Law school: Pup learning skills he’ll use to serve

K-9 Trainer Don Lee coaxes his trainee police dog, a six-month-old male Belgian Malinois named Aries, out of his kennel in order to start his daily training outside the San Marcos Police Department. Lee has been training Aries since he received him as a nine-week-old puppy covering basic obedience, self-independence, illegal narcotics detection, evidence finding and patrol work. The San Marcos Police Department has kept police dogs like Aries since 1989 and considered them an invaluable tool in everyday police work.

Trainee police dog Aries bounds down the hall and in and out of open offices as K-9 Trainer Don Lee guides him to the bay they will be using as a staging area to practice his illegal narcotics detection skills in order to obtain certification. While Aries can easily detect the specific odors of illegal narcotics he often gets distracted by his surroundings and requires more maturity before Lee is comfortable putting him up for official certification.

Six-month-old Aries looks up at K-9 Trainer Don Lee as he sits and waits for the next command as they move through narcotics training.

Aries waits as K-9 Trainer Don Lee taps the places on the vehicle he wants Aries to investigate for hidden caches of illegal narcotics in a bay at the San Marcos Police Department.  Lee has hidden a small cash of heroin in the vehicle for Aries to find and give an indication ,by downing or sitting, that he has found the cache. Lee focuses on the five main illegal narcotics in his training meth,heroin, marijuana, ecstasy and cocaine and their derivatives.

In a relentless pursuit of his chew toy, which K-9 Trainer Don Lee threw after Aries successfully found cocaine inside a fork-lift, Aries is momentarily stuck in an interior compartment of the fork-lift trying to retrieve the toy which fell into the machine. Lee tries to motivate his dogs to perform the actions he’d like of them using rewards, which associates the needed behavior with positive reinforcement, in this case finding the hidden cache of an illegal narcotic with the presence of a favorite toy, though Lee also uses treats,verbal and physical acknowledgment. 

Aries licks K-9 Trainer Don Lee’s hand as he snatches a treat after completing his recall training in the grassy field outside the San Marcos Police Department. Recall training involves using a whistle or a clicker in order to call the dog into coming back to the officer and positioning himself between his legs so in a patrol deployment a K-9 Officer doesn’t have to take his eyes off a subject to find his dog and can restrain the dog easily if necessary. 

San Marcos Daily Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666