New K9s show progress in fitness, tree searches

Loki and Tucker, the Fort Pierce Police Department’s two new police work dogs, made additional progress during the last week, focusing on physical fitness and refining their search techniques.

Both dogs, who turned 1-year-old last week, are working hard on their jumping and running skills, and are beginning the shed “puppy fat” while starting to build muscle. Officer Robie Troutman and Albert Eckrode, who are training with the dogs, are monitoring them closely every day, making sure that the training is appropriate for the dogs and is improving their overall fitness.

The dogs were purchased in the Czech Republic last month so they have known only cool weather for most of their lives before being brought to South Florida. The training is being done at the Port St. Lucie Police K9 Training Center at McCarty Ranch in southwest St. Lucie County, where there are obstacle courses in a natural outdoor setting, so the dogs are steadily becoming acclimated to the local weather conditions.

And the trees at McCarty Ranch are helping the dogs train in a realistic environment. They began learning to track a scent over the ground and up a tree, so any criminal trying that to evade the dogs by climbing will get an unwelcome surprise.

Other continuing training includes self-control and obedience, which also is going well. At a public gathering Friday, the dogs stayed vigilantly focused on their handlers, eager for their next reward, despite the many people and distractions around them. Also, they continued to develop tracking skills, successfully finding items as small as a key that had been thrown a distance into a grassy area.

In all, it was another successful week that both the dogs and their handlers appear to be enjoying. The training will continue for several more weeks until the dogs and handlers are certified and ready for road patrol throughout the City.

Media contact:
Ed Cunningham
Public Information Officer
Fort Pierce Police Department
(772) 467-6801