Police dogs have to perform important tasks with extreme precision. Because of this, they must undergo a significant amount of training to become a professional working pup. While every profession will require a different type of training, all police dogs will follow a general training format.
First, most dogs will either be purchased as puppies to be trained in a certain area, or will arrive as adults that understand the basics of canine obedience. Once a dog has mastered basic obedience and how to follow instruction, they can move on to their specific training program.
Most police dogs will spend anywhere from 6-12 months in a training program that is focused on a certain task. Scent tracking dogs will have an entirely different training program than public enforcement dogs, as they are expected to perform in different environments. Once they have completed their training, they will go on to practice their skill in a controlled setting.
All police dogs will need to practice their new job in a controlled environment before heading out to a real emergency or recovery mission. This practice can involve searching for scents with controlled distractions, chasing specific targets in a crowded area, or any other simulation that can best prepare them for a real situation.
Once a police dog has completed their training and has participated in practice runs, they are then considered official police dogs. These dogs often have specific handlers who will continue to work on their skills and perfect their abilities as time goes on.