DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — The Dothan K9 unit is holding its 25th annual K9 training seminar this week for K9 handlers and dogs from across the country.
The dogs and their handlers are put to the test this week, from learning new skills to competing for the top spot as the seminar goes on.
For a lot of these handlers, it is another way to get better at their jobs and strengthen their bond with their furry counterpart.
“It’s a pretty emotional thing when you retire a dog, when you lose a dog,” Dothan Police Lieutenant W.E. Wozniak said. “You know, it’s just a lot of these guys spend more time with their dogs than they do with their family, and that’s the thing everybody has to understand, but if you want to be successful, you have to put in the time, and you have to put in the work.”
Dothan K9 lost one dog last summer and just had two new dogs, Tirion and Hank, come onto the force.
This training is beneficial to all trainers and dogs in attendance, some coming from as far as Houston, Texas, and Carmel, Indiana.
“Well, Dothan is a great seminar because you get a lot of different dog teams from all over the country,” said Jason Kolbe, a handler for the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office. “They do a lot of hands on training and bring in some fantastic instructors from across the country which help learn different trends and training methods to make our dogs better on the roads every day.”
All the dogs were run through multiple search scenarios, and each dog is specified to either narcotics, explosives, or patrol. The trainers learned everything from handling techniques to tone usage.
At the end of the day, it’s all about making themselves and their dogs better to keep communities safe,
“So that’s what we work hard for,” Wozniak said. “Our guys train and work hard to keep the citizens here safe.”