CHELAN COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE K9 SPUR “IMMER TREU VOYAGE HOME”

First German Pinscher in U.S. Law Enforcement

Jun.

24

Deputy Monika Haynes

I have worked for Chelan County Sheriff’s Office on patrol for 19 years now. In 2013,

the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office received two donations to purchase another Patrol

canine and a Search and Rescue canine. I was very interested in becoming a canine

handler and after passing the testing process was selected as the handler for our new

SAR canine. Chelan County has a total area of 2,994 square miles and is home to Lake

Chelan and numerous hiking trails. Each year the Sheriff’s Office receives several

search and rescue calls and having a SAR canine is a valuable asset to our

department.

My research for a SAR dog began with the American Kennel Club website. Working

breeds are known for their adaptability in various terrains which is valuable in search

and rescue work. In reading about the German Pinscher, their size, energy, work ethic,

prey drive and keen sense of smell, I determined it would be ideal for search and rescue

work. I was referred to Immer Treu German Pinschers by a member of the Mt. Rainier

Working Dog Club. I contacted Lorraine and Howard Shore in Sequim, WA and spoke

to Lorraine about the breed. Lorraine and her husband are both retired law

enforcement and know what a lot of the expectations are for police dogs. They are very

active with their German Pinschers training and showing in Conformation, Rally, Agility,

Nose Work and Tracking so they could honestly tell me if the German Pinscher was the

breed of dog I was looking for.

On December 12, 2014, Spur was born! His parents, Max “BISS GCH CH Immer Treu

Midnight Express RN CGC” and Diva “CH Pretty-Dutch-Diva von Cronestein RN CGC”

are both excellent tracking dogs that demonstrated great work ethic and temperaments.

A Search and Rescue dog must have a stable temperament and a good work ethic. In

addition to tracking and search and rescue, the dog selected for my Department would

be trained as a cadaver dog. While most working dogs will track live subjects and find

articles, it takes a special dog to find human remains.

To determine which pup would be the best candidate for the job I brought trainers from

the National Search Dog Association (NSDA) to the Shore home when the pups were

six weeks old for Cadaver Aversion Testing. This test was to determine the reactions of

the pups to the scent of human remains. A human patella was used as the body part in

the test. The patella was placed into a jar with holes for the scent. Only the males in the

litter were tested as I specifically requested a male. The pups were identified by collar

color and the test was videotaped. With the NSDA Trainers, I and the Shores watching

the reactions, we each determined that the red collar male had the best reaction to the

cadaver scent. He showed curiosity, but not concern, and did not have a negative

reaction where the blue and green collar boys both showed suspicion and concern

when they reacted to the scent.

The final test was conducted when the pups were seven weeks old. Howard and

Lorraine Shore use the Puppy Aptitude Test (PAT) created by Jack and Wendy Volhard

on the pups in each of their litters. This test is used to determine temperament traits of

the individual puppy which is helpful in determining placement of each puppy. This test

was very important in determining which puppy would be the best fit as a SAR K9 in

addition to the Cadaver Aversion Test. Following is a description by the breeders of the

testing given to the pups:

1-30-15 (Day 49) - Temperament Testing using the 

Puppy Aptitude Test created by the Volhards was

conducted with trainers Georgia Towle and Patty

Greeny along with our friend Elemi who helped

make sure all instructions were followed. Georgia

is a certified trainer and this is the third litter she

has tested for us.

The pups were given 10 tests and scored on their

initial behavior. This testing process is a great tool

for our puppy buyers to get insight into their

individual puppy's personality which allows them to

tailor their training methods to best suit their new

pup. Some puppies have higher prey drive than

others, some may be sensitive to touch or sounds

and some may be more cautious than others. We

rely on this testing process to accurately match our

puppies with their new owners and it has worked

very well for us. This testing was essential in

determining whether one of the pups was suited for

Search and Rescue work and Red Collar Boy tested

perfectly for the job.


In February 2014, I picked up 10 week old Spur “Immer Treu Voyage Home” from the

Shores. I picked Spur up in our K9 SUV and he has gone to work with me from that

moment on. He has met all the Starbucks employees in Chelan County. When I am not

on a call, I usually have Spur out of the car and we are working on recalls and basic

obedience. He hangs out in the office when I am writing reports. Night shift was a little

tiring for him so I usually tried to get him home by 0200 hours so he got decent sleep.

Spur and I attended the 2015 SAR Conference which was a great experience. We are

looking forward to this year’s SAR Conference which will have a number of sessions

designed for canine teams.

Search and Rescue Dogs in law enforcement are trained to search and locate missing

persons as well as human remains. They can be trained to locate a specific scent

(Trailing or Tracking) or to follow any human scent (Air-Scenting) whether it’s a live

person or human remains.

I decided to train Spur for trailing. His nose was always on the ground tracking

something in our yard; except when he would need to air scent to determine the exact

location of his quarry. As a trailing dog, Spur will locate missing persons using a scent

article starting where the person was last seen and he may work on or off lead during

the search. He will be trained to trail a person over a variety of terrain following the

scent on the ground or in the air.

I began his training with hotdogs on the ground in the footprints of a tracklayer which

taught him to associate the human scent with treats. Eventually treats were slowly

removed from the track and Spur was rewarded when finding the “lost” person. A fun

part of his training was finding my kids in the yard. My kids were playing hide and seek

one day and I heard my youngest son tell Spur to “go find Soren”, which he proceeded

to do. Needless to say arguments ensued about the use of Spur for hide and seek.

We train weekly for approximately 2-3 hours. We are going to be adding every other

Saturday now for longer training sessions. Our issues, of course, are mainly with me.

Because we are a team, my training is just as important as his and understanding each

other’s language is paramount. We are strictly working soft tracks at this point that

range about 1/4 to 1/2 of a mile with approximately 4-5 corners. I am going to

be working in some scent discrimination training in March. We are slowly and steadily

making progress.

I have been partnering with one of our CCSOSAR Volunteers in the training process.

He is training his dog for wilderness air scent so we will have two SAR dogs with

different skill sets. The difference between the dog searching by air scent and a trailing

dog is Spur will be trained to search a specific scent where the air-scenting dog is

trained to follow any human scent and not necessarily a specific person. We meet

weekly with some of our SAR volunteers who set trails and hide for us. We have gotten

to longer trails with Spur, but haven’t added a lot of time delay as of yet. We will be

progressing toward that over the next year.

A trailing dog is expected to be able to follow a 24-hour-old trail prior to testing. To

become operational, the dog and handler team works a mile-and-a-half to two-mile-long

trail which is aged 8 to 12 hours and contaminated with other people’s scents. It takes a

tremendous amount of training before a SAR K9 can be deployed in the field and

Trailing canine teams take an average of three years training up to 1000 hours per year

before testing.

I am starting an official AKC obedience class this month so Spur can get his Canine

Good Citizen Certificate as obedience is a must for a working canine. Spur has been an

amazing addition to our family and to our community. I am regularly asked by the public

what breed of dog he is and then told he is the exact size of dog they want. I would say

Spur is being a good spokesman for the German Pinscher breed here in Central

Washington.