Monday, May 9, 2011
Work and Play
Some dogs love to sniff out drugs, locate explosives, and dig for contraband. This type of work is their play for K-9 dogs.
Mark Rispoli, owner and president of Makor K-9 Training Center in Napa, California, trains and selects dogs for these purposes and more, including search and rescue, patrol work, and personal protection.
He says when choosing a dog to train, he looks for dogs with a high retrieve and play drive. They also must be confident and not skittish, and able to work well around loud sounds and people. But most important, they must love to hunt and investigate with a pure desire to find what they are looking for.
He usually selects herding and hunting dogs such as German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois, retrievers, shepherds, and mixes of these type. He looks everywhere for just the right dog considering that only about one in 25 dogs makes the cut.
Since his dogs are sometimes used for life-threatening jobs, he is very selective in finding the right dog who meets the task with enthusiasm. The dog must be outgoing and think of his job as a game.