Category Archives: K9

Today is K-9 Veteran’s Day

By Julia Williams

“They served to save, and they deserve to be remembered.”

Did you know that March 13th is K9 Veteran’s Day in many cities and states across the U.S.? It’s true. A movement was started by Joe White, a former military dog handler, to recognize the efforts and sacrifices of our canine heroes. The quote above is their motto.

During Joe’s time in Vietnam, he saw canine heroes perform many vital tasks that no human could. He witnessed firsthand just how valuable these dogs were to our troops and how much they contributed to keeping our soldiers safe.

Many of these courageous canines lost their lives to protect and serve, but their only place of remembrance, until now, was in the hearts of the soldiers. Joe’s home state of Florida was the first to proclaim March 13th as K9 Veteran’s Day.

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Pentagon “Working Dogs” are Powered by CANIDAE

By Julia Williams

Did you know the Pentagon has two dozen highly trained K9 teams that are used to detect explosives, search vehicles, and patrol the premises to keep them safe? I didn’t until recently when Sarah Lagasse, K9 Sergeant at the Pentagon Police Department, contacted CANIDAE customer service. Sarah wrote to ask for some CANIDAE Pet Food banners or posters for their new kennel facility, because she said many of the Pentagon working dogs eat the food and not only that – they really thrive on it! I spoke with her recently to get more information on the Pentagon dogs and their very important jobs. Sarah’s current K9 partner is Aldo, a 4 year old Golden Retriever (soon to be 5) she’s been working with since 2008. Here’s what she had to say:

What is a typical day like for you and Aldo?
Aldo’s duties are to detect explosives and be a deterrent. Our normal day usually begins with his exercise (playing ball), then he rides to work with me. We conduct roll call and give out the assignments for the other teams. We sometimes work at the Pentagon Remote Delivery Facility where all delivery vehicles are screened by K9 teams, and we do random patrols all over the Pentagon Reservation. We respond to calls for unattended items, bomb threats and many other types of calls.  We also provide K9 support to visiting dignitaries, often searching their hotel suites and motorcades. We fit exercise, grooming and training in as often as possible.

What is Aldo’s temperament like?
Aldo is a typical Golden Retriever – he is very sweet, playful and loves everyone.

What part of his job does Aldo like most and least?
Aldo likes to search; when he is working, he is happy! When we work the receiving facility a lot, he doesn’t seem to care for it much since he is searching a lot of vehicles numerous times a day and I think he gets a little bored. I have to keep his mind in the game, so our trainers will secretly put training aids (explosives) on vehicles so he will find them, get his ball and get excited to work again. We do this with all of the dogs since even as handlers, we get tired of these searches after doing that specific job for many hours straight.

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CANIDAE Helps Take a Bite Out of Crime

By Julia Williams

The handsome Belgian Malinois pictured here is Baco, a hard-working K9 who helps fight crime in the Southern California city of Pomona. CANIDAE graciously donated Baco to the Pomona Police Department a year ago, to replace a patrol dog who died from cancer. Officer Theo Joseph is Baco’s human partner on the force (also called a handler), and Baco is his third police dog.

I spoke with Officer Joseph recently to get an update on how Baco has been doing this past year. As it turns out, Baco just recently caught his first bad guy. This “K9 rite of passage” is an important test, as it tells the handler much about the dog, what he has learned, and how he’s likely to perform in the future. According to Officer Joseph, Baco handled his first apprehension of a bad guy (two of them, actually) really well, and shows great promise as a police dog.

With his first bite behind him, Baco can now attend a six-week training for narcotic detection. This cross-training is valuable because it will make Baco an even more useful member of the force. If Baco’s sensitive canine nose detects drugs in a vehicle, Officer Joseph has probable cause to search without needing to obtain a warrant.

Although Baco knows many English words, he has been trained to respond only to commands in Dutch. This can be useful to the officer, since it prevents criminals from knowing what commands are being given. In fact, it’s not uncommon for them to mistakenly think that a command to apprehend is the dog’s name. Whereupon, instead of calming the menacing dog in front of them by calling his name, the criminal is actually saying “grab me, grab me.” Don’t tell the bad guy this, but no matter what he says it won’t cause the dog to retreat or attack, because K9s are taught to respond only to their handler.

Dog officers develop extremely close bonds with their K9 partners, largely because they are with them 24/7. Their dogs go to work with them every day and spend evenings and weekends at their home. “I spend more time with Baco than I do with my family,” joked Officer Joseph.

On those rare occasions when he works a shift without Baco, Officer Joseph said it feels strange. It’s not just the companionship of a dog that he misses, however. Baco’s mere presence can prevent physical confrontations with criminals and diffuse potentially deadly situations. Officer Joseph described an incident where a stand-off occurred between a suspect and police. The man was willing to fight eight officers, but when he heard the bark of just one police dog, he surrendered immediately. This is a perfect illustration of how tremendously valuable K9s are to law enforcement.

Baco eats premium-quality CANIDAE dog food, of course, alternating between the All Life Stages and Chicken & Rice formulas. Officer Joseph believes that the CANIDAE food helps Baco be a better police dog because it gives him the high level of energy he needs, doesn’t cause digestion issues, and satisfies his ravenous appetite.

Although Baco takes his police work seriously, Officer Joseph said he’s also a laidback, low-key canine. This is in stark contrast to the officer’s last K9 partner, another Belgian Malinois named Zorro described as a “Type A” personality. Zorro is retired from the force and lives at home with the family along with Baco and a third dog, a Husky. When he’s not fighting crime, Baco enjoys playing tug-of-war and keep-away with his favorite toy, a plastic bone. He likes country music, and snores while sleeping.

Talking with Officer Joseph brought back fond memories of my college days as a Journalism student. I was assigned to the “police beat” and went on many Citizen Ride-Alongs, including two with K9 units. All of my rides were interesting and educational, but the K9s provided the most fodder for A+ tales. Officer Kaiser and his German Shepherd Samson, were quite the pair. I’d been forewarned by other officers that “the dog stinks to high heaven,” and “Kaiser is the only guy on the force with a dog smarter than he is.” I’ll not divulge whether they were right, but my four-hour ride with this duo was definitely unforgettable.

Samson spent the entire time breathing down my neck from the back seat of the patrol car. When a call came over the radio about a fight at a liquor store, Officer Kaiser spun the car around and accelerated (largely to impress me, I’m sure), and Samson went wild, barking and pacing like mad. The “fight” turned out to be a mild scrap between three macho dudes and a hippie with a dead squirrel in the basket of his moped. (I swear I’m not making that up!). While Officer Kaiser spoke to the men, Samson leaned out the window and kept a keen eye on them. Later, we headed to Samson’s favorite “potty spot.” When Officer Kaiser told Samson to “Take a break!” he flew out the car window, did his business and jumped back in.

Although my memorable Citizen Ride-Alongs occurred many years ago, Officer Joseph said most cities still do them today, but that he and Baco have only done two of them in their first year together. I’m quite certain they weren’t nearly as entertaining as my rides with Officer Kaiser and Samson. Nevertheless, Baco is an exemplary K9, and CANIDAE is proud to sponsor him.

Read more articles by Julia Williams

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Hard Working Dogs That Protect and Serve

By Julia Williams

The relationship between dogs and humans goes back thousands of years. Long before they became “man’s best friend,” dogs had other important jobs. Canines have been enlisted in the military for ages, serving as sentry and patrol dogs, to detect mines, bombs, booby traps, enemy troops and more. Because a canine’s keen senses of smell and hearing are far superior to human soldiers, many a wartime battle would’ve had a tragically different outcome without dogs.

Working dogs are tremendously useful to law enforcement and homeland security, and ranchers rely on them to help with herding sheep and guarding livestock. Assistance dogs provide life changing support to the disabled, and therapy dogs help the sick and elderly find joy in an otherwise challenging existence. As you can see, the list of “canine careers” is long and varied. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Police Dogs – K9 Units

Police officers rely on their K9 partner to help them chase, subdue and apprehend criminals, to provide support during building searches, patrols and crowd control, and to detect illegal substances like drugs and weapons. There’s no question these dedicated and hard working dogs help keep their partners/handlers safe in a highly dangerous job. Their very presence can also prevent crime and diffuse a volatile situation, because delinquents often rethink their actions when confronted by a formidable canine with sharp teeth and powerful jaws.

Many different breeds are used as police dogs, but the German Shepherd is the most popular. This breed is in the herding class of working dogs, and is valued by law enforcement for their size, strength, intelligence and work ethic. The second most popular police dog is the Belgian Malinois (pronounced mal-in-waw), often referred to as a smaller, sleeker version of a German Shepherd. Belgian Malinois are hard working dogs with a high level of endurance, noted for their speed, intelligence and agility.

Last year, CANIDAE donated a Belgian Malinois named Baco to the Pomona, California Police Department’s Canine Unit. According to his partner/handler, Officer Theo Joseph, Baco is progressing well in his training and has proven to be a fine police dog. You can read more about Baco and other hard working CANIDAE sponsored dogs on the “Special Achievers” section of their website.

Bomb Dogs and Drug Dogs

Detection dogs are a vital part of our country’s security forces. AKC Spokesperson Lisa Peterson said, “Despite advances in security technology, the canine and its unique abilities remain a valued resource for the military and law enforcement agencies that work to keep us safe.”

Bomb dogs can quickly locate explosives in a large area that might take humans hours to search. These explosive-sniffing dogs are trained to detect up to 30 different odors that might comprise a bomb, which translates into as many as 19,000 combinations. Detection dogs can also provide peace of mind by quickly confirming that large venues (convention centers, stadiums, concert halls, government buildings, etc.) are free of explosives. Detection dogs are also trained to sniff out illegal drugs, weapons, agricultural products and fire-starting accelerants, either carried on a person or in luggage, packages, vehicles and buildings. Detection dogs must learn to perform reliably in any environment, despite distractions such as loud noises, crowds, and gunfire.

A trained detection dog’s sense of smell is not only highly sensitive, but very exact. In lab tests, bomb sniffing dogs were able to detect odor concentrations as minute as one part per billion. Much to the dismay of smugglers, detection dogs are also remarkably adept at picking out contraband even when it’s placed inside smelly things or in creatively sealed packages.

Some of the dog breeds used for detection work include Beagle, Bloodhound, German Shepherd, Belgian Malinois, Rottweiler, Bouvier, Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever and Giant Schnauzer.

Military Working Dogs (MWDs)

The U.S. military has employed working dogs since the Revolutionary War, where they were used as pack animals. During World War I, MWDs were used to kill rats in the trenches. For World War II, our military deployed more than 10,000 specially trained canine troops as sentries, scouts, messengers and mine detectors. Today’s military working dogs perform many jobs, among them locating and tracking enemy troops, detecting mines, bombs and booby traps, and defending military bases and field locations. The majority are German Shepherds, Dutch Shepherds, and Belgian Malinois, breeds valued for their aggressive, intelligent, loyal and athletic traits.

After their training (canine bootcamp?), all military working dogs are paired with a single individual, called a handler. The handler usually does not remain with one dog for the length of either’s military service, but generally partners with them for at least a year, and sometimes longer.

Other hard working dogs that “protect and serve” include Search & Rescue Dogs, Cadaver Dogs, Therapy Dogs and Service Dogs. There are far too many to discuss in one sitting. However, I do think these dedicated working dogs provide an invaluable service and deserve recognition, so I will talk more about these canine careers in my next post.

Read more articles by Julia Williams

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Blog Sponsor Helps Police Canine Units and Avalanche Rescue Dog

CANIDAE Helps to Take a Bite Out of Crime
Robert Bemis, Regional Sales Manager for CANIDAE All Natural Pet Foods, was approached by the Pomona Police Department recently regarding the department’s Canine Unit. Earlier this year, the unit lost a Belgian Malinois patrol dog named Buddy to his battle with canine cancer. The department needed to replace Buddy with a new 
dog, but budget constraints and a lack of donations made it difficult.
CANIDAE has a long history of supporting both local and pet related causes including an ongoing series of fund raisers for the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation. “We were very saddened to hear of Buddy’s death from canine cancer. We’re very involved with raising funds to treat and prevent cancer in dogs so we are very sensitive to that issue. We wanted to help,” Bemis said.
“This not the first time we have worked with law enforcement,” Bemis continued. “I’m working to finalize a narcotics dog sponsorship for the Sumerton Arizona Police right now, and CANIDAE has been supporting law enforcement agencies across the country by providing food for their canine units for years.”
CANIDAE officially donated the Belgian Malinois, named Baco, to the Pomona Police Department’s Canine Unit this past March. The newest member of the Police Department’s canine unit, he is in his fourth week of training and getting ready to begin patrol duties with his handler. The 3 1/2 year old Belgian Malinois has shown he’s energetic, alert, brave and sociable with his handler, Officer Theo Joseph.
“Buddy’s death caught everyone by surprise”, said Sgt. Mike Ellis, who oversees the Police Department’s canine program. “Because the dog’s death came suddenly, no one was able to plan for a replacement,” Ellis said.
The donation from CANIDAE came at a critical time for the department, but now the Canine Unit must prepare for the retirement of another dog, Rocky, who will retire in about three months after 11 years of service.
People interested in contributing toward the purchase of Rocky’s replacement can attend the Eagles’ taco nights, which begin at 6 p.m. Mondays at the Eagles Lodge, 954 W. Mission Blvd., Pomona.
Checks can also be made out to the “Eagles K-9 Fund” and mailed in care of Sgt. Mike Ellis to the Pomona Police Department, 490 W. Mission Blvd., Pomona, CA 91766. Donations will be forwarded to the Eagles.

CANIDAE Sponsored Rescue Dog Helps Ski Patrol Team Ensure A Safe Mountain Experience
“Last week I had the opportunity to watch Cascade, a CANIDAE All Natural Pet Foods sponsored back country avalanche search dog at work. Cascade is a 3-year old Golden Retriever that is handled by Chris and Hanna Sutton of Copper Mountain Ski Patrol in the beautiful Colorado Rockies,” said Chris Milliken, Regional Sales Manager for CANIDAE.
Copper Mountain Ski Patrol in Colorado is one of the larger patrol teams in the county. The staff consists of 60 full-time patrollers, 100 volunteers who work as Slope Watch (the folks who tell you to slow down on groomers and other high-traffic runs), 20 medical volunteer professionals (doctors and nurses who donate their time on the mountain to increase Copper’s medical response force), and 15 high school students who assist in most patrol operations.
The avalanche dogs Cascade, Tucker, Tracker, Eddy, and Bridger round out the team.
Chris Milliken recently had the opportunity to watch Cascade participate in a training exercise. “It was great to see Cascade proudly sporting the CANIDAE Pet Foods patches on his vest. Cascade is a true testament to the results of feeding CANIDAE, from his great looking coat to his ability consistently perform in these high-pressure situations,” Milliken said.

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.