What may look like just an abandoned school on the outside, is turned into a training facility that prepares K-9 units for when scenarios like school shootings and bomb threats, turn into real-life situations.
In order to make sure they’re ready for those scenarios, dogs like Ike are trained for a minimum of 16 hours each month. To make that happen, every other Tuesday, Barry Connell of Ohio Working Dogs spends his day training new and veteran K-9’s.
Connell explained, "It’s our job as trainers to prepare the officers and their dogs for violent encounters and one of the things that we want them to know is that when they are tactical, when they are protecting themselves, that the dogs are trained to do that with them."
Tuesday’s training was focused on tactical movement and apprehension of a suspect. One-by-one, each handler worked closely with their dog, giving them commands to safely get closer to the suspect, and when ready, command them to attack.
"You’ll have like the suspect who takes off running from ya or hiding in a building, like a building search or you got like an active shooter situation where he’s in there firing a gun off and you can send a dog after them to make the apprehension," explained Wade Kanavel, a deputy sheriff a the Muskingum County Sheriff’s Office.
From slippery floors to running up and down stairs, the entire school is used to get the dogs ready for all different types of environments.
"It’s just got lockers, to get ready for school sniffs or whatever when we decide to do those, or you got just several different floors where you can do a building search," said Kanavel.
Contrary to what it may look like, the dogs don’t actually get hurt during training.
Connell explained, "We’re teaching the dogs to come accustomed to the possibility that somebody may have a weapon and that they can fight through that weapon and win."
He says K-9 units are used more often than the public may think and says training like Tuesday’s is essential to keeping communities safe.
"I love Muskingum County with what they’re doing with their dog program they have a dog on every shift, I think hat’s awesome. Their agency is supportive of their K-9 guys and that’s awesome to see and it’s our hope that we can pay them back for that and pay the citizens back for that trust that they put in them."