It’s best nose and paws forward this week for ten police dog patrol teams and 11 detector dogs and handlers vying for national honours in the New Zealand Police Dog Championships.
Tracking, agility, obedience, searching, and detection capability are all being assessed in a series of demanding day and night time challenges at the Police Dog Training Centre, Trentham, and elsewhere in Hutt Valley and southern Wairarapa.
Senior Sergeant John Edmonds, supervising instructor, police dogs, said the championship is keenly contested with teams demonstrating excellent operational ability as well as putting in additional training to make the championship finals.
Wellington’s Senior Constable Jason Todd and his patrol dog Ila will be hoping to make it three in a row. The two times winners are up against their current co titleholder Senior Constable Logan Marsh and patrol dog Turk from Tauranga.
Also competing in the patrol section are dogs and handlers from Nelson, Auckland, Blenheim, Wellington, Hawkes Bay, Waikato, and Christchurch.
Six narcotic detector dogs and handlers are competing from Wellington Police, Auckland Police, New Zealand Customs in Auckland and New Zealand Corrections in Christchurch. Four of the entrants are newcomers to the nationals.
Five explosive detector dogs and handlers from Wellington Police, New Zealand Customs in Auckland and Aviation Security in Auckland and Wellington are taking part. Four of the five dogs are new to the national championships.
“It’s a gruelling few days of trials for all the dogs and handlers,” Senior Sergeant Edmond says. “Each of the teams starts with a set of points and they’re put through a range of realistic but testing scenarios with points deducted for mistakes. The team that loses the least marks is the winner.”
The prizegiving takes place at the Trentham Police Dog Training Centre, Dante Road, Trentham, at 2pm on Thursday, 12 May. Deputy Commissioner Viv Rickard will attend, along with representatives from the othe