For hundreds of years, dogs have been able to fill various roles aside from “being cute.” They have held a number of jobs, including helping law enforcement in a number of ways.
If you have been thinking of training your dog to become a K9, there are a few things worth knowing. In addition to knowing how long training takes, you should know “How much does K9 training cost?” as well.
How Much Does It Cost to Train a K9?
The answer to this question can depend on where your dog receives its training. Most local group dog training will cost anywhere from $30 to $80 for each class, though the price is generally more in the $50 range.
That said, individual classes are not the only option. With private dog training, the sessions are more intense and personalized, though the cost is substantially higher. You can expect to pay anywhere from $45 to $120 per hour for individual training.
There is also the option of obedience school training. These tend to charge by the week, with the costs ranging from $200 to $600 for the week. For the tougher breeds or individual cases, there is boot camp kennel training. This is hands down the most expensive option, running $500 to $1250 per week depending on the camp in question.
Of course, there are options at your local pet store as well. Most of these are of the six-week variety and will run anywhere between $80 and $120 for the entire program. If you are looking for a cost-effective way of training your pooch, this may be the best option.
How Long Does It Take to Train a K9?
After “How much does K9 training cost?” the next question should be, “How long does K9 training take?” The answer can depend on the breed as well as the level of training that you are instilling into the dog in question.
For basic training, expect roughly 4–6 months for police dog training. It can take up to 3 years to have a fully trained K9, however. The timeframe depends on what tasks the dogs are being trained for as well as the breed of the dog.
Dogs trained with a singular purpose in mind will be done somewhere in the 12–18 month timeframe. Dogs with multi-purpose skills will take a longer time to train. It can take two years for dogs that are exceptional learners, while others will require three years of training, if not more.
It begins with puppy selection and the basic training portion of the training process. From there, the dogs get selected for specific and unique jobs based on their development. Training starts with the “shaping” process, in which dogs are put into situations where they can’t fail.
The goal here is to instill confidence in the dog. If they were reprimanded for things they aren’t sure of yet, it could cause delays in the development of the training. After that, the tasks are turned into engaging and fun games, tracking work, more obedience training, bite work, and socialization.
When the first year has passed, these methods will become more intense and a bit more refined as well. This is all according to the purpose of the dog, though obedience is the most important aspect. For police dogs especially, they should be obeying commands every single time, both for their own safety as well as the safety of the officers.
Which Breeds are Best for Becoming K9s?
It is important to remember that not every dog is cut out to be a K9. Your chihuahua or pug might not be up to snuff when it comes to becoming K9s. There are certain breeds that were literally created for just this purpose.
Without a doubt, the German Shepherd is perhaps the best for becoming K9s, and that is seen in the fact that they are the dog that is most commonly associated with being involved in police work. They are very smart and have tremendous physical abilities as well, being both powerful yet fast animals. Their intense loyalty, coupled with tremendous skill during training, make them an asset as well.
That said, not every K9 unit dog is a German Shepherd. Some of the other breeds that are commonly used for the position include Belgian Malinois, Labradors, Pit Bull Terriers, Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, Boxers, and Giant Schnauzers.
Before beginning K9 training, do your research. Check to see if your breed is one that would be a fit for the K9 training program. Each dog has its own unique traits that make it a good fit for the job and can make it an excellent K9.
There are a ton of different ways in which you can train your dog to be a K9. Knowing more about the training method in question is recommended; don’t just look for the cheapest option available to save a few bucks.
For breeds that are a bit more stubborn or tougher to train, going for the privatized option may be best. Do your research to find the best fit for your dog and to ensure that it is getting the proper training.