Training The World’s Toughest Police Dogs

Here at TorchLight, we train and prepare dogs and canine handlers for going into work in law enforcement. Whenever you’re ready feed him a grip. We’re exclusively focused on dogs that tend to be a little extra than your average pet. Good job V. Yeah, ankle. Yeah. We breed Belgian Malinois, they get patrol guards better, they’re easier to handle. They typically have a lot more… endurance They’re extremely fast and powerful. They average between 60 and 75 pounds. This is Joker. Joker is a Finnish dog waiting to go to his department, sole purpose narcotics. Big Malinois super nice dog, super affable. This is Onyx. Onyx belongs to a sheriff’s office about an hour from here. And we’re just kind of finishing up some training for them on him, we should be done in a couple of weeks. And some of these dogs, genetically are, I hate to use the term aggressive, but they’re, they have to have some of that say “Hi,” buddy.

We breed them and raise them. So… from the time they’re puppies, I make them jump on things I make them go through things. I teach them about handler involvement and how they should interact with people, how they shouldn’t interact with people. So… the training can take anywhere from… 10 to 20-ish weeks, before we pass them off to the handler, and it’s always difficult to see them leave. That’s… definitely the hardest. One of the things we teach the dogs to do is searching vehicles for explosives or narcotics, which is what we’ve got a lot of these old cars for where we also use these vehicles for conditioning the dogs for felony stops, getting through the windows, and all that kind of stuff and the dogs have to be able to go to a car without an officer having to expose themselves from cover and concealment, which is the ultimate goal.

Male Speaker: Driver exit the vehicle. Male Speaker: Last warning Male Speaker: Send him. Ted: This building here, is also one of our main buildings where we teach. It’s a huge 15,000 square foot building. With tons of hiding spaces inside it’s nice and dark. So it’s a great place to teach inexperienced training dogs and handlers how to clear structure correctly and how to clear a structure with the dog.

Ted: We do basically three phases of work. One is detection. So it’s teaching dogs to find things. Two is tracking people that have run off, that are lost. Male Speaker: Go, go, go, go, go! Ted: And then we go through the other process of teaching the dog to bite. I jokingly say that I teach dogs to find stuff and bite people. [Laughs] Dogs in law enforcement are used as a detection tool. Whether it’s locating contraband, explosives, locating people, the government spent a bazillion dollars on trying to make a machine that does it and they still can’t beat the dog’s nose.

They can smell things we can’t and they can hear things we can’t. So… inside these boxes is actual narcotic odors. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been bit, I’ve got several scars all over my arms, I’ve got a bad one on my leg, I was bit, pretty severely required a bunch of stitches.

They bite people for living that’s what they do. So sometimes it happens. and yeah, it hurts. It’s not fun. I’m a decoy, my first passion in this thing is decoying, which is the guy that gets bit. Ted: So Alesha, she is my fiancé, she kind of keeps the whole show together. Working and then being an actual relationship with somebody can be very trying at times, although I wouldn’t change anything though. Alesha: I’m kind of all about the gore. I want that moment of, of getting to bandage him back together. Ted: Of course, we have to have dogs that are aggressive. I often say that these dogs have been bred for, you know, about 100 years.

We’ve created dogs genetically that have the propensity for high levels of violence, which is needed when you’re apprehending somebody that intends to do harm to somebody. Alesha: Everything about this job, it’s gratifying. We are a part of protecting our communities. And that’s it, that’s very important to me. We get to play with dogs for a living, and it’s an amazing life. Like I literally cannot imagine doing anything else.