What Jobs Do Police Dogs Have?

February 08, 2021 4 min read 0 Comments

A tan police dog greets its handler

Amber LaRock Author of What Jobs Do Police Dogs Have?

Police dogs are hard working pups with an impressive mission. These canines are well respected in the working dog world, as they play a huge role in keeping us safe! So what jobs can police dogs have anyways?

In this article we’ll discuss the many roles that police dogs can fill, and how they prepare for their time in service!


What Do Police Dogs Do?

No matter what role a police dog specializes in, it all comes down to one important duty: to protect and serve. Police dogs are a vital part of law enforcement, often being the first one to run into dangerous situations. A well-trained police dog can perform an array of complicated tasks, and benefit their human police partner in many scenarios. These pups are extremely dedicated to their work and their handlers, and will do anything to get the job done. 


What Jobs Do Police Dogs Have?

The world of canine police work is vast and diverse. Police dogs can participate in tasks ranging from tracking explosives to taking down bad guys, all of which help to keep us safe. No matter how difficult the task, a police dog can probably handle it! To help you better understand what exactly a police dog does, let’s dive into the many jobs of a police K9 below. 

Scent Tracking

One important way that police dogs help to keep their community safe is through the power of their nose. Dogs have over 200 million scent receptors in their nose, making them the perfect candidates for tracking a scent. 

Scent tracking police dogs can help to track suspects on the run, search for missing people, or even determine if someone's scent is present at a location. Scent tracking police dogs can be a critical piece of an investigation, and can even specialize in certain areas of tracking. 

Search & Detection

Search and detection is another career that uses the impressive abilities of the canine nose. This category of work relies on a dog’s specific training in tracking a certain scent, and the ability to alert their handler when it is found.

Police dog search and detection can involve detecting certain types of drugs, live crops, explosives, and any other item that can pose a threat in any way. These dogs will undergo extensive training to identify these scents in stressful situations, making them skilled experts in their craft!

Public Enforcement

Public enforcement police dogs are often the ones you see riding around with their police officer handlers. These pups are known for being at an officer’s side at all times, and helping to patrol their community for potential dangers. Public enforcement dogs usually have a specific handler at all times, and become extremely bonded to that officer. 

These dogs may also be the ones that participate in offering canine education around their community. Enforcement dogs may go to local schools, librairies, and any other facility that spreads awareness to the public. 

Cadaver Dogs

Similar to tracking or scent detection, cadaver dogs are trained to seek out one smell in particular: decomposition. Human-remains detection dogs are used around the world in many different types of recovery missions. Cadaver dogs can be used in general remains searches, during natural disasters, or even detecting if a decomposing body has ever been in a certain area. These dogs are highly skilled in their craft, and participate in serious operations around the world. 

Search & Rescue

Search and rescue police canines play a key role in finding lost victims. Natural disasters and devastation can cause serious destruction, often leaving humans trapped or injured. Search and rescue dogs can search through rubble, sniff out humans that have yet to be found, and squeeze into areas that you and I could not access. 

Search and rescue dogs can also search for those lost or injured in dangerous terrain, as they are able to scent track their way to the missing person. No matter the type of emergency, search and rescue dogs can offer a level of expertise that humans cannot. Their powerful nose and ability to cover large areas at a time makes them irreplaceable. 


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How Are Police Dogs Trained?

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.


Final Thoughts

As you can see, police dogs are incredible workers with the ability to make a huge impact. Be sure to review the information we discussed above, and you can better understand police K9’s going forward!


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Meet The Author 

Amber LaRock Author of What Jobs Do Police Dogs Have?

Amber LaRock

Amber is a Licensed Vet Tech with a degree in Veterinary Technology. Recently she has specialized in veterinary and animal-related content creation and social media management. When she is not working she loves spending time with her furry friends exploring the outdoors.