November 14, 2013 - 10:23 AM
VERNON - Frieda is your average dog owner’s worst nightmare. The five month old German Shepherd constantly tests her handler’s resolve by lunging at whatever interests her; a person, another dog, a scent. In police dog school, she’s a star pupil.
“She’s got a lot of energy which is one of the traits that they look for in the police dogs. They have to be very driven with a lot of energy—they don’t really have any manners. They want them that way because they have to be able to climb on everyone and not be afraid to jump up on people... Everything you would do with your pet is everything we don’t do with them,” Cpl. Matt Taylor says.
Taylor is Frieda’s handler, also known as a “puppy imprinter.” He is one of just three imprinters in the North Okanagan district. Frieda lives at home with him, and training is done on his own time. It’s a big commitment, but a rewarding one.
Frieda, who was born at the police dog breeding centre in Innisfail, Alberta, is believed to have a lot of potential. Only 70 per cent of canine candidates make it all the way to becoming full-fledged police dogs.
While a household pup is taught how to shake a paw, police dogs learn how to track and take down criminals. In their early years, they’re exposed to a variety of environments and encouraged to climb and get acquainted with heights. There’s no telling where their job may take them, and they need to be familiarized with all sorts of footing.
“Just trying to get her used to everything in the world she might come into contact with,” Taylor says.
As a dog lover, Taylor is excited to be taking part in this year’s Raise the Woof, a fundraiser for local animal rescues. The event, scheduled for Nov. 23 at the Powerhouse Theatre, will feature a comedy show and silent auction, one prize of which is a day with the police dog unit. Click here for more information and tickets.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at email@example.com, call (250)309-5230 or tweet @charhelston.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013