'It's amazing what these dogs can do': What's behind a police puppy's training
Maya is being trained by her imprinter, Const. Sarb Singh in this submitted photo.
Alyse Kotyk, CTV News Vancouver
Published Monday, July 15, 2019 11:12AM PDT
Last Updated Monday, July 15, 2019 11:28AM PDT
Maya, a German shepherd police puppy, gets training that might be a little unusual for most young dogs.
In fact, she's encouraged to jump on counters and is allowed to chew furniture.
"There's a big difference between a pet and a police dog," said Delta Police's Const. Sarb Singh in a statement.
"A dog owner typically wouldn't want their pet on the counter, but a police dog has to be confident in all environments. That's because a full profile police dog's main job is to track and apprehend offenders. We don't know where that suspect could be hiding."
Not only that, but Maya is allowed to chew furniture because Singh doesn't want to discourage her from biting.
Singh is volunteering as an imprinter, which is the title given to someone who raises a puppy to become a full-time police dog.
In her training, Maya will be tested when she is four, eight, 12 and 16 months old. Along the way, she could be cut from the program at any time particularly if she's not considered brave, adaptable or driven enough.
This is the second police puppy Singh has trained, and the duo's day starts with a 6 a.m. walk, followed by Singh's work with Patrol Support Team. Maya stays with him in a crate at the back of his vehicle and Singh lets her out every couple of hours to expose her to new surroundings.
Maya, who comes from the RCMP's German shepherd training program, stays with Singh 24-7 and lives in his home.
"It’s a lot of extra work," Singh says. "You have to have a passion for it, but it’s amazing what these dogs can do."
Once fully trained, police dogs play an important role in locating suspects and discarded evidence.
Const. Chris Cottrill is a dog handler with Integrated Lower Mainland District Police Dog Service. Together, he and his dog Garner have tracked a suspect over four kilometres, though fences, yards and streets, until they successfully found and arrested him.
"Imprinters also have to teach the dogs to become critical thinkers," Cottrill said.