Nepali Times
Life Times
K-9 Unit


SIBLING REVELRY: Kali and Juli when they were just six weeks old in February

When Kali and Juli arrived at the Central Police Dog Training School in Feburary they were only six weeks old. They were immediately put into intensive training to join the police's sniffer dog squad.

Today, the two alert and intelligent adolescents are in obedience training. Kali, being the more outgoing one, is being trained to detect explosives and Juli is going to be a specialist in sniffing out drug smugglers.

Dogs from the school located in Raniban have made some major arrests. Shova Shrestha, who murdered an entire family, was sniffed out by a graduate of the CPDTS and another one helped find the body of murdered journalist Birendra Shah in Bara two years ago. Police dogs also foiled a potentially deadly terrorist attack by finding a 20 kg explosive at Pokhara Stadium in 2005.

Now underdoing training to detect explosives and drug smugglers.

Even as Nepali Times was at Raniban reporting on this story, two teams of dogs had been dispatched to the BICC and Singha Darbar for routine inspections and another one was in Kirtipur to help locate a lost child who was later found.

Baburam Adhikari, a DSP at the school, says while sniffer dogs used to be imported, today private breeders in Nepal donate puppies, or they are bought from local kennel clubs. "Some donors get really impressed when they see how professional the puppies they gave away have become at the airport, and they promise to give us more dogs," says Adhikari.

The school was established in 1965 with four dogs from Malaysia, and the number has now risen to 45. Kali and Juli were donated by Rato Bangala School and like others have become members of the Nepal Police.

After training, the dogs can join four police units: arms and explosives, tracking, search and rescue and the narco unit.

"Depending on the dog's temperament, we give them specialised training for their units," explains Adhikari. Dogs used by the tracking unit sniff out criminals and missing persons and need nine months of basic training. Airports dogs are trained in six months to detect explosives and drugs.

However, all dogs need to undergo the 3-month basic obedience training course when they become five months old during which they learn to lie down, sit, remain still and do the famous doggy handshake. They are also trained to refuse food from strangers and to respond to their handler's voice only.

Some puppies do fail their basic training course, and get an honourable discharge to become pets. Retirement age for sniffer dogs is 10 after which they spend the rest of their days at the School or are adopted by dog lovers.

Pramod Raj Bhatta is a vet at the School, and says it is not enough to look after the physical health of the dogs, sniffer dogs perform best when they are happy and develop a bond with the handlers. "It is important that they are looked after, and this includes the handler spending time with the dogs playing and fetching," he says. Labradors, German Shepherds and Doberman Pinschers are considered ideal for policing tasks because of their acute sense of smell, muscular bodies, stamina and agility.

Read also:
From bow to wow, PAAVAN MATHEMA
Why buy an expensive pure breed when Nepali mongrels are hardier, friendlier and free?

1. who cares
since we do not have enough budget and manpower, govt., police should introduce freelancers- give training to private dogs and their hobby owners and utilize them during emergency. 

2. Perry
Once it is trained, a dog joins (or is forced to join??) ONE OF four police units: arms and explosives, tracking, search and rescue, OR narcotics.

Could not resist editing.

What do animal rights activists have to say about employing dogs to sniff out bombs?  They could be killed. To say "better a dog than a person" is grossly callous.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)