CONROE- The Texas Police Games continued on Saturday with a variety of events, including the first day of K-9 competition at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds.
The dogs and their handlers competed in a variety of events that tested their skills and the dogs’ obedience to the handlers.
K-9 competition judge Ronnie Lagrone who retired from the Panola County Sheriff’s Office, explained the events, which began with one based on the dogs’ obedience and accuracy in staying near his handler.
The dog is expected to stop immediately with his handler and should comply with a command the first time. The dog’s pace in staying beside the handler is tested along with his attentiveness to his handler.
“We look at the dog, if it’s attentive to the handler, stays close to the handler, doesn’t forward, he doesn’t lag behind, makes clean crisp turns.” Lagrone said. “Everything is clean and crisp.”
“When the handler is fast paced, the dog’s still by his side,” Lagrone said. “When he gives (the dog) the command for downs, he drops immediately.”
At the end of that section, the handler walks well away from the dog and stands looking at him. The dog is expected to remain fully attentive for one minute.
“We judge if a dog looks off, we judge if a dog sniffs the ground or if he’s locked up on his man, and that’s what we look for in obedience,” he said.
Other sections of the competition included “bad guys” in protective suits which allowed handlers to demonstrate how their dog would respond on a scene where they both chased and subdued a suspect and protected their handler, who was being attacked by a second suspect.
“When (the handler) recalls the dog, that shuts him down,” Lagrone said.
In this case, the dog is not allowed to bite the man, which is related by verbal command. The dog should let go immediately and return to his handler, or drop in a hold position and bark at the suspect, which is considered another way of watching the suspect.
“We look at all the cleanness of these different things, which is what we judge the dogs on; how quick they come off; how clean their bites are; and then in the tactical is the ability for the man to move from object to object with the dog with him as his partner,” Lagrone said. “If he’s in the woods or somewhere else having to sneak up on people and then the ability for him to go up, search two, take one that’s fleeing when he’s attacked.”
The speed at which those things occur is also a consideration.
Bob Manning, who trains police dogs acted as one of the “bad guys” on Saturday, wearing the large padded suit so he could be attacked but not harmed. .
“For the most part, the suit helps you out,” Manning said. You’ll get pinched sometimes and some of the strong dogs will get you through the suit, but all in all it’s not as bad as it looks.”
One of the volunteer “bad guys” was actually knocked to the ground by one of the K-9’s, but the man was not harmed.
Even with high temperatures near or at record breaking numbers, many people braved the sultry weather to watch the completion.