Posted 4 months ago ago
We speak a lot about the fantastic work of our police dogs - they’re real heroes - but often overlooked are the amazing efforts of security dogs.
While they might not hold police-dog status, they too work extremely hard in helping to keep us safe.
We might not hear about them as often but these heroic dogs also need celebrating.
They protect property, search for drugs, sniff out explosives...and while not on official police business, they’ll often be there at high-profile events and festivals with the sight of them alone often enough to deter people up to no good.
That’s why we wanted to find out more about what these brave working dogs get up to, and what it actually means to be a security dog.
So, we spoke to the experts at K9 patrol to hear all about their four-legged colleagues, including what goes into training.
They told us that the most important elements of training a security dog are ‘positivity, motivation and consistency’.
What do security dogs actually do?
A security dog can wear many hats in terms of their assignments.
K9 Patrol’s general purpose and static security guard dogs are trained in article tracking, building searches, find and locate and handler protection.
The business also has drug and explosive detection dogs.
A spokesperson told us: "The dog teams at K9 Patrol are highly trained to search people, vehicles and buildings to safeguard residential or business premises, festivals and events.
“But it takes the right breeding, as well as time and effort put into the right training, for security and guard dogs to reach their full potential.”
How are security dogs trained?
The K9 Patrol spokesperson said: “Once a dog is selected and recognised for having the potential characteristics of an excellent security dog, these characteristics need to be strengthened.
“The main ways this is done is through a combination of socialisation and obedience training.”
Socialisation is vital. The team at K9 Patrol said: “During the early age of 8 – 12 weeks, when the dog is a puppy, it is essential that it is exposed to as many new people, animals, objects and places as possible.
“This process of socialisation must then continue throughout the canine’s life. In doing this, it allows the dog to be able to cope with changing people and situations. It also helps to build their confidence.
“Common security dog breeds (such as German Shepherds and Labrador Retrievers) are naturally wary of new people, objects, and surroundings. Because of this, socialisation is especially important for them, so that they can be able to communicate effectively with humans if they sense an intruder or need to communicate information.”
Once a puppy has been well socialised, obedience training can begin.
“A security dog’s obedience training also begins when they are a puppy, once they have been properly socialised and comes in the form of motivation-based training,” said the spokesperson for K9 Patrol.
“Motivation-based training means creating an environment where the dog has a desire to perform an exercise. The trainee dog then actively tries to understand what the trainer is trying to teach him.
“It is crucial that the dog has a solid foundation of obedience skills and reliably performs them in all environments as this replicates real-life scenarios they may one day be put in.
“The most important elements for training security dogs are positivity, motivation and consistency.”
What breeds are most commonly used for security?
Although the main breed that springs to mind when thinking about security dogs are German Shepherds, there are other dogs who are also up for the job.
- Doberman Pinscher
- Rhodesian Ridgeback
- German Shepherd
- Staffordshire Terrier
Our dogs are very loyal animals and it’s in their instinct to want to protect their owner, it’s just that some are better at it than others.