I recently had the opportunity to speak with Deputy Patrick Hayes of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department about his work with K-9’s. Deputy Hayes is with the Special Enforcement Bureau, and has had 2 dogs since with the Sheriffs; Geloo (pronounced like Jell-O but with a g) Von Berkenshoff, who was a long- haired German Shepherd and his new partner, Rex.
Deputy Hayes was previously in the Air Force for eight and one half years and had about nine different K-9’s that he worked with during that time. I asked him how he felt the practice of keeping the K-9’s in kennels as some police departments and the military do compares to keeping the K-9 with the handlers as LA County does. In his opinion it is far better to keep the dog with the handler. When he was in the military he never got attached to any of the dogs, and when he transferred to a different base, the dog stayed where it was. He developed a much stronger bond with Geloo by having him live with him.
Geloo was partnered with Deputy Hayes for six years, until he passed away on November 30, 2000, and his partner, as well as the community will sorely miss him. He was titled in Schutzhund (protection) and was used strictly as a protection dog and for suspect searches. During his six years as a police dog, Geloo had to have surgery three times for bloat and torsion, which is a dangerous condition, in which the stomach twists up. . In Los Angeles, the dogs do not have a police badge number, although their handlers give them Police Identification Cards. And unfortunately Los Angeles County does not give these brave officers full honors when they die. Los Angeles does not have a cemetery for them, as some police departments do.
Our thanks go out to the Palmdale Veterinary Clinic, who collected the funds to have Geloo cremated and donated back to Deputy Hayes when he passed on.
After losing Geloo, Deputy Hayes went to Europe with Dave Reaver, who is a trainer for police dogs. They brought back with them twenty-seven dogs for various departments with in the sheriffs, including two for Special weapons, one of whom is Deputy Hayes’ new partner Rex.
Rex, (yes that is his whole name, apparently the Dutch don’t believe in giving long names) is a two year old Belgian Malinois who is untitled. He completed his KNPB (the Dutch equivalent of Schutzhund) training in Denmark, and was ready for his PBH1 title, but has completed no title work. He is also extremely affectionate and playful when on a break from duty, or off duty. (He seemed to think the camera and tape recorders were there for him to play with)
Rex is also used strictly for searching for hidden suspects, although there is the possibility that he will be cross-trained in the future for drug searches as well.
In the state of California, it is a felony to harm a police dog, and a misdemeanor to harass or tease them.
When asked if he had any final statements about the use of K-9 partners, this is what Deputy Hayes had to say, “The dogs are a great asset to the force. They are a great tool and make our job safer by providing a safer environment for not only the officers, but the suspect as well when we use them rather than a Deputy to search for a suspect. There is far less injury and conflict when we use the dog as a search tool and the dogs are generally not used as an apprehension tool. The bite is the last step we take when apprehending a suspect, they usually give themselves up prior to our having to use the bite, which is our goal.”
I want to thank Deputy Hayes for his time, and the LA County Sheriff’s Department for allowing this interview. Geloo, we miss you and hope you are enjoying your time over the “Rainbow Bridge”. And Rex…welcome to the community and to the Sheriff’s Department…may you do your job well, and prosper.
Bringing Your New Puppy Home
As in deciding which breed is right for you, there are a few simple steps to making your new puppy’s homecoming a successful one.
One of the first things that I always try to caution people on when they purchase or adopt a puppy, is to not bring the puppy home during the holidays. This is a very busy and sometimes stressful time for people, so imagine if you were a puppy, coming into a new situation. I understand…puppies make wonderful gifts (if the person receiving the puppy truly wants one) but rather than bring the puppy itself home, try giving the pedigree and contract/or adoption papers. Along with that you may want to consider a leash and collar, dog bed, bowl, toys, etc. Then after the holiday confusion is over, welcome your new addition to the family home.
The other major consideration before bringing puppy home, is whether or not there has been Parvo in your area. Since this disease is very contagious and can lie dormant in the ground, and can be fatal we suggest the following.
1) Always make sure your puppy has the proper inoculations.
2) Clean any out door areas where the puppy might go with a bleach and water solution. The American Veterinary association recommends a 30-1 mixture. (This is also safe for grass)
Getting through the first week
You’ve brought your new family member home, so how do you make the transition to your household easier.
1) Make sure that you get a couple of day’s worth of food from the breeder, if you don’t plan on using the same food. You are going to want to mix this with the puppies’ new food, or they may have some diarrhea problems. Your best bet is to try to continue to use they same brand of dog food the breeder was using.
2) To keep the puppy comfortable at night, give the puppy an old blanket that smells like you, and by putting an old alarm clock in with puppy, the noise will soothe him. I suggest placing the blanket and clock in a crate, as this will simulate not only a “den” for the pup, but also mom’s heartbeat (clock’s ticking). Just make sure the alarm isn’t set.
3) Allow the puppy plenty of time to rest. Children love to play with the new puppy, but they need to understand that he is still a baby, and needs to rest. (We are back to the same story of too much excitement)
4) Take puppy frequently to the area that is designated as his “potty zone”. Tell him to “potty” or whatever term you are going to use, but be consistent with the term, and be sure to praise him when he goes.
5) Bond with the puppy. Spend plenty of time with him, but still allow frequent rest periods. Make sure that he is socialized with all the members of your household.
Once your puppy is comfortable with you and your family, and has all of his necessary shots; you can begin to socialize him outside of the home. I am not saying that friends shouldn’t come over, although they should make sure their hands are clean before handling your pup…especially if they have dogs themselves. Socialization is one of the most important aspects in raising a well-adjusted dog. PetSmart is a great place to socialize your dog.
Next month…Potty training, crate training and socialization.