The life of a police dog

August 31, 2008 · Print This Article

From the Minneapolis-St Paul Star Tribune:  Gunner, a 2-year old German Shepherd spends his nights cruising the streets of Blaine, MN as part of a police K-9 team.  Off-duty, he’s just another dog…or is he?

The other half of the team is K-9 handler Greg Rowe, who shares his home with wife Janet, daughter Kayla, two other dogs, a cat, and a fish.  The family points out that Gunner is a great K-9, meaning that he’s not such a great house dog.  Mom Janet says, “He’s a one-man wrecking crew, that dog,” pointing out that chasing bad guys doesn’t train you to be careful of household belongings.

Another problem is that Gunner gets to go all over the city, picking up whatever contagious bugs, fleas, or whatever else might be lurking out there.  The family worries about their other dogs, Jake and Daisy.  As a result, Gunner spends most of his time outside, playing with Kayla and sleeping in an insulated kennel under the deck.

When Gunner sees Greg in his uniform or catches sight of the squad car, he switches to work mode, which is hard for Kayla.  She has trouble thinking of the dog as a “tool” rather than as a pet.  Nonetheless, she helps to care for all three dogs and loves to play tug-of-war with Gunner.  She says the dog does make her feel safer in her house, and that he has always been gentle.  She and Gunner both enjoy it when Kayla brushes him.

This connection to humans other than his handler has helped Gunner to become socialized. “I’m really lucky with Gunner,” Kayla said. “He likes playing. He’s just like any other dog.”

“Except that he has a job,” her mom added, laughing. “He pays for his food.”

In related news, kudos to Stephanie Michaud, an RCMP constable recently named Canada’s top dog handler!  Last month, Michaud became the first female handler to win the 2008 Can-Am Police-Fire Games’ Canadian Police Canine Association Championship Dog Trials in its 27-year history.

 Until next time,

Good day, and good dog!






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