September 8, 2021
BLOG: Police Dogs and the Force Today
All RCMP police dogs are born at the RCMP Police Dog Service Training Centre, home to the RCMP’s national police dog training program and part of RCMP “Depot” Division. The Centre has earned a great reputation for breeding top quality, working German Shepherds and for training dogs with outstanding searching and tracking abilities.
The Centre, which is based in Innisfail, Alberta, has three core functions: breeding quality working dogs, training dog teams, and annual validation of dog teams. The Centre also trains dog teams from other Canadian and international agencies.
Having trained police dogs for more than 90 years, the RCMP has the most experienced police dog handlers in Canada. Additionally, no other organization in Canada has more fully trained and operational police dogs.
The RCMP Police Dog Services uses only purebred German shepherds for General Duty teams. Other breeds may be used for Specialty Detection teams. Since standards are so high, few canine candidates make it through the intensive training program. Any dogs that they don’t meet the RCMP’s standards may meet the standards of other policing or specialty agencies across the country. The Centre’s goal is to find the best fit for each one of its dogs.
The imprinting portion of the dogs’ training starts at eight weeks.
Dogs are paired with members across Canada that have a willingness and desire to become dog handlers. As part of the apprenticeship, they are required to raise and imprint solid and positive behaviors in the dog. When the imprinting process is complete, the dogs are returned to Innisfail for pre-training and are funnelled into training courses before reporting for active duty.
All RCMP dogs are taught to protect their handlers, themselves or to apprehend upon command. Any that display reluctance to do so are not accepted.