An RCMP police dog and its handler visited several schools in the Hay River area last week.
On Oct. 7, Cpl. Terence Dunphy of Yellowknife, along with a German shepherd named Hoss, stopped by Ecole Boreale and Princess Alexandra School, along with Chief Sunrise Education Centre on the Hay River Reserve.
Dunphy explained to the students how a police dog is selected and trained, and demonstrated some of its unique skills.
In speaking to students outside Ecole Boreale, he asked them what dogs can do really well.
“Their noses sniff out things,” responded one girl.
“He can find things that we can’t see and he can search areas way more efficiently,” said Dunphy.
However, one young boy noted, “My dog can find things, too.”
Dunphy then demonstrated things that Hoss can do that a normal dog can’t.
“We’re able to teach him to use his nose to our advantage to help with other police officers,” he said, noting that can range from finding a person to locating evidence to apprehending an offender.
“He can smell anything that has human scent on it,” the corporal said.
As for finding illegal substances, Dunphy noted Hoss can sniff out 11 different kinds of drugs.
The officer demonstrated that by hiding half of a makeup pad – that had been in the same jar as a drug – in a picnic table and tossing a shell casing into the grass. Hoss found them both.
“Since he was seven weeks old, we’ve been teaching him all the things that we want out of a police dog,” said Dunphy.
The officer noted Hoss has been a working police dog since he was 22 months old. Currently five years old, the German shepherd has another two or three years as a police dog before retirement.