Road To Certification Leads To Michigan

Officer Boespflug and K9 Falko trainingLast week we shared the story of Officer Sarah Boespflug’s first days with K9 Falko. Catch up here!

Six weeks after acclimating to a new life together, it was time for Officer Sarah Boespflug and K9 Falko to head to Michigan.

Certification by the North American Working Dog Association (NAPWDA) was the next and final step in solidifying their status as Madison’s newest K9 team. Without this certification, the team can’t continue working on the streets of Madison.
 
 
Sergeant Jeff Felt, who heads up the Madison Police K9 Unit, was confident they would make the grade.

“Sarah has a great attitude and a commitment to learn,” he said.

During this certification process, K9 teams are evaluated on all their patrol functions, including obedience, building searches, areas searches, aggression control, handler protection, article searches (locating evidence), and tracking.

“It was rewarding to see the two grow together as a team,” said Felt. “Sarah’s willingness to be flexible, along with her positive attitude, not only allowed this to work but exceeded my expectations.”

After passing certification at the end of February, the team began active duty in their patrol assignment with the West Community Policing Team! Sgt. Felt reports they’re off to a great start and continue to build on a strong foundation.

Stay tuned for a more in-depth, behind-the-scenes perspectives from Officer Boespflug — and others in the K9 Unit — in the near future!

Did you know…
Officer Boespflug’s and K9 Falko’s training is funded entirely by private donations made to Capital K9s!

Make your donation today!

 

Pictured above: Officer Boespflug and K9 Falko training in Madison, WI. 3/1/17.
Photo credit: Tanner Gerstner/Tanner G. Photography

K9 Falko and Officer Boespflug Forge New Path Together

Officer Sarah Boespflug and K9 Falko returning from a track“Loos!”

The new officer perfects her command: Leave it!

“Vuligan!”

The focus shifts to heeling.

Dutch is K9 Falko’s native language, and now it’s time for Officer Sarah Boespflug to learn it. Along with brushing up on a new language, she also minds the tone and timing of her commands, corrections, and rewards.

It’s a new venture for the Madison Police Department, and for Officer Boespflug, who joined the MPD K9 Unit in January 2017 after Officer Rose Mansavage was promoted to sergeant.

When a new K9 team is formed, the handler typically goes off to school for four to six weeks with a vendor who also provides their new working dog. There, the officer and K9 get to know each other and begin their journey together.

In this case, Falko was already a highly-trained working dog. The duo needed time to bond before starting their work together, and a transition plan was developed. The two hit it off right away and were able to begin training within a week!

The team trained for a total of five weeks, starting with the basics as Officer Boespflug acclimated and Falko adjusted to working with her.

“Everything I did was so slow,” Officer Boespflug recalls. “He was like, ‘Okay, human. Come on, let’s do this!’”

K9 Falko, catching onto Officer Boespflug’s rookie status, started to see where he could push the envelope.

“He was like a mischievous child!” Boespflug said with a laugh. “His trained response when we’re doing drug work is to sit, and he knew that he’d get rewarded. I hadn’t done enough reps with him to know what his behavior looks like— and to know that he was screwing with me to get treats!”

Falko eventually realized he’ll still get treats without having to trick his partner, and the team gradually hit their stride. They began to work on more challenging skills once the basics were squared away.

“It’s like a ballroom dance where you have to learn to dance with a new partner,” Boespflug explained. “Now that we have our dance, we actually work so much better together.”

Soon the team was off to Michigan to become independently certified by the North American Working Dog Association. More on that story next week on the Capital K9s blog!

K9 Falko runs toward a subject during a training exercise

Did you know…
Officer Boespflug’s and K9 Falko’s training is funded entirely by private donations made to Capital K9s!
Make your donation today!


Pictured above: Officer Boespflug and K9 Falko during a recent training exercise in Madison.

Third Grader Presents Donation To Capital K9s – With Extra ‘Twizzle’

Officer Wilson, Samantha, and K9 BorisA few weeks ago we introduced you to Samantha, a third grader at Sunset Ridge Elementary School.

When we met her at the Pet Parade in Middleton, she told us about the homemade dog treats and chew toys she’s been making and selling with hopes of donating some of the proceeds to Capital K9s.

As the school year wrapped up, Officer Wilson and K9 Boris paid a visit to Samantha’s school and put on a special demonstration for her classmates. Boris showed off his drug-searching skills, displayed his “break dancing moves,” and let everyone gather around to pet him. The kids loved it!

It’s a little-known fact that K9 Boris loves Twizzlers, at least according to Officer Wilson, who might have a taste for them himself! When Samantha presented her donation to Capital K9s, she included some handmade dog toys and Twizzlers for Officer Wilson and Boris.

The event was a fun way for the kids at Sunset Ridge Elementary to end their school year, and a great opportunity for Capital K9s to reconnect with an enthusiastic young supporter in our community!

Show us your enthusiastic support…
Donate to Capital K9s today!

Officer Wilson presenting to 3rd Graders

Samantha gives donation to Officer Wilson