These are some of the most frequently asked questions about police K-9s.

Q: How will my donation help Northland K-9s?

A: Donations to the AMSOIL Northland K-9 Foundation help with the initial purchase/training cost associated with a new K-9. You may designate your gift to go toward the next K-9 purchase, or specify if you’d like it to be used by a specific department. Be assured: Our Board members are all volunteers, and necessary operating expenses are often covered by in-kind donations. This keeps our overhead costs to a bare minimum and ensures your donation is used as intended – to help law enforcement K-9 programs.

Q: Is my contribution tax deductible?

A: Absolutely.

Q: Where do the dogs live?

A: The dogs live and work with their human partner. Once an officer and K-9 are paired, there are only a handful of days that they are not together.

Q: How long do the dogs work as K-9s?

A: A police K-9’s career is mostly dependent on the dog’s health. If a dog is able to stay healthy and injury-free, they usually work about 8 to 10 years.

Q: Why do so many of the dogs come from overseas?

A: The breeding standards are usually better in Europe, which translates to a healthier dog who is less prone to injury. This ensures the dog can live as long and happy of a life as possible. Many European-bred police dogs have high play drive, strong focus, and are specifically suited to the demands of police work.

Q: How are dogs selected to do police work?

A: A dog is picked for a variety of reasons. Perhaps the most important attribute the dog needs to have is a strong play-drive. The dogs are rewarded with toys, praise and playtime, so a dog must to do anything in his power to get his reward. If the dog is indifferent to toys or rewards, it is hard to create an incentive for him to do his job.

Q: How long does it take to train a police dog?

A: A dog usually already has anywhere from eight months to more than a year of training when he gets paired with his handler. From there, the pair is trained together as a K-9 “team” (dog and handler), which usually is an additional three to six months of training. After the team is deemed “street-ready”, the team must continue to train together a minimum of 16 hours per month. In addition, the handler and K-9 must complete an annual certification to prove they are up to regional and national standards.

Q: How are police K-9s trained in suspect apprehension and in locating contraband?

A: Modern law enforcement K-9 training utilizes praise and reward as the basis of training. Because of this, dogs are eager to do a task and will often be wagging their tail as they make an apprehension!