We see them in films, television and at the local disturbance, but what is life really like for a Police K9 unit? Dog Chatter went on a ride along with Officer Chris Kaupe and K9 Officer Koda of the Cotati, CA Police Department to find out!
After 20 years in law enforcement and 11 years handling K9 units, Officer Kaupe is selective of his K9 partner. “I chose Koda because he was the only dog laying on his back and having a good time” says Officer Kaupe of his loyal partner. Many K9 unit dogs are aggressive when approached and not receptive to public contact. Officer Kaupe wanted a friendly, confident dog when selecting from hundreds of other candidates. “Koda and I attend school programs, community events, parades, and convalescent homes. Can you imagine if people couldn’t pet him?” says Officer Kaupe.
Koda, a 22 month old, Czech Republic born German Shepherd, began working with Officer Kaupe in October of 2008. After 10 intensive weeks of patrol and narcotics training, Koda was ready for action! Each month he must undergo an additional 18 hours of training, but that is no problem for this driven dog. He loves every aspect of his job: building searches, obstacle courses, patrol, even high speed chases. Tested for fear, courage, prey, drive, and confidence, Koda passed with flying colors!
Amazingly, this fun loving, friendly K9 can turn his work attitude on and off like a light switch! When his police badge-collar is on he is focused on work, scoping the scene, keeping low to the ground, observing and being alert. Once the badge is off he reverts to a playful and often lazy dog. Not hard to imagine when work mode is in full effect from 5 pm until 3 am. Bed time is at 4 am and he sleeps during the day, but that is just a guideline. “We’re always on call” says Officer Kaupe, “If we get called at home we’re on the roll.”
During the ride along with Officers Kaupe and Koda, the K9 saw flashing police lights and immediately began barking. He knew it was time for some police work! While Officer Kaupe questioned the possible perpetrator, Koda kept his eyes fixed on Kaupe from the patrol vehicle. He didn’t even glance as another dog walked by the police vehicle. Koda is trained for a non-verbal command, he instantly knows when to attack if the officer needs assistance or loses control. A special belt trigger unlocks and opens the door for Koda to assist. Criminals beware! He will get out of the vehicle and get you with his ‘Fancy Bite’ technique!
Koda has already been in hot pursuit, bar fights, and crowd control, even though he hasn’t been able to put his ‘Fancy Bite’ technique into practice! One night after the hot pursuit of a stolen vehicle by a parolee, Koda was ready to attack. When the parolee saw Koda he immediately gave up.
K9 police train with full body bite suits. Back at the station Koda ran to get his bite suit for a practice round, and to show off to Dog Chatter! “Wherever the dog can get to, he’ll get you!” proudly states Officer Kaupe.
At home, Koda enjoys the company of two Shih Tzus named Benji and Baily. He tries to get the Shih Tzus to chase him, then switches and chases them around the pool. His favorite toy is a fire hose, and his favorite play activity is fetch with a tennis ball launcher. Because large breeds are prone to stomach-flip during active time, a serious condition that can lead to death, Koda gets fed after work hours. After all, he needs to be ready for a hot foot pursuit on the job. His meals consist of a very strict dry food diet, biscuits, and chew toys.
For Officer Kaupe, working with K9s has been life changing. “You must have passion to work with K9 units to remain dedicated to the job, because the loss of a dog is more painful than one can imagine” said Kaupe who recently lost his K9 partner Django to respiratory distress after swallowing a bee. Recent funding cuts did not allow the Cotati PD to replace Django, so the wonderful Cotati community raised $39,000 for the Cotati Police Department to purchase and train Koda.
Dedicated people like Officer Kaupe and his K9 partner Koda, contribute greatly to the overall safety of the community. They are our heroes and have earned a big Dog Chatter Congratulations! We look forward to our next ride along and K9 ‘Fancy Bite’ technique in action!
If you liked this post you'll love this one about a service dog who became a surfing dog http://dog-chatter.myshopify.com/blogs/barkworthy/50574979-from-service-dog-to-surfice-dog
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