Message from the Chief Commissioner

Dog Squad Fact Sheet

Thu 2 December 2010

Learn about the Dog Squad with Constables Chris and Kitty

The Victoria Police Dog Squad train and deploy canine teams (handler and dog) to help operational policing.  General Purpose dogs are trained to find offenders, missing people and property and are also able to subdue offenders.   Detector dogs locate specific odours such as narcotics, explosives, firearms or human remains.  The dog's natural instincts and nose ability, which cannot be copied by science, provide a very efficient tool for police.

  • The Dog Training Centre is in Attwood, Victoria.
  • Police dogs and handlers are trained by qualified Dog Squad personnel.
  • As part of their training, dogs use an agility course, which includes hurdles, ladders and planks, tunnels, fences and other obstacles that the dogs may confront when they are on the job.
  • Canine teams are available and deployed to tasks 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • The training course for general-purpose dogs takes approximately 18 weeks.  During the course, dogs are trained in obedience, agility, retrieving, searching for property, searching for people, tracking and criminal work.
  • The breeds most commonly used by Victoria Police for general purpose work are German Shepherds and Labradors. These breeds are physically strong and agile.  Dogs used by Victoria Police sometimes need to be aggressive when working. These breeds demonstrate all of these traits.
  • A detector team dogs training takes approximately ten weeks. Labrador Retrievers are used for detection work and during the course the dogs are trained to detect various smells linked to narcotics, explosives/firearms or human remains. 
  • Some people think that narcotic detection dogs are addicted to the drugs they are trained to locate. In fact, the dogs are rewarded with food when they find the smell they are trained to find.
  • Victoria Police Dog Squad has had a breeding program since 1990.
  • At nine to 10 weeks of age, pups are placed in the care of carefully chosen civilian puppy-walking families who receive lessons on how to raise pups in preparation for their training by the Dog Squad.
  • At approximately 12-14 months of age, the pups are returned to the squad and are ready to start full-time training as police dogs.
  • The Victoria Police Dog Squad is currently staffed by thirty-eight specially trained teams.
  • The Dog Squad receives calls every day of the week around the State. Victoria Police canine teams respond to planned operations for searches and reports of offenders in premises, burglary offences, sexual attacks, fights, prowlers, lost people and armed and violent situations.
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Victoria Police Centre 637 Flinders Street Melbourne 3005 | Ph 03 9247 6666 | Fax 03 9247 5727
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