Special Fundraiser at Pet World each Wednesday in May
All funds from the in-store dog wash ($15 per dog) will be donated to Capital K9s.
- May 4, 2016
- May 11, 2016
- May 18, 2016
- May 25, 2016
All funds from the in-store dog wash ($15 per dog) will be donated to Capital K9s.
Officer Baumgart and I continue to progress in our training with K9 Allied and K9 Carl. As I’ve mentioned, the training continues to build for both the handlers and the dogs. Much progress was made this week and there is much more to learn!
I’m not sure exactly what the weather has been like at home, but I can assure you, this area of Pennsylvania and Ohio where we are working and staying has certainly made me feel right at home (yes, multiple days of snow, cold weather, and huge temperature swings-sometimes within the hour).
This past week, on Monday, we started our training at the fairgrounds. We worked on tracking during the morning. The dogs are now working on increasing the distance of the tracks and working into the tracks. This means instead of starting at the beginning and going forward (following the track as laid), the dogs are started perpendicular to the track and worked toward the track. They get to the track and have to pick a direction. Again, this is channeling their genetics (drives) to hunt and find food. In the wild, they would come across a track. If they track the freshest direction, they are rewarded, potentially, with a meal. If they track the other direction, older part of the track, they don’t eat. As the week progressed, the tracks are getting longer in length and are beginning to be “aged”. Instead of a fresh track, the dogs are now tracking 20-30 minute old tracks.
We also did scent detection at the fairgrounds. It was windy and cold, but we searched large sections of bleachers, a challenge for the dog and handler (figure out a pattern that works for both). You work downwind and work into the wind on your search pattern. The scent you’re looking for produces a scent cone, that’s influenced by the environment, but eventually the dog will reach that scent cone and work right to the source (narcotic or explosive). It’s amazing to watch.
Tuesday and Wednesday we did “certifications.” This involved all of the disciplines we’ve been working on, but were done as testing. Most of the searches we do are all unknown to us. The teams are put through a series of tests by an independent certifying agency. In this case, this was a mock test by the trainers of Shallow Creek Kennels. However, before we leave there will be an independent certifier to test the dogs on all aspects of their training. All of our dog teams in Madison are certified annually by the North American Police Working Dog Association (NAPWDA). The certifications were done at a large high school, where the dogs sniffed lockers for the first time, and at the auto salvage yard. Carl and I did our first long line search (on a 15 foot leash), where he was out in front of me sniffing a row of cars. We worked on the downwind side of the cars. There were 12 cars for him to sniff and he quickly found the two that had explosives in them.
Thursday we were at a large mansion working on searches, obedience, and other environmental factors. For example, the dogs have likely not been exposed to large, open, metal stairwells. There is a two story stairwell like this attached to the building. We took our dogs up and down this several times until they were comfortable. The same holds true for dark, narrow stairwells. We’ve done that several times with the dogs. These are environment factors they will experience as they are doing patrol work. Officer Baumgart and K9 Allied also starting doing building searches. The dogs have the ability to locate a suspect inside a building, whether or not they are exposed. If the suspect is hiding behind a door, for example, the dog will sniff the door and bark, letting officers know that the suspect is there.
Friday, we did tracking during the morning hours. Over the lunch break, we were visited by a K9 officer from a nearby agency who had recently lost his K9 partner to gunfire–the dog was killed by a burglary suspect while they were clearing a business that had been broken into. He talked about the details of the call, everything from the tactics he used, things he would do differently to treating his partner after he’d been shot. The presentation was emotional and humbling. A reminder of how these amazing animals help keep us all safe with their selfless service. The officer or officers would have likely been shot by the suspect, but the dog located him first (this was a “routine” burglary call-no idea the suspect was armed with a gun). Also, a reminder for us that there are no “routine” calls. The afternoon consisted of more building searching for Officer Baumgart and Allied. Carl and I learned how to search luggage and packages. It was another busy week of working and learning. Three weeks are in the book. We’ll keep you posted on our progress. Thanks for reading and supporting our unit!
Sergeant Jeff Felt
Our second week of training continued to build on the foundation of the first week of training. In addition to the obedience and searches (explosives and narcotics), we began tracking people. Carl and Allied (and their handlers) had a busy week.
To give you some examples of these different disciplines and the training progression, I’ll start with obedience. The first week, we worked on basic heeling (the dog walking on your left side), having the dog sit and stay down, stay in their respective positions as you moved out in front of the dog. There was also obedience with another dog on the field at the same time with you. This week, the dogs worked on all of these previous skills and also “downing” while we continued to walk. The dogs were also exposed to more distractions (gunfire, for example) and were taken through a series of commands without the handler having the leash.
The searches are increasingly challenging and more complex. For Carl, his explosive searches involved more rooms and larger rooms. One of his searches involved a series of ten rooms, several of the rooms contained no explosive training aids. The searches are unknown to me. I have to focus on my search patterns, watching him work, listening to his breathing patterns, and recognizing when he begins to work the odor of an explosive. I’m also trying to move quickly through the search area focusing on areas that are likely to contain an explosive. There’s a lot to process very quickly. I’m improving, but have a long way to go!
Officer Baumgart is having a similar experience with his narcotics searches with Allied. He’s moved to several different locations, inside and outside. The two of them are searching buildings, rooms and vehicles. One of the locations we both went to this week was a large auto salvage yard, containing hundreds and hundreds of vehicles. We were required to search different sections of the yard and locate our respective explosive or narcotic finds.
We both also began tracking. We are doing relatively short tracks of people. The longest track is 50-75 yards with a couple of turns. Much of this week for us is getting comfortable with preparing the dog to be successful on the track. This preparation includes bringing them up to the track (giving them an idea of what they are doing, smoothly putting on their tracking harnesses–easier said than done) and running the track. You have to make sure the dog has engaged the track and then use great leash discipline on the track.
After training was complete Friday, we also had two tests. These week’s tests covered narcotics and first aid for our dogs. The narcotics test covered everything from search patterns, to types of indications, to types of narcotics and more. The first aid test covered everything from the number of olfactory cells the dog’s have to the symptoms and treatment of a dog if it ingests a narcotic or some other dangerous household items (anti-freeze, for example). We also had to know they symptoms and treatment of other illnesses (bloat and heat stroke) to name a few. Week 2 is in the books. The training for next week will continue to increase in intensity and complexity. We’ll try and provide an update as we can. Thanks for reading. Sergeant Jeff Felt
Officer Jason Baumgart and I are currently at Shallow Creek Kennels, Sharpsville, PA, going through a six week handlers course getting the Madison’s Police Department’s two newest canines, Carl, a single purpose bomb dog and, Allied, a dual purpose patrol dog. This is Officer Baumgart’s first police dog. This will be my second police dog, but first explosive detection dog.
The class began last Monday, March 20th, and will conclude Friday, April 29th. There are 15 other handlers from all over the Midwestern and Eastern part of the country here for the course and their dogs. The first two days of class were spent in the classroom, learning everything from the history of your breed of dog, to principles of training, to genetics and drives, to first aid and recognizing symptoms of different ailments the dog may have and treatment for these various problems. Written tests on covered subject matter are administered each Friday.
Before we first worked with our new partners, we practiced and practiced “dry runs” on automobiles, buildings, and obedience. We worked on search patterns, to help make the transition a bit smoother when we began working with our dog. Needless to say, things haven’t always gone smoothly and all of this is under the guidance of a trainer. We receive constructive feedback on everything we do, from leash holding, to footwork, to the tone of our voice when giving commands or praising our dogs. The training is challenging and rewarding.
The remainder of the week was spent working on narcotics searches for Officer Baumgart and explosive searches for me. We both also began working on basic obedience with our partners. One of the challenges I’ve had is my former partner’s commands were in German, both of these dog’s commands are in Dutch. I’ve inadvertently given several German commands–too much motor memory. I’m trying to get better every day!
Jason and I will try and provide a weekly update of our progress and experience. All of the training was on-site this week. Next week, we’ll be traveling to other venues to expose the handlers and the dogs to different environments and challenges. We’ll be working on other aspects of our training, building on the foundation of this week. We’re looking forward to it!
I’ve attached a couple of pictures of the new dogs. Carl is a German Shepherd and Allied a Belgian Malinois. Both are just under a year and a half old. Stay tuned for updates…..Sergeant Jeff Felt
Green Madison is an effort to reduce energy consumption in the City of Madison. In its first round of an online sustainability game, Cool Choices, concluded in late November achieved cost savings, energy reductions and special recognitions for participants. The online game is part of Green Madison’s city-wide effort to reduce energy consumption and win the $5 million Georgetown University Energy Prize.
More than 850 individual players from over 45 Madison businesses and organizations signed up for the 8-week game. Players formed teams and competed to take the greatest number of sustainable and energy-saving actions. At the conclusion of the game the top three individual players were each awarded a grant to donate to the non-profit of their choice. These grants were sponsored by the Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District and Madison Gas & Electric.
First place winner, Heidi Fleegel, donated her winning grant of $500.00 to Capital K9s, the non-profit organization that raises funds to support the Madison Police Department K9 Unit.
“I took part in the Cool Choices game to be more conscientious of making better choices (no matter how small) to help the environment. It was exciting to take first place and learn that I’d won the opportunity to donate a Green Madison grant to the non-profit of my choice. It’s a good example of how a simple game can create positive ripples in the community,” said Heidi Fleegel, City of Madison Records Clerk.
AppleWood Self Storage provides storage and training opportunities.
Training at his two facilities involves hiding drugs in empty storage units. According to the Madison Police Department, the dogs search for these illegal substances by attempting to detect their odor through closed doors.
“The problem of storage units being used for narcotics has been around for a very long time,” said Tim Zehring, a crime expert who specializes in self-storage facilities. “This is a legitimate problem.”
Owners of self-storage units believe that it makes sense for their facilities to allow police K9 units to train at their premises on a regular basis. This partnership works to:
• Reduce crime
• Attract better tenants
• Chase off the bad guys
• Promote good customer relations
• Stay on top of drug detection
• Demonstrate good corporate citizenship
This arrangement creates a win-win situation. According to owner David Wood, AppleWood Self Storage enjoys “the best occupancy levels” and the Madison Police Department canine unit is provided a quality storage and training venue.
Capital K9s thanks AppleWood Self Storage for this valuable service to the community.
The photos in the slideshow below are from the MPD K9 Unit training conducted on June 29, 2015.
“Our K9 Unit along with Oregon PD K9 and Green County K9 worked with a Brownie troop of 8 girls to better train the K9s to track missing children. The K9s practiced tracking a specific child in a busy neighborhood and the kids learned how the dogs use their noses to find individual people.
Each of the eight K9 teams tracked two different children a few blocks starting at Westminster Church on Nakoma Rd. Each girl was able to follow the tracking team while they worked and walk a path to be found by the K9.
Afterwords, the kids had plenty of questions to ask the K9 handlers about their K9 partners working abilities. It was good training and great fun for all involved.”
Mounds Pet Food Warehouse will sponsor Dog Fest at Angell Park in Sun Prairie on June 14, 2015. Once again, Capital K9s will participate at this delightful event. Click here for more information.
Officers of the Madison Police Department K9 Unit will demonstrate apprehension techniques.
A special treat is to have your photo taken, along with your dog(s), inside a police squad car.
It promises to be a great time for all!
On February 17, 2015, K9 Johnny celebrated his retirement from the Madison Police Department with his friends. Chief of Police Michael Koval praised K9 Johnny for his 10 years of dedicated service. Sgt Chris Boyd recognized both Police Officer Jim Donnell and K9 Johnny for their contributions to safeguard the citizens of Madison.
Thanks for your dedicated service, K9 Johnny! Enjoy your retirement!