Dog competition

Iron Dog Competition Tests K-9 Skills | News

A small but grateful crowd gathered at Saturday’s Iron Dog competition at Kettle Run High School. Approximately 27 K-9s from across the region participated along with their handlers. Some were single-purpose dogs – narcotics or bomb-sniffing dogs. Others were more versatile, sniffing and stalking with the best of them, but also capable of taking down a bad guy. Civilian and military dog ​​teams were also part of the competition.

The Fauquier K-9 and Community Organization sponsored the day, in conjunction with the Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit.

The K-9 teams ran a 1.5 mile course and performed at stations for a while, demonstrating the skills they use in their daily work.

The Arrest Station, for example, gave visitors a taste of what an attacker might face when faced with a K-9 cop and his handler. The team approached the station with the officer shouting a warning to the bad guys. Once given the go-ahead, the K-9 chose which of the two enemies to shoot down and sped past one of the “decoys”. (The deputy handled the second decoy.)

The dogs jumped on the would-be criminal and bit him hard enough to cling on, even when the decoy (wearing a thick protective suit) tried to shake him off. They hung on until their master told them to let go.

The exercise could be described as “intense”.

Tank Mosley and Micah Janelle of Off-Leash Canine Training acted as villains. Mosley had spent the week at Fauquier, certifying decoys, and Janelle earned her certification during training.

Lure work is not for the faint of heart and requires special skills. “You have to adapt to the dog, absorb its weight, so you don’t hurt the dog,” Mosley said.

He said they teach the dogs to “fight like they’re fighting a grizzly.” But he said, “Most of the time the bad guys get away.”

He added that female lures are valuable in the training process. “Dogs have a harder time putting a woman down because the woman will talk to them about the baby and remind them of their ‘mama’. But we don’t discriminate. Women can be bad guys too.

While the apprehension station revealed the wolf roots of the K-9s, at the agility station it was possible to see the dogs as just dogs. While many walked through obstacles with grace, a good number of K-9s couldn’t see why they couldn’t just walk around them; the handlers had to convince them to jump before moving on to the next station.

Culpeper Police Department Deputy Mimi Miller was forced to use a toy ball and encouraging comments to coax Joker – a tall shepherd/Malinois mix – over the 30-inch barriers. Despite the big scary dog, it was adorable.

The FCSO has five K-9s – a bloodhound for tracking (Katie), a bomber dog (Ladee), and three all-purpose dogs (Hank, Bane, and Duco). Duco is the newest recruit who started K-9 school last Monday. The two-year-old Dutch Shepherd is cared for by Deputy Joseph House.

Little known fact: Bane has several metal teeth. House said: “He will bite so hard that he has knocked out several of his natural teeth. They had to find a way to fix the teeth.

More than 20 vendors sold dog-related items to attendees. Food trucks were on site for breakfast and lunch and an ice cream truck for dessert. The Bridge Community Church canteen was also on hand, providing refreshments to first responders.

According to Detective D. Rosenberry, a crime prevention specialist with the Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division, the event raised approximately $9,500 for the Fauquier K-9 and community organization. . She said funds were raised through sponsorships, vendor fees, attendee fees, raffle ticket sales and merchandise sales.

Rosenberry said the mission of the Fauquier Canine and Community Organization is to “serve and support our community by providing assistance, education and support to members of the Fauquier County community, local groups and first stakeholders”.