I once again had an unforgettable experience to come on a ride along with Officer Carswell and his tracking K9 Joker. Joker is a 97 pound male German Shepherd who has been with Officer Carswell for a few years. As a “dog person” it is a very noticeable connection and teamwork between them. To become a police dog and to keep the title, these dogs have to go through a long process and very few pass.
I saw first hand what many people take for granted. Most people know that Police dogs are part of any well equipped Police Department and know that they “do what they do”.
Well – to me the appreciation goes much deeper than that.
The level of the drive to work, energy level, willingness to please their handler, - are present in all dogs. However – in some dogs these levels are high and in other dogs they are low, or there is a combination. All these levels are VERY high with a Police dog and that is how a dog like Joker is so successful with Officer Carswell.
Watching these high levels of drive with Joker, made me think of dogs I work with on a daily basis. There are many dogs I work with that are referred to by their owners as “bad dogs”. They bark, dig, jump on people, chase their tails, runs off…the list goes on…Is this a “bad dog” or is this just a dog with a high level of work-drive and energy who is desperately trying to “get a job” to do?
I have always tried to be aware each dog’s individual level of drive, energy, and willingness to please, when working with client’s dog’s with either training or behavior-related concerns in order to achieve the best success with each dog. Having this last experience with the Police K9 Unit, made it even more clear and important to me to be aware of these levels in order to establish happiness and contentment with pet dogs and therefore eliminate behavioral problems.
Besides the obvious educational experience I have spending time with Officer Carswell and Joker I also got to participate while Joker practiced a building search. I would go and hide in a room and Joker would be sent in to find me. For a high-drive dog such as Joker, it took no time until he had my arm in his mouth (yes – with a sleeve of course). On command he would let go. His reward is the sleeve.
His amazing drive to work, follow his nose and to stay on task is a sight to be seen.
There are dogs like Joker all over our country doing amazing things. I hope that more people will realize the work that these dogs do to protect and serve us and to keep our officers safe. Dogs are amazing animals and a dog’s nose will never be replaced by anything else.
I am always appreciative of every opportunity I get to learn more about dogs and I think that there is still so much we can learn from dogs as long as we are open to the possibility.
So, – when you look at your dog laying at your feet, or a dog walking down the street, perhaps – you may see something more than “just a dog” – I hope you will see a amazing being.
Thank you Officer Carswell and Joker and the Monroe Police Department for again an unforgettable experience!