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The training behind becoming a police K9 unit

Posted: 9:47 AM, Oct 17, 2018
Updated: 2018-10-17 16:46:42Z

Too nice for the job? Not so fast when it comes to police K-9s!

It's the perfect balance of instinct, aggression, and most importantly, discipline. 

"You can train a dog at any age," explained George Daniolos, a Valley dog trainer and owner of K-9 Defense. Daniolos' company trains dozens of dogs each year for agencies across the Valley, including the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office. 

One of the traits he looks for may actually surprise you. 

"We look for dogs that are very outgoing and social," he explained. "It's a misconception that police dogs have to be mean and it's actually the opposite." 

ABC15 got the chance to see "Canela" in action. She's a Belgian Malinois who can sniff for drugs just as easily as she can sniff out the bad guys.  

Daniolos said it's about training dogs to use their instincts and knowing when to switch them off. 

"Your best fighters aren't necessarily mean people. They're usually very friendly, very confident, and they're not looking for fights. And the same is true for a dog," Daniolos said. 

But what happens when all that training doesn't work? It's rare, but Daniolos says it still happens.  

In this case, Daniolos tells us the dogs may be able to go into other types of service, get re-homed, or sometimes, even become therapy dogs, still giving these pups a sense of purpose.

"Even if it doesn't work out specifically for our program, it still is going to be a good companion for someone."

For example, the City of Phoenix is expected to vote on a grant Wednesday that would bring an "arson K9" to the Phoenix Fire Department.

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