German Shepherds are really strong and intelligent. This makes them perfect to be police dogs. Throughout history, there have been stories about brave police dogs.
So, why are German Shepherds considered great police dogs?
German Shepherds are considered great police dogs because of their strong bite force and size, bite drive and high trainability, stamina and athleticism, protection, calm nature, and intelligence.
All of these traits make them suitable for police work.
Why are German Shepherds good police dogs?
Strong bite force and size
German shepherds are big in their size so they can protect and attack effectively.
They need to not be so big that you can’t control them but big enough that they can stop someone.
Their bite force can be determined from their head size. The bigger their head, the harder the bite.
Mainly, the goal of using a German Shepherd as police dogs is to stop a person not cause injury or damage.
Bite drive and trainability
A German Shepherd must be willing to bite and let go on command.
You have to train them to attack and bite on command so your German Shepherd knows when to attack and when to stop.
If you want to know more about how to train a German Shepherd to attack on command, check How to train a German Shepherd to Attack on Command?
Stamina and athleticism
German Shepherds are really strong dogs who have lots of stamina and are very athletic. They can go on long hours of working without getting tired.
As they are trained and exercised, they become faster and quicker. They tend to be very athletic which can help them in tough situations during police work.
Also, they possess above-average strength of a 60 to 80 Ibs average weight dog so they are really strong.
Protection is in their nature
A German Shepherd is very protective of their loved ones. They were also used as herding dogs so they were used to protect and guard sheep.
As they evolved, this trait of protectiveness stayed with them and can be seen in times in danger such as when there is a threat.
Protectiveness is highly needed during police work so they are better suited to work in the police.
German Shepherds have a very calm and balanced temperament; they don’t get nervous easily.
This can make them good family dogs as well as great police dogs. As for being police dogs, they tend to be calm during rough situations where there is danger.
They can calmly act and defend people in danger. In so many cases, they can actually sacrifice themselves to protect others from danger.
A German Shepherd is a very intelligent dog. They are ranked as the third smartest dog breed in the world where you can teach them new commands very easily.
To know more facts about German Shepherd, check Top 25 Interesting German Shepherd Facts and Myths that will Blow Your Mind
Were German Shepherds bred as police dogs?
German Shepherds have a long history in the police. In the 1900s, they were bred to be working dogs where they were used as military and police dogs.
The German Shepherd breed became the breed that we know today because of Max Von Stephanitz who bred the German Shepherd for traits such as intelligence, loyalty, and persistence.
In 1910, Max Von Stephanitz approached police departments asking them if they are interested in them working as police dogs.
German Shepherds were tested in terms of tactic work, protection, and tracking.
These tests were a success leading them to work in the military and police in Europe and around the world.
During World War 1, German Shepherds were used in the war.
Because of their intelligence and obedience training, they went on to work as messengers, Red Cross dogs, and ammunition carriers during the war.
To know more about the origin of a German Shepherd, check The History, Origin, and Profile of a German Shepherd Dog.
How do they select a police dog?
The criteria to select a police dog depends on looking for a dog with a natural prey drive.
It all starts with the breeders. Breeders will usually train and test the entire litter of puppies at only the age of 6 weeks old to see if they have that drive.
There is one technique that breeders use where they throw a ball and see if the German Shepherd puppy will retrieve it or not.
Many puppies lose interest in getting the puppy and give up on it in favor of something more interesting.
While a puppy with a high prey drive will keep on moving until they catch it; they won’t lose interest at all.
The breeder’s technique is the first action that determines whether a dog is suitable for police work or not.
A German Shepherd with a high prey drive is then trained and used in police work.
What are the roles for a police German Shepherd?
One of the major roles of a German Shepherd attack police dog is to attack on sight and command.
They are trained to assess the situation and take action accordingly.
Due to their high intelligence, they are able to determine threats even when their handler doesn’t see them.
First, they must be trained in obedience training so they can obey basic commands and listen to their handler at all times.
This is crucial so when they attack and get a hold of someone, aa German Shepherd can let them go when the handler tells them to do so without causing great injury.
A German Shepherd dog who isn’t trained in basic obedience training will be out of control in dangerous situations and may cause lots of harm.
Another advantage of having a German Shepherd as police dogs is that they are herding dogs which is a trait that benefits them when protecting people.
2.) Search and rescue
In the search and rescue, German Shepherds work to find suspects, missing people, or objects.
They are often used to find missing people in really harsh environments such as natural disasters.
People can be lost or kidnapped so a search and rescue German Shepherd works to find them.
Not only can they find living people, but they can also find the remains of dead people. They can also search through the rubble after an explosion, earthquake, or any disaster.
German Shepherds dogs are known to cover a very large area in a very short period of time when locating searching for people.
This is a major advantage because they get the job done with precision and quickness.
German Shepherds have a really strong sense of smell where they can detect drugs, explosives, accelerants, and other crime scene evidence.
These dogs are able to perform their tasks anywhere and are used in airports, entries for explosives and illegal drugs, cars that are pulled over, and large events for explosives.
The famous story of the German Shepherd who saved a police cop’s life
A dog named Finn proved to be a great an exceptional police dog when he saved a police cop’s life named Dave from an attacker with a knife that tried to rob a bank in 2016.
Here is a passage quoted from his book about Finn ” I think dogs have been saving my life all my life. And one dog in particular. My fabulous Finn. “
Finn was chasing down the robber and was persistent until he caught him. He grabbed the robber’s lower leg in his mouth.
Hoping to escape, the robber flipped on his back. However, the robber had a long knife and started to attack Finn with a knife.
When Dave confronted the robber, he lunged to attack Dave. Finn quickly continued to hold the robber’s leg ferociously.
The attacker couldn’t hit Dave but managed to injure and open Finn’s head. Dave had some injuries too but they weren’t as serious as Finn’s.
As quoted from his book ” Despite that, Finn was still pulling heroically on the male’s leg, something I think stunned him into lying on his back again. “
Other police officers came and the robber was arrested. Finn was rushed to the emergency and was saved. Dave’s injuries were also treated.
Because of this heroic German Shepherd, Dave’s life was saved.
How to train a German Shepherd in police work?
Before starting out, you got to check your German Shepherd’s temperament.
If your German Shepherd’s temperament is anxious and scared, you must not force them to go through the required training.
You got to check out if they have any injury or illness. If they do have an injury or illness, you got to treat them first before going into training.
Training to attack
Get someone to supervise
You got to get a professional trainer to supervise the attack training so you don’t get hurt.
Wear either a sleeve protector or a bodysuit so you protect yourself fully. Never train your dog without these equipment as you can get badly hurt.
Pick a command word
You got to use a command word for your German Shepherd when you want them to attack. Pick a unique word that your German Shepherd can easily grasp.
Encourage the use of teeth
Let your German Shepherd dog bite into the protective sleeve or bodysuit. Reward them when they use their teeth to bite.
Holding and releasing
Train your dog to hold into the bite until you ask them to stop. The longer the time is, the better.
Teach your dog to release when you tell them a command to stop biting. This command should be unique so your dog will stop biting and return to you.
Search and rescue training
Hide an object
Teach your dog to find an object by showing one to your dog and then hiding it nearby.
Use a toy or treat to reward your German Shepherd after finding the object.
Teach your dog a verbal command
Use commands such as “search” and “find it” whenever you want your dog to search for something based on scent.
Start in a simple way
You can start indoors or in the backyard where you keep objects hidden nearby. Reward your German Shepherd wherever they find the object.
As your dog learns effectively, increase the length and distance of the search.
You can use people instead of objects.
Familiarize them with a specific object
Introduce your dog to a particular object so they will be able to identify it. Don’t use multiple objects as your dog won’t know which object you are asking to identify.
Hide the object
Hide the object under something that conceals it entirely. This is done so your dog will detect the object later.
Reward your dog
Whenever your dog finds the object, reward them with treats and praise.
Complicate the search
Use multiple objects with the object that you want them to find. When they find the object that you want them to find, reward them immediately.
Are German Shepherds used as sniffer dogs?
Yes, German Shepherds are great sniffer dogs. Even though all dogs have a strong sense of smell, German Shepherds rank near the top in their scenting ability.
So, they make great police and detection dogs where they are known for bomb and drug-sniffing work and search and rescue work.
They can actually sniff things and find missing people when they are very hard to find.
Why are German Shepherds used as guard dogs?
German Shepherds are used as guard dogs because they are very courageous, keen, alert, and fearless which makes them excellent guard dogs.
They are quick to action barking and, in some cases, attacking intruders.
They have high protective instincts which makes them the perfect guard dogs because they will guard and protect.
Also, they are ranked as one of the best breeds in terms of intelligence where they think very fast in dangerous situations.
In police work, they can be used to guard over facilities and buildings that require protection.
1.) Can you pet police dogs?
The handler may ask you not to pet the dog stating no touch, no talk, or no eye contact.
This is crucial so the dog doesn’t get distracted by petting or attention which can cause their partner to fail.
2.) Can you adopt a retired police dog?
In most cases, Police dogs are the first choice for their handlers.
However, there are also cases where civilians can adopt a police dog such as when a dog handler passes away or they can’t care for them.
There is no organization dedicated to adopting retired police dogs.
German Shepherds are great police dogs. There are many reasons that make them good police dogs.
They have key roles such as being used in attacking, detection, and search and rescue.
Share your opinion. Do you think police dogs are brave?