Published: 20th October 2017
Canine officers are trained to brave loud crackers even as pups; handlers keep their celebrations in check
The dogs are trained to adapt to loud noises in small doses and are taken to petrol crowded areas, but are also tested for their physical abilities and stabilities before embarking on the job
Police personnel who mind the dog squad do not celebrate Diwali with noisy crackers because their furry companions cannot tolerate loud sounds. The dogs' acute hearing makes them more sensitive to sounds of firecrackers than humans. It triggers their nervous system and makes them anxious or afraid. Dogs can hear sounds as high as 50,000 Hz.
A police officer is never off duty, as is the canine officer. The dogs who are trained in bomb detection are taken for patrolling even during this festival braving the loud sounds and pollution from firecrackers. Police dogs have been acquainted with these sounds, say officers in charge.
Siddaraju, DCP, CAR South says, "The dogs need to be there to check on any criminal activities. They have adjusted to these sounds and still perform their duties in sensitive areas." They are trained to handle such situations after they are selected for the police squad. He adds, "We burst small objects in front of them to get them acquainted to these sounds. We check on their stability and physical abilities before we select them for bomb detection." The training begins from the time they are a year old.
Pup Pup: Canine officers are trained since they are a year old (representative image) | BSF
Ningareddy Patil, Inspector, Dog Squad, says, "We try not to expose them to such loud noises. Since the threats are more during the festival, we take them for regular patrolling to sensitive areas such Vidhana Soudha and shopping malls." The places are selected for patrolling based on the requirements by local police stations. Crowded and VIP areas are only considered."
Dog handlers also refrain from bursting crackers in the premises. "Bursting loud crackers is not allowed here as it can disturb the dogs. They celebrate in a small way at their homes in the police quarters." The kennel area is more than a kilometre away from the main road, inside the campus.
"So, they are not exposed to such noises. And, our campus is free of pollution," says inspector Ningareddy. In case of any medical emergencies, the doctors are also available round the clock. "We have vets at Adugodi and also Hebbal centre on shifts basis to attend to them if required," he adds.
Veterinarian Dr Lohith HD says the dogs can hear the sounds much louder than human do but they can be trained over a period of time not to get anxious. "The police dogs can handle better than the pet dogs. The handlers need to reassure them, say by giving them treats."