K-9 FAQs

1. How long does it take to train a police K-9?

Training for a K-9 depends on what type of canine it will be – drug detection, explosives detection, tracking, protection, etc.  Also, the training depends on the dog itself and how well it is able to complete the commands.  Training time also involves training the canine’s handler so that they are able to give commands that they canine understands and responds to.  Typically, initial training can be anywhere from 6 – 12 weeks.

2. How often does the canine team have to train or become recertified?

The handler and canine will continually train each day, and they will likely attend special training certification events a few times each year.

3. How long can a police canine work for the department?

On average, most police canines are able to serve the department for 10 years.

4. What happens to the canine when it gets too old for work?

When a police K-9 is retired, it typically remains with the handler’s family.

5. Where do police K-9s stay when they’re not working?

Police K-9s live with their handler’s family, like any other dog.  It is the responsibility of the handler to care for the K-9 24-hours a day, every day.

6. What do they eat?  How much do they weigh?

Just like family dogs, police K-9s are fed dog food.  Food and treats are often used a training tool.  Labradors are usually between 50-70 lbs and German Shepards are between 60-80 lbs.

7. Can the K-9s do any tricks?

Police K-9s are trained specifically for their jobs.  However, due to their intelligence and ability to learn difficult commands, some police canines are real tricksters all on their own!

8. Do they ever bite?

YES!  Police K-9s, especially those trained in apprehension and protection, are taught how to bite on command.  NEVER approach any dog without the handler’s permission.

9. Can I have a police K-9 come to a presentation for my group?

Please contact the Professional Standards/Community Services Bureau at (608) 789-7240 to inquire about the availability of the K-9s.

10. I’d like to make a donation to help pay for the K-9s’ food, equipment, and training – where can I send a check?

Any and all donations to the Police K-9 fund are used solely for the department’s K-9s and are greatly appreciated!  Checks can be sent to:

La Crosse Police Department
Police K-9 Fund
400 La Crosse Street
La Crosse, WI 54601