K9 training is more about the bond than material

It’s arguably one of the safest places in the country right now. Henry County, Tennessee, is hosting training with the National Narcotic Drug Dog Association this week.

Multiple K9 units from 28 states and Canada will train all week on handling tactics, identifying different drugs in different amounts, attacks, and tracking. But training is about more than learning the material.

More than 150 K9 units and their handlers train with different drug odors and techniques, but it’s about a special bond. Sgt. Lee Young with the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office says he spends more time with his K9, Ely. He says, when training a new K9, it’s like a new dance partner learning how to dance 

“It’s a relationship. It’s a bond,” Young says.

Young says that’s what this week is about: increasing not only their knowledge and experience, but their knowledge and experience together. 

“Once you can get familiar with how the dog works, and in the direction you want to, you can move up and be productive,” Young says.

Henry County Sheriff Monte Belew says he and his K9 Si have been taking care of each other since Si was a puppy. Belew says he’s glad he can spend the work week with a good friend while doing something beneficial for his area,

“It’s a good opportunity for local community, and it’s a good opportunity for K9 officers to train this week and learn from each other,” Belew says.

The criminals keep getting smarter but, as long they have their companions by their sides, Belew and Young say they’re better able to serve and protect.

When it comes to what is the best kind of K9, it’s the dogs that have a natural hunting instinct.

There are four working dogs in the Henry County Sheriff’s Office. Belew said he saw the opportunity to host the yearly conference and jumped on it.

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