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K-9 units get hands-on training at annual workshop

K-9 Training is in full swing at Alpena CRTC

k-9 Officer Brian Zinser comforts his dog "Hank" after locating a missing person in a training exercise.

Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center, Mich. --

Alpena — Over 300 K-9 Units have been training at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center for the past few days, running through exercises from first aid to apprehending felons.

The National Association of Professional Canine Handlers 16th Annual Workshop features K-9 units from all over the United States and Canada.

“This is heaven,” said K-9 Police Officer Eric Thome. “This is what they [the dogs] train for, this is what they live for, this is exciting for them and for the handlers.”

Today, officers practiced with their dogs apprehending a felon who refuses to leave their car. Authorities could also practice performing first aid on artificial dog parts. The training can be tailored to what the unit would like more practice with or where they feel improvement is needed. First time attendee Brian Zinser and his K-9 ‘Hank’ have been taking advantage of multiple training exercises.

“Patrol guys and K-9 guys, especially, put a lot of work into our dogs,” said Zinser. “We do that because we don’t just track bad guys, we track missing people, and we take it very serious. We put a lot of time and effort into making our dog the best he can.”

The training allows dogs to get closer to their handlers and form a stronger bond when heading into the field. The facility also provides a large space for a multitude of exercises in order to simulate real world situations. The group of 300 will continue training until Thursday.

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