THE South African Police Service K9 Academy from Roodeplaat in Pretoria showcased police dogs and their tracking skills at the Tamboekie Festival over the weekend.
Dog trainer Warrant Officer James Hlungwani said dogs received training to deal with different criminal activities.
“We train them to sniff human scent, drugs, explosives, currency and protected species.”
Hlungwana said the academy bred its own dogs, which were dispersed to the other provinces. “We begin with pre-training and after that start official training of the animals with their future handlers in order to develop a bond.”
Training began when they were one year old and lasted for 155 days, from Mondays to Fridays, he said.
Commander display Captain Obed Amese said various types of dogs were used including Jack Russells. “We use them for drug purposes because they are able to move in small spaces. Other breeds of dogs include German shepherds, Belgian malinois, bloodhounds, Labradors and Dobermanns.
Amese said they prayed for dogs and police who were killed in the line of duty. “We treat our dogs with great care because they are like our friends and children to us.”
“Today we showed dogs that can track narcotics and those that can walk on a tightrope because they are not afraid of heights. They also tracked dried abalone, currency and appre- hended a suspect with a gun,” he said.
Other training included biological body fluid which was relevant in rape and murder cases.
“We use rescue dogs to find missing people who might have drowned and cannot be found in a river or dam. We also have tracker dogs that can follow spoor for long distances with their powerful sense of smell.”