Dobermann Pinscher ‘Bubbly’, 16 months old, joins the dog squad at Mangaluru Police Station
Mangaluru: If you go to the police commissioner’s office and wander around the back compound, chances are you’ll hear barking coming from the kennel, where trained police dogs are housed in comfortable and spacious rooms, with fans. running all the time to keep them cool. The sound of dogs barking in the distance is uplifting. One of them says something out loud, but somehow you can tell that the complaint is about something insignificant. With all the order and sylvanity on campus and the prospect of meeting these adorable squad dogs, it’s easy to forget that Mangaluru & DK’s police dogs have a serious and dangerous job. They assist the police in a way that neither man nor machine can. The dogs’ friendliness belies their ferocity. They are trained to throw themselves through glass, break into terrorist hideouts, and confront armed criminals. To do this, they must be agile and strong and be a weapon for the police.
16 month old Dobermann Pinscher ‘Bubbly’
Not being natural subjects or defenders of the Indian Penal Code, police dogs do what they do because they are creatures of duty and are devoted to their master; this last reason being the pivot of all the doctrine of the police dog. Indeed, being devoted to duty and having the discipline to follow orders is the whole doctrine of uniformed services. The Canine Squad, attached to the Mangaluru Police Station, completed a decade last year, and unlike other canine squads across the state, the Mangaluru Police Canine Squad was the first squad state canine dedicated to the detection of narcotic substances (Bengaluru had its first canine squad to detect drugs in 2017). In 2011, when Seemant Kumar Singh was Police Commissioner (the FIRST Police Commissioner of Mangalore Police Station who took office in 2010), two purebred Labrador Retriever male puppies were purchased from a breeding center in Kannur in Kerala to strengthen its new Anti-Narcotics Cell.
“BUBBLY” seen with handlers Armed Head Constable (276) Kushalappa Poojary (left) and Armed Police Constable (2664) Ravi Gowda
And now a 16-month-old Doberman Pinscher named ‘Bubbly’ has joined the police dog squad at Mangaluru Police Station (K-9) after completing his training at the Army Reserve Dog Training Center in the Bengaluru city. Bubbly now becomes the third member of the police dog squad and he will be used for crime detection. Bubbly will be managed by Armed Chief Constable Kushalappa Poojary and Armed Police Constable Ravi Gowda. Bubbly is joined by the oldest dog on the team, an 11-year-old Labrador Retriever “Geeta”, and another member of the team is a 17-month-old Labrador Retriever “Rani”. Geeta and Rani are used to detect explosives.
A statement released by Police Commissioner N Shashi Kumar said a fourth member of the Dobermann team, four-month-old Ruby, will be sent shortly for crime detection training at the center with his handler. Police are looking for another dog to fill the team’s fifth vacancy. The fifth dog will be supplemented for narcotics. Speaking to Team Mangalorean, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Hariram Shankar said: “Despite advances in technology, dog teams are an integral part of policing. In heinous cases like murders and robberies, we always rely on dogs for the first clues. Public confidence also doubles when a dog team visits the scene. This shows the importance we place on the case. The Commissioner of Mangaluru has a well-equipped kennel and we have written to the police headquarters to upgrade the infrastructure in the canine squad building”.
The life of a dog in the Mangaluru Police Canine Team includes exercises like running on the police parade ground which starts as early as 6:30 am. During the morning session, dogs are also busy tracking objects. They are walked in the evening. The government has approved an expenditure of Rs 300 per day for each dog which includes their food (Pedigree food, egg, half liter milk, Ragi etc for breakfast) and lunch/dinner which includes mutton mixed with rice. Enjoy your lunch! The dog handlers, in addition to giving them training, also take care of their health. Currently, Mangaluru Police Station has four dogs, including Bubbly.
Dog handlers seen in photo LR: Kushalappa Poojary; Sudha (Doberman); Dinesh (Armed Police Chief-DK); Ganesh (reserve sub-inspector); Sharath (Armed Police Officer-DK); Gita (Labrador); and Ravi Gowda
It follows that the relationship between a dog and its handler is nurtured from an early age, and through a system of reward – never punishment, we learn – dogs are inducted into strength. The Mangalorean team also learned that discipline is at the heart of strength whether human or canine and that the nature of dogs fits easily into ethics. While these dogs undergo rigorous training in Bengaluru before being put into service, the various exercises include such as jumping over obstacles, crawling through tunnels, jumping through hoops, marching in place with the handler- dog, alert and ready to attack, displaying speed, agility, strength and above all, an unconditional sense of duty and purpose. The dogs are also trained by the masters to greet senior officers, to sit, to stand, to rest, to sleep etc. And all for little more than a – literally – a pat on the back.
Explaining the trusting relationship between dogs and handlers, handlers Kushalappa and Harish said the only thing that works with dogs is reward. They said the idea that dogs shouldn’t be shown too much affection – lest they get limp – was incorrect. “Our dogs are sometimes better than humans, they don’t ask for anything in return and just love and affection,” Kushalappa added. “We never beat the dogs. Our dogs are like our children. They respond much better to treats and appreciation. We would never hit them. They react when we change our tone. Raising our voice is the extent of the punishment they receive from us. said Harish.
“Bubbly” when he was three months old with his master
Their days begin around 6:30 a.m. when the dog handlers arrive to take the dogs out of the kennel. The dogs are well rested and eager to meet their masters. The masters “belong” to the dogs. They develop a relationship with them as soon as they are puppies. Kushalappa is very attached to dogs, like their shadows, they are trained to take all their orders from him. An example of the harmonious relationship between dog and handler can be seen in the videos here in the report. In a terrorist situation, the dogs must take every step with the handler. Currently, Labradors and Dobermans are of the force. Each with a special skill for which they are trained. These can be sniffers, security, explosives and narcotics detection or terrorism. These dogs are recruited as puppies and then observed for a week. Once their characteristics become more apparent, they are trained to improve that skill.
Being a dog lover and owner of four dogs, I asked for some tips on how to train and get to know a dog better, for which Kushalappa said, “Once you’re able to read your dog’s characteristics, it’s all about to favor it. Take a few extra days or even a month to think about getting a dog. Consider the size of your home, the size of your family, your income, before choosing a dog. They are a commitment and they depend on you and your eternal love. That’s all they have for you in return. Observe your dog for a week. Once you see if they are playful, lazy, notorious, thirsty, etc., you will know how to react and take care of them. DO NOT be harsh on your pet. It hurts them more than we will ever know. Give them treats. This motivates the dog to respond to us better.” Wow, now I’m ready to train my doggies at home. Maybe one day I’ll be proud to say that my cuties are as driven and smart as police K9s!
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