K-9 unit to start training with partner next week
A deputy from the Czech Republic will soon be patrolling Hubbard County. Vulcan, a 3-year-old German shepherd, has joined the Hubbard County K-9 unit and deputy Jeremiah Johnson, at home and on duty. Vulcan's job description: patrol - "tracking a...
A deputy from the Czech Republic will soon be patrolling Hubbard County.
Vulcan, a 3-year-old German shepherd, has joined the Hubbard County K-9 unit and deputy Jeremiah Johnson, at home and on duty.
Vulcan's job description: patrol - "tracking and apprehension of the bad guys" and drug interdiction - seeking drugs in cars and buildings. He'll be kept up to date on the drugs prevalent in the area.
But most of September has been spent bonding, and Johnson learning a bit of Czechoslovakian vernacular. It's yet to be determined if Vulcan will be bilingual. His 10- to 15-word command vocabulary may be spoken in his native tongue.
Early indications are "he's a very social animal," Johnson said. "He's a ham. He can't get enough attention. The more people who pet him, the happier he is."
Vulcan's gregarious nature may be tempered a bit with further training, chief deputy Frank Homer explained. "He'll still be social. But he may be more on the alert" when he heads north again.
"That's why we use precaution until we know the characteristics he'll exhibit in the workplace," Homer said.
Training with his K9 partner, Sarge, taught Homer that dogs fresh from training are similar to law enforcement personnel just out of school. "They are more alert, having just gained a keen understanding of the job.
"It's scary how attached they get to their handler," Homer said.
Johnson agreed. Vulcan already looks to him when someone wants to pet him.
The team will be headed to the Twin Cities next week for six to eight weeks of training.
Vulcan was introduced to obedience and apprehension training before "emigrating." Videos confirm his innate acumen.
"Training has to be fun," Homer said. "Dogs should never be corrected with physical aggression - or you lose your dog. You have to make it playtime.
"If there's a failure, you have to accept it and try again." That, Homer said, may mean waiting for tomorrow.
"And if that doesn't work, we try an alternative," Johnson said.
And lavish the dog with praise "like no tomorrow" when he's accomplished his mission, Johnson said. "He's king on the hill."
Biscuits stay in the cupboard (to avoid obesity) but the Kong ball appears regularly for Vulcan's entertainment.
German shepherds are chosen for the role in law enforcement based on their intelligence, strength and endurance and loyal commitment to handlers.
A Labrador retriever, dedicated to the hunt, will take off if it catches a scent, Homer explained. "A shepherd stays with its handler."
Donations have now paid for the dog's purchase and airfare ($6,100). "People have been phenomenal," Homer said.
Now fundraising continues toward the cost of training ($4,900) and ongoing expenditures - more training and training materials, food, dog trials (like the event Park Rapids hosted this summer) and miscellaneous supplies.
As for adding a new member to the Johnson household, "It was a unanimous decision," Johnson said of Ayana Hartman, 17, Jade Johnson, 14, and wife Kerri.
"If she had her way, he'd be getting treats all the time," Johnson said of his wife.
Contact the sheriff's department for more information on donation opportunities.
And watch for Baltzar (his Czech moniker) in the patrol car, come November.