’re grateful for every donation, and no contribution is too small.