Fourth Annual "Paws For A Cause"

Fourth Annual "Paws For A Cause"

WEST LONG BRANCH, NJ- Alpha Phi Sigma hosted its fourth annual “Paws for a Cause” event on Wednesday, February 18, 2015.  Proceeds from the event went to the purchase of a new bulletproof dog vests.
The program began with an introduction video to give a brief background on the Monmouth County K-9 Unit. The video explained the process of training the canines, which typically takes between six or seven months. The current canines tend to work with their cooperating officers for about ten years and are available all day every day, so the responsibility is enormous. However, the canines view it all as fun and games.

Photo courtesy of Allison Perrine.
Photo courtesy of Allison Perrine.

Officer James Fay further explained the tedious and long process of training. The process varies based upon what the dog is being trained to seek out, yet all practices have commonalities. For instance, there are six different types areas that canines assist law enforcement, including narcotics, tracking, bomb, cadaver, patrol, and arson. Depending on which category the dog is trained for, the dog is raised to be either passive or aggressive. If it is trained to be passive, such as bomb dogs, it will sit when it finds what it is looking for. If it is aggressive it will paw and dig at the substance.
Once this has been determined the training begins. A canine will be given one towel to play fetch with, which creates a mutual bond between the officer and dog. This process repeats until the dog understands that the towel is used for playing. After this the towel is put into a large Ziploc with a small bag of the scent that it is trained to detect within it. This allows the canine to become familiar with the scent while still having fun and playing with the towel. Eventually the dog will associate the scent with the towel and play time, which is how it works. The dogs find the scent and then get excited to play whether it is aggressive or passive.
“My biggest challenge honestly is staying away from my family for that period of time while training the dog. It’s 39 weeks-worth of training, so it’s an adjustment for me and my family but it is 100% worth it,” reported Officer Mindow.
Five dogs were present at the event, including a Labrador, Bloodhound, and three German Shepherds. The officers hid narcotics in a garbage can and bomb evidence behind the curtain to demonstrate how the canines work.  The  dogs were able to easily detect the specific scent amongst the other odors in the garbage and the room.  After the canines detected the substances all of the dogs came out to conclude the program.
During the demonstration, a German shepherd that sought out bomb evidence happened to find a random rag and would not let go of it, eliciting laughter and adoring coo’s from the audience.
I think it is important for college students to attend this program because law enforcement is an important part of our society, and it is important to know what tools they use to protect us, including with canines,” said sophomore Andrew Ruckriegel who had attended the event.
For more information regarding police canine training, visit Police One or Master Dog Training.
Sometimes the bravest heroes come in the cutest, furriest packages.

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