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It's a dog's life in the armed police force (2)

(China Daily)

10:43, November 23, 2012

A trainer will decide a dog's specialty according its character and performance in training, Hu said.

"Heizi is quiet and concentrated, so I trained him to search for explosives. Some dogs that are more active and excitable are more suitable to hunt suspects," he said.

Training includes submission orders ― "sit" and "lie down" ― as well as strength and searching techniques. Heizi was trained by making him familiar with the smell of explosives and by hiding his favorite red ball, which he has to look for.

"A qualified explosives police dog should be able to search a 10-square-meter room in three minutes," Hu said, adding that standards are high, with two dogs in 10 likely to fail the annual certification exam.

Heizi's least favorite exercise is jumping through the hoops of fire.

"It aims to help the dog overcome their psychological barrier and be more brave. Many dogs are afraid," the handler said. "At the beginning, every time he ran near a hoop he would back off, or stop and lie down.

Later, I show him the red ball on the other side of the hoop and he jumps."

Over eight years of working together, the duo have built a profound friendship. Hu recalls a day he was sick and unable to visit the dog in the pen.

"At about 9 pm, he turned up at my dorm," he said. "He'd opened the door of his pen on his own. I was so moved."

Heizi retired from service last year, and Hu is now training a Belgian Malinois called Taizi.

Next year, Hu's enlistment in the corps will expire, and he will have to decide whether to leave his platoon in Shenzhen, or to stay.

He hopes if he leaves, he can still work as a police dog handler.

"I know the public security bureau in each city has a dog base, so I hope I can work at a place like that. I just love dogs," he said.

【1】 【2】

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