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Police pups repawting for duty

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Tasmania's proving to be a popular breeding destination for the next generation of police dogs.

Four German Shepherds are leaving their Tasmanian foster families today, heading all around the country to help fight crime.

On average, only about 1 in 10 pooches make it to the first stages of training, but Huon Valley K9 currently has a 100 percent success rate in their program with Tasmania Police, which has now been running for 12 months.

"We absolutely do get attached, but considering they'll be working, they're having a really fulfilling life so they actually love the job," Trainer Ben Barnes said. 

"While we are a little bit sad to see them go, knowing how much fun they're going to have being a police dog, it's also really heartening".

The dogs will soon begin training, two in the Northern Territory where the police dog program is run by New Zealand Police and two at Queensland Corrections Service.

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“Last year Tasmania Police and Victoria Police developed a pilot program to foster and train the Tasmanian-bred German Shepherd puppies before they would potentially commence training as general purpose police dogs,” Sergeant Iain Shepherd from the Tasmania Police Dog Handlers Unit said.

“Victoria Police took one puppy, Ralph, directly into their development program. Three further puppies were fostered by officers from Tasmania Police and have successfully learnt obedience and how to track, search, and bite and release on command.

“Despite the serious nature of their training over the last 12 months, the dogs have retained their wonderful sociable nature and still love a pat. Service dogs are required to be extremely stable and comfortable in all environmental conditions.”

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