Working Dogs of LE

Working DogsResearch Credit to Guest Topic Editor Checkitout14

Police Dogs:

Police dogs are trained to guard their handler and assist him in a variety of tasks such as finding, intimidating and holding suspects or investigating a crime scene. Some are specifically trained for detection work.

Police dogs are often referred to by the term K9, which is a homophone of the term canine, a word that generally refers to the dog and its relatives.

In many jurisdictions the intentional injury or killing of a police dog is a felony subjecting the perpetrator to harsher penalties than the statutes embodied in local animal cruelty laws. A growing number of forces outfit dogs with bulletproof vests (and some even go so far as to make the dogs’ sworn officers, with their own police badges and IDs. Furthermore, a police dog killed in the line of duty is often given a full police funeral.

Search and Rescue Dogs:

Search and Rescue dogs are used to locate missing people and criminals or to find living humans or cadavers after disasters. Search and rescue is divided into field work and disaster work. Field work is trailing, tracking, air scent and water search. Disaster work is for specifically trained disaster and avalanche dogs.

*Cadaver Dogs – react to a specific scent emitted by a dead person. They are able to detect very minute pieces of human remains (whether above ground or buried) and even blood drops. Dogs must be trained as trailing dogs and air-scenting dogs. Special chemicals are used to simulate the scent of decomposing human flesh in training Cadaver dogs. Unlike simulated narcotic smells, or other training scents, simulated cadaver smells are not available to anyone but a certified training facility. These dogs are used in conjunction with Canine Search and Rescue teams to locate both victims and survivors of disasters, natural and otherwise.

With the use of a cadaver dog, rescue crews can identify dead bodies in wreckage for future removal, and cadaver dogs can also be used by crime units to find areas where a cadaver might have been buried, stored, or dismembered. These canines may have macabre jobs, but they are very useful additions to the police forces in the areas where they are used, and they have some of the best noses in the business.

As human remains decay, they produce a variety of very distinct odors. While most of us would probably prefer to avoid ever experiencing such odors, for cadaver dogs, the odors are like a signature, because they appear nowhere else in nature. A cadaver dog can actually detect human remains through concrete, buried underground, or at the bottom of a body of water, using its extremely well-honed noses to search for faint traces of theof the chemicals emitted by the human body during decomposition.

Unlike search and rescue dogs, which are typically trained to bark and claw where they sense someone in need, cadaver dogs are usually trained to sit quietly or lie down when they detect human remains.

In addition to being used to find whole bodies, cadaver dogs are also trained to react to any trace of human remains. This can be very useful in crime investigations, because a cadaver dog can indicate that a cadaver was in a particular location at one point, even if it is no longer there, and these dogs can also find traces of bodies which criminals attempted to conceal by destroying the evidence.

Like other police dogs, cadaver dogs come with handlers. Some very renowned cadaver dog trainers travel with their dogs, responding to individual requests, and in other cases, a full-time handler is maintained as part of a police force or crime unit. Cadaver dogs typically live with their handlers and accompany them everywhere, and they tend to become tightly bonded with the people they work with; they are also treated like police officers under the law, which means that interfering with the work of a cadaver dog can have serious consequences.

*Trailing Dogs – follow a trail composed of small particles of tissue of skin cells left by the person as they travel that corresponds to the scent article they were given as a reference. They cannot work if no scent sample is available.

*Tracking Dogs – used without a scent sample to pursue criminals or in rescue operations. They physically track the path of a person.

*Air Scent Dogs – also work without a scent sample by picking up traces of human scent that are drifting in the air rather than by following a ground track. They will generally not be able to discriminate between different scents of different people so others in the general area may affect the results. They are particularly useful in disaster work. They usually work off lead.

*Water Search Dogs – focus their attention on bodily gases that rise up from under the water. They work in a team with their handler from a boat or shoreline and with a diver ready to search the area indicated by the dog.

*Disaster Dogs – are trained to find humans in very unnatural disaster settings. They must be able to work in small, confined spaces and on unstable surfaces without being distracted from their mission and capable of working off lead.

*Avalanche Dogs – trained to detect human presence buried under many feet of snow

*Detection Dogs – used by police forces, customs and counter terrorism for the detection  of bombs, explosives and firearms. Narcotics dogs are specifically trained to detect drugs.

*Assistance and Service Dogs – help the physically or mentally disabled in their every day activities. Included are Guide Dogs, Hearing Dogs and Mobility Assist Dogs.

*Guard Dogs and Watch Dogs – help to protect private property or used in patrols as in military, border control or security services.

*Fighting Dogs – not to be confused with staged dogfights they are used by servicemen in combat and in some hunting capacities.

*Military Service Dogs – used in defense and combat and a variety of tasks to include Ambulance Dogs, Sentry Dogs, Messenger Dogs, Patrol Aid Dogs, Mine Detection Dogs, Sled and Pack Dogs and Special Supply Missions Dogs.

Sources of information obtained from:

Blood Hound


2 Responses to Working Dogs of LE

  1. Checkitout14 says:

    Articles of interest:

    “Can you trust a cadaver dog if there’s no cadaver?” (Madeleine McCann):

    “The Child Connection, Inc.” (offers trained cadaver dogs):

  2. naplesfl34102 says:

    Very informational! Hopefully, this will put to rest any misconceptions about police dogs and the different roles they are trained to perform.

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