Man's best friend on duty

Man's best friend on duty

Trained to sniff explosives, narcotics and human bodies

Man's best friend on duty

Rikki, Mannat, Ori and Blade, along with 26 of their partners joined the Delhi Police dog squad on Monday in a colourful ceremony at India Gate.

Obeying their handlers instructions to the T, the canines displayed immaculate sense of rhythm and agility while performing different tasks ranging from jumping from a ring to standing on hind legs when signalled to do so.

Trained to sniff explosives, narcotics and human bodies from deep under the debris, the 30 Labradors arrived ten days back from Merut’s Remount Veterinary Corps and now their overall strength has risen to 60.

“We now have 60 dogs at our disposal – a mix of German Shepherds, Cocker Spaniels and Labradors at the dog squad. Out of them 45 handle explosives, while 15 track other things like narcotics,” said a police officer attached with the dog squad.

Previously, Delhi Police had preferred German Shepherds as they are considered to be the best in detecting explosives. But after consulting with some dog specialists, it was found that Labradors are better than the Shepherds in overall performance, especially in Indian conditions.

“Labradors are all-rounder whereas German Shepherds are specialists. Labradors are also comparatively low maintenance dogs which are better suited to Delhi’s hot climate. They get trained fast,” the dog handler explained.

Habits and peculiarities
Each dog is provided with one handler, who not only trains them every day but is also involved in the animal’s day to day upkeep.

Purchased from the Army’s Remount Veterinary Corps, Delhi Police dog squad’s handlers spent five days with the old handlers of the canines to know more about their habits and peculiarities.

Instructing his dog ‘Blade’ to lie on the ground, Vidya Sagar from Haryana’s Sonepat district is one of the handlers who now have developed a personal rapport with their new friends in just 10 days.

“You can see in whichever direction I move, his head will move in that direction. He identifies me even in a crowd of thousands. We now share a personal bond with each other,” Sagar said.

The average age of the dogs is one and half years, and they each cost Delhi Police Rs 1.60 lakh. The need to induct more dogs in the squad was particularly felt with the increasing threat of terrorism in the city. With bomb calls being received on a weekly basis from different public places of the city, the induction of these dogs will provide an extra layer of security.

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