A photo of a police canine went viral this month when the for the Vancouver Police Department shared a photo of the dog doing an intense training exercise.
The dog is in a full safety-harness and dangling next to his handler (and holding on) as they both repel down a wall. Seriously guys, this dog is a badass. There, I’ve said it and I won’t take it back. You won’t find me hanging from a child-friendly rock wall, let alone preparing to dangle from buildings. Kudos to both this dog and his handler for being awesome and brave.
The picture got extra attention because the dog appears to be hanging on to his handlers leg, for moral and physical support. The caption posted with the photo read: “Hey dad… This rappelling? Yuh, I’m not a fan.”
While many on the social network applauded the dog and handler for their dedication and bravery, there were others who expressed concerns over the safety of the dog as the harness was not visible in the photo and it appeared that the dog might be free-hanging from his handler’s leg. The VPD was quick to assure everyone that the dog was in full safety gear.
“The dog is in a proper sling,” the VPD replied to one concerned viewer who accused them of not paying for the dog to have his own harness. “He’s just spun and taken a hold of his handler’s leg in an effort to stabalize him in what might be his first rappelling adventure. The safety and comfort of our dogs is paramount.”
Rappelling is just one of the amazing skills that these hard working dogs learn. Many may be familiar with the military dog’s who participate in feats such as parachuting out of planes.
“Our canine officers are well trained, well selected, and, most importantly, well loved by their handlers. We test dozens (if not hundreds) of prospective police dogs before finding the ones best suited for the VPD. The dogs we select are social and have high drive, and are very valued members of our department. As police tactics change, so must our training. Rappelling is a vital skill for our tactical teams to have, and it tests both handler and dog. In the training scenario in the photo, PSD Niko was introduced slowly to the task, and his handler rewarded him with praise and a game of tug-o-war afterwards (you can see the toy sticking out of the officer’s back pocket),” the VPD assured in the comments on the photo.
Working dogs like Niko are amazing animals who are trained, loved and honored by the departments they serve and those in the community who appreciate all that they do. We wish Niko and the rest of his team the best of luck with his training!