The German Shepherd is one of the most intelligent and easily recognizable dog breeds and is probably one of the most loved and highly valued dogs. These animals, with a cheerful and active nature, loyal, brave and protective, are great allies for the police. So why do police use German Shepherds as police dogs?
As we pointed out, these furry animals have a very particular way of being that makes them especially valuable for certain tasks. They are outstanding watchdogs and are considered the quintessential police dog. In fact, they have starred in movies like ‘Rex' which made a canine of this breed a movie star.
Why Do Police Use German Shepherds?
Among the qualities of the German Shepherd stand out their courage, audacity and intelligence, which allow them to be trained in tasks typical of the police profession.
They have an innate protective instinct and are usually on constant alert, two fundamental factors to develop functions that can become somewhat complex. This makes them one of the favorite breeds when it comes to working with the police.
In England, for example, it is estimated that there are around 2,500 of these dogs in the service of this security body.
Story Behind German Shepherd as a Police Dog
The first data on the existence of the German Shepherd as a breed dates back to 1899. At that time, a captain of the German army noticed this type of dog and considered it very valuable for herding, so he dedicated himself to the breeding of these animals. He bet on highlighting their intelligence, their loyalty and dedication to work and fell in love with the breed completely.
Little by little, these furry ones were also the best allies to defend the house and from there they began to resort to them for the protection of small villages and communities. Over time, they have become part of the police, the army and other specialized bodies, such as the fire department.
They are very obedient, so they can be trained with some ease. This allows dog trainers specialized in German Shepherd as a police dog to enhance those qualities and characteristics that make them so valuable for these specific and necessary functions. They are highly respected dogs and, as we mentioned earlier, they are very much loved. Seasoned and restless, they are faithful and good companions.
Requirements and Training as a Police Dog
In order to be able to start their service with the police, the German Shepherd dog has to meet some important requirements. In addition to a high level of protective behavior, a strong will to subordinate is required, because this is the basis for their later training.
There are three areas: the subordination, the protection service, and the tracking work. In the subordination, the German Shepherd learns to sit, make room, stand, crawl, bring objects and run with or without a leash and harness on the handler and overcome obstacles.
In the protection service, he is taught to track people, as well as defend against attacks. Since dogs have a high olfactory ability, they are particularly used to search for people and missing persons.
When training in tracking work, the dog handler lays the tracks himself in the beginning and provides them with personal items. The dog must find this when walking along the track and display it actively (barking) or passively (sitting).
In the later course of the training, the track is laid by strangers in different geometrical forms and at ever greater distances. Foreign tracks are also crossed and the dog must learn to follow the relevant trail. A track can be up to 1,600m long.
These areas mentioned above summarize the basic training of the German Shepherd dog as a police dog. The special training to become a corpse tracking dog, mantrailing (person tracking), special protection dog and drug tracking dog is based on this.
Before the dog can be put into service, they must pass an examination in which they must achieve the minimum grade. This test is repeated once a year. A fully-trained German Shepherd Dog is around one year old when they start working.
Other Police Dog Rivals
Over time, other breeds have begun to ‘compete' with the German Shepherd in relation to police duties. This is the case of the Rottweiler, for example. Be that as it may, they have not managed to unseat these wonderful beings who are playing such a good role working side by side with professionals and experts in the defense of people.