16-month Dobermann Pinscher ‘Bubbly’ Joins Mangaluru Police Commissionerate Dog Squad
Mangaluru: If at all you make a visit to the Police Commissioner’s office, and take a stroll in the back compound, there are chances you could hear some barking coming from the dog 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 is saying something loudly, but somehow, you can tell the complaint is about something trivial. With all the orderliness and the sylvan-ness of the campus and the prospect of meeting these cute squad dogs, it is easy to forget that the Mangaluru & DK police dogs have a serious and dangerous job. They assist the police in ways that neither man nor machine can. The cuteness of the dogs belies their ferocity. They are trained to throw themselves through glass windows, enter terrorist hideouts and confront armed criminals. To do this, they need to be lithe and strong and be a weapon for the police.
16-month Dobermann Pinscher ‘Bubbly’
Not being natural subjects or advocates of the Indian Penal Code, the police dogs do what they do because they are creatures of duty and are devoted to their handler; the latter reason being the fulcrum of the entire police doggie doctrine. Indeed, being devoted to one’s duty and having the discipline to follow orders is the entire doctrine of the uniformed services. The Canine squad, attached to the Mangaluru police Commissionerate, completed a decade last year, and unlike other dog squads across the state, Mangaluru police dog squad was the state’s first Canine squad dedicated to detecting narcotic substances (Bengaluru had its first Canine squad to detect drugs in 2017). In 2011, when Seemant Kumar Singh was serving as Commissioner of Police, (the FIRST Police Commissioner of Mangalore Police Commissionerate who took charge in 2010) two male puppies of Labrador Retriever breed were procured from a breeding centre 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 Dobermann Pinscher named “Bubbly” has joined the Mangaluru Police Commissionerate Police Dog (K-9) Squad after completing its training at the Bengaluru City Armed Reserve’s Dog Training Centre. Bubbly now becomes the third member of the police dog squad and it will be used for crime detection. Bubbly will be handled by Armed Head Constable Kushalappa Poojary and Armed Police Constable Ravi Gowda. Bubbly is joined by the senior-most dog in the squad, an 11-year-old Labrador Retriever “Geeta ”, and another member of the squad is a 17-month-old Labrador Retriever “Rani”. Geeta and Rani are being used for detecting explosives.
A statement released by Police Commissioner N Shashi Kumar stated that a fourth member of the squad four-month-old Dobermann, Ruby, will be sent shortly for training in crime detection at the centre along with its handler. The police are on the look-out for another dog to fill in the vacant fifth post in the squad. The fifth dog will be deputed for narcotics. Speaking to Team Mangalorean, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Law & Order) Hariram Shankar said, “Despite advancements in technology, dog squads are an integral part of policing. In heinous cases like murder and thefts, we still rely on dogs for initial clues. The confidence of the Public also doubles when a dog squad visits the spot. It shows the importance we are giving to the case. Mangaluru Commissioner has a well equipped Kennel and we have written to police headquarters to upgrade infrastructure facilities in the dog squad building”.
Life of a dog in Mangaluru police Canine squad includes Exercises like running at the police parade ground which begins as early as 6:30 am. During the morning session, dogs are also engaged in tracking objects. They are taken for a walk 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 litre milk, Ragi etc for breakfast) and lunch/dinner which includes mutton mixed with rice. Bon appetit! Dog handlers besides imparting training also take care of their health. At present Mangaluru Commissionerate has four dogs, including Bubbly.
Dog Handlers seen in the Photo L-R: Kushalappa Poojary; Sudha (Doberman); Dinesh (Armed Head constable-DK); Ganesh (Reserve Sub Inspector); Sharath (Armed Police constable-DK); Geetha (Labrador); and Ravi Gowda
It follows that the relationship between a dog and its handler is nurtured from a young age, and through a system of reward — never punishment, we learn — dogs are inducted into the force. Team Mangalorean also learnt that discipline is central to the force, whether human or dog and the nature of dogs fits easily into the ethic. While these dogs undergo rigorous training in Bengaluru before they are put into service, the various exercises include such as jumping over hurdles, crawling through tunnels, jumping through hoops, walking in place with the handler, alert and ready to attack, showing demonstrations of speed, agility, strength and above all, the unquestioning sense of duty and purpose. The dogs are also trained by the handlers in saluting the senior officers, to sit, to stand, to rest, to sleep etc. And all this for a little more than – quite literally – a pat on the back.
Explaining the highly trusting relationship that dogs have with the handlers, dog handlers Kushalappa and Harish said that the only thing that worked with dogs was the reward. They said that the notion that dogs should not be shown too much affection — for fear that they might become soft — was incorrect. “Our dogs are sometimes better than humans, they don’t ask for anything in return and are content with just love and affection,” added Kushalappa. “We never beat the dogs. Our dogs are like our children. They respond much better to treats and appreciation. We would never ever hit them. They respond when we change our tone. Raising our voice is the extent of the punishment they receive from us.” said Harish.
“Bubbly” when it was three-months-old with its handler
Their days start at around 6.30 am when the handlers arrive to take the dogs out of the kennels. The dogs are well rested and eager to meet their handlers. The handlers “belong” to the dogs. They develop a relationship with them from when they are puppies. Kushalappa is very much attached to the dogs, like their shadows, they are trained to take all their orders from him. An example of the seamless relationship between dog and handler can be seen in the videos here in the report. In a terrorist situation, the dogs need to move every step with the handler. At present Labradors and Dobermans are on the force. Each with a special skill they are trained for. It could be sniffing, security, explosives and narcotics detection or terrorism. These dogs are recruited as pups and then observed for a week. Once their characteristics become more apparent they are trained to enhance that skill.
Being a dog lover and owner of four dogs, I asked for a few tips in training and getting to know a dog better, for which Kushalappa said “Once you are able to read your dog’s characteristics, it’s a matter of fostering it. Take a few extra days or even a month to consider before you get a dog. Consider the size of your house, the size of your family, income, before choosing a dog. They are a commitment and they depend on you and your undying love. It’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’ll know how to react to them and care for them. DO NOT be harsh with your pet. It hurts them much more than we’ll ever know. Give them treats. It motivates the dog to respond better to us”. Wow, now I am all set to train my doggies at home. Maybe someday I will be proud to say that my cuties are also trained and smart, like the police K9s!
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