The Wright County Sheriff’s Office is beginning the process of adding its newest officer to the force – K9 Grizz.
Grizz, a hand-picked 1-year old German Shepherd/Malinois mix, replaces K9 Vader, who retired from service at the end of February. Grizz has begun the long and ongoing process of being trained to be a highly-efficient, multi-faceted member of the law enforcement community.
Grizz will undergo a rigorous training course over approximately the next 12 weeks and, for the most part, he enters the instruction no official training at this point. Initially, Grizz has been trained to search, but with no control. The next 12 weeks will help mold him into the K9 officer he will become.
The process begins with obedience training and learning verbal commands as a foundation for the instruction. The first steps include basic narcotics detection, building searches, tracking and article searches.
Each dog is pushed at whatever pace that individual dog can handle. The instruction is based on praise over compulsion, so the training looks to get dogs to do tasks on their own as opposed to forcing them. Some dogs will advance in certain skills faster than others, but most those that start of slower than others get caught up by the end of the class.
Instruction is relatively basic over the first few weeks – essentially the same skills being taught, but becoming more difficult to push the dog to increase its skill level and accomplish more over time.
Typically around the 10th or 11th week of training, the dogs are subjected to nationally-recognized certifications for their skills through an outside organization. In the case of Wright County K9 officers, the certification comes from the United States Police Canine Association. No instructors from the training class are used as judges in the certification process.
After certification, instruction transfers to scenario-based training. Dogs will be trained both during the day and at night to replicate real-world scenarios in real time. This final portion of the training ties together all the training that has taken place over the three months of instruction.
The current schedule will have Grizz getting his certifications and completion of the training to be paired up with Deputy Loomis for service by Saturday, June 5.
The training course for Grizz is a basic handler course and will provide Grizz with the skill set he needs to be successful, but it will only be the beginning. Over the remainder of his career, Grizz will go through ongoing training to sharpen and perfect those skills to be a valued asset to the Wright County Sheriff’s Office.