‘Good boy’: Here is a look into how law enforcement trains the K-9′s that protect us

HOUSTON – Keeping our communities safe are our brave men and women in uniform. Next to them, however, are working canines. Together, the canine teams have to undergo National Odor Recognition Training and Certification.

The Houston Police Department, along with several other local, state and federal agencies, participate in this training.

“Good boy. Stay,” Deputy US Marshal Shannon Nash says as he rewards his canine Moose for a job well done during an exam during NORT. “He’s my buddy. He’s my boy.”

Teams have to demonstrate they are proficient with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ NORT. The exam consists of detecting 10 fundamental explosive odors. The exam took place inside a hanger at Conroe-North Houston Regional Airport.

Another law enforcement officer can be heard rewarding his canine with positive reinforcement after detecting an explosive, “Good boy!”

“There are thousands of working dogs out there,” explained Cody Monday, lead instructor for NORT with ATF. “In today’s world, there are a lot of bad guys out there… and it’s our job to prepare these canine teams to make sure they can find explosives in an actual event. The pointy-eared dogs are dual-purpose dogs. This means they can find explosives and search for bad guys in fields and stuff. The floppy-eared dogs are single-purpose dogs and their primary mission is to just find explosives.”

When the dog detects the explosive, it will sit, lie down or stare.

“In training, he doesn’t know he is working, he just thinks it’s a game we play,” Nash said.

“It’s a seven-day-a-week job. The only time they eat is when they find explosives. It’s up to the handler to set up different training scenarios throughout the day, 365 days a year,” explained Monday.

“Food that normal people feed their dogs out of a bowl, we feed them out of our hand every day, which means we need to train every day,” explained Nash. “He’s my best friend. I say this all the time. He’s my best friend.”

Moose will retire within the year and live out his retirement years at home with Shannon.

This training takes place every two years throughout different cities across the country.

All 25 canines participating in this training passed.

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