A Day In The Life Of A Police Dog Handler

By Lauren Mccluskey 1 year ago

1. 5 A.M. Wake up

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Police dogs in the K-9 unit tend to live with their partners.  So each police dog handler will be assigned their own dog that they will spend up to 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with.  The dogs live in the handler's home and they are usually part of the family.  The handler and their K9 will get up bright and early on the days they are working together.

2. 5:15 A.M. Let the dog outside

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As with any dog, when they wake up after a full night's sleep, they need to be let out.  So when the dog handler wakes, their first job would be to open the door to the garden or yard and allow their pooch out to stretch their legs and use the bathroom outside.

3. 5:30 A.M. Breakfast

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To get them fueled up and ready for the day, the next thing on the list for the human handler is to prepare breakfast for both themselves and their dog.  A balanced and nutritious breakfast for both parties will help them to keep their busy schedule all morning.

4. 5:45 A.M. Get in the car

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Not long after getting up, and once breakfast is finished and they're both ready, it's time to get into the car.  Cars on the K-9 unit are specially designed with a safely caged section for the dog, a compartment for anyone they need to pick up and then the front seats for the officers.

5. 6 A.M. Arrive at work

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The police dog handler and their assigned K-9 unit police dog arrive at work, ready for a very busy day ahead.  There's lots to do throughout their long shift and the jobs they're responsible for are quite varied.  So it's time to get prepared and plan the day ahead.

6. 6:15 A.M. Let the dogs out for exercise in the yard

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There are usually kennels at the K-9 unit in the station for the dogs to rest and ready themselves for various patrols and training.  And some of the dogs there will also need to be let out of their kennels for some exercise outside.  They'll be let out in small groups to stop them from fighting.

7. 6:30 A.M. Clean the Kennels

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Whilst the dogs stretch their legs and go to the bathroom in the yard, the next job for the dog handler is to make sure the kennels are clean and tidy before the dogs are returned to them.  This keeps the dogs as healthy as they can be if their areas are kept a spotless as possible.

8. 6:45 A.M. Put the food out for the other dogs

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The dogs that have been in the kennels overnight will need to be fed once they return from their exercise and bathroom trips in the yard.  Again, these dogs will need a nutritious meal because they have a really busy day ahead of them, whether they're out on patrol with their handler or they're training.

9. 6:50 A.M. Call the dogs back in

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It's a good time once the food is all out for the dogs on the unit to call them back into their newly cleaned and tidied kennels.  This way, they can eat and rest ready for the day ahead.  They have some time from now to when they're needed out to continue to rest.

10. 7 A.M. Clear the dog poop from the yard

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Now the dogs are back inside, the yard in the K-9 department will inevitably need a clean.  Any police dog handler will tell you that it's not always the most glamorous job in the world but the rewards they get from their job seriously outweigh the task of cleaning up the poop each day.

11. 7:30 A.M. Office work

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Once the dogs are all exercised, watered, fed and their areas have been cleaned, the next part of the morning is a good time to plan the day and see what tasks lie ahead.  They'll be administration tasks to complete and planning tasks that need attention during the morning.

12. 7:45 A.M. Get ready to leave the office

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Despite the mountains of paperwork that needs to be completed, the police dog handler and their fluffy companions don't stay in the office all day.  They have many duties that they need to assist with so they get ready to head out to assist their colleagues in the community.

13. 8 A.M. Head out to assist other K-9 units

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After some important administration tasks, it is then time for the police dog handler to pick up their loyal partner from the kennel.  Together, they have a very busy day ahead of them and they are going to work hard to support and assist other K-9 units out in the community.

14. 9 A.M. Attend local schools to carry out drug sweeps

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One typical job in the day of a police dog handler and their furry partner is to attend local schools out in the community to do random drug sweeps.  These sweeps give out the message that drugs will never be tolerated in schools and that whoever has them in their possession will certainly be caught.

15. 10 A.M. Attend local businesses

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Occasionally local businesses out in the community will also request random drug sweeps of their premises and employees.  Like in schools, they hope to act as a presence that will deter people from possessing drugs and send out a strong message that those in possession of drugs will be caught.

16. 11 A.M. Attend court

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It is also a regular occurrence for a police dog handler on the K-9 unit to attend court for a number of reasons.  This is an important duty that must be carried out and the handler will also usually take along their furry partner with them for assistance.

17. 11:15 A.M. Give testimony in court

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When the police dog handler attends court with their partner, they are generally there to give their testimony of events as they were on the scene and therefore a reliable witness.  One of their responsibilities is to give testimony against the defendant that they have usually caught themselves.

18. 11:30 A.M. Tasks in court

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Often, the police dog handler will have to attend court to defend themselves.  Particularly when a person has accused them or the K-9 of causing harm to them.  These accusations are unfortunately very regular but the dog's detailed training record usually proves that excessive force was not used.

19. 1 P.M. Lunch & Rest

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At the start of the afternoon, like in any job, it's time for lunch.  So back to the unit for both the police dog handler and their furry friend for a bite to eat.  The dog handler will need to put out the food for the dog before they go into the office to eat their own.

20. 1:30 P.M. Day spa

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The police dogs on the K-9 unit also get regular cleaning to keep them in good shape for the job.  Some units use a doggy day spa where the pups will spend some time getting groomed and cleaned.  Dog handlers are usually trusted to do this and say that the dogs really enjoy this.

21. 2 P.M. Training

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Every week to two weeks, the K-9 unit will spend up to eight hours in training.  This is part of their busy schedule and this regular and long and in-depth training aims to keep the dogs' skills up-to-date and sharp.  This training has to be consistent so the dogs know exactly what to do in tough situations and the unit is covered in case of injury.

22. 4 P.M. K-9 units patrols begin when they are not on their training weeks

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By 4 pm, the police dog handler and their hairy partner have had an incredibly busy day.  Their schedule is absolutely jam pack full of important tasks that both the handler and the dog need special training for to keep their skills sharp.  But after their busy day, it's actually 4 pm that patrols usually begin.

23. 4:10 P.M. Patrols begin with a period of waiting

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Usually, like in any police unit, patrols consist of quite long periods of waiting around for something to happen.  And it's no different in the K-9 unit.  They usually wait around the office and kennels, completing administration tasks and training.  And this is usually followed by brief periods of action.

24. 5 P.M. Action stations!

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When a call comes in on the radio, it's action stations, and the unit mobilizes.  They'll roll out a specially adapted police car to fit the K-9 in safely.  These are usually an SUV with one compartment for the dog and one for the criminal in the back.  And they head out to answer the call.

25. 5:15 P.M. Arriving at the call

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The unit will arrive at the location of the call pretty quickly.  Sometimes they are called out to complete quite dull tasks like calling a tow truck to move a vehicle.  But other times, they might need to track down a suspect in a burglary or a disturbance, which is anything but dull.

26. 7 P.M. Another call

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They're called out again and arrive at the scene where there is a suspect already in custody accused of possessing drugs.  Most police dogs are cross-trained and can sniff out people and also drugs at a scene.  They learn to scent both on the ground and in the air and can find a suspect 10 times quicker than their human partners can.

27. 12 A.M. Return to the K-9 Department

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Patrol shifts usually last eight hours and the handler and their dog usually return to the unit at around midnight.  They've had a super busy day but their tasks aren't over just yet.  In the department, there are further tasks for the handler to carry out before they can go home for the night.

28. 12:10 A.M. Complete any relevant administration

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One of the tasks they may need to complete when they return to the office is to complete any relevant paperwork from the patrol. Whether that was booking a suspect, or if they need to file an incident report.  This will need to be done before they leave to ensure there's no backlog of administration tasks for the next day.

29. 12:45 A.M. Collect the dog and place it in the car

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The police dog would not stay in the kennels on the K-9 unit for the night.  As we discovered at the start of the day, the dog does actually live at home with their handler so they will need to go and collect them to take home.  They'll load them into the car ready for home.

30. 1 A.M. Arrive back at home for a good night's sleep

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Finally, the dog handler and their furry friend arrive home.  The handler will need to make sure the dog is secured at home to prevent any accidents with the family and then they will be able to finally make their way to bed.  They'll both need a good night's sleep before they start again tomorrow.

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