You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
Good thing Zeke, the Abilene Police Department’s new tracking K-9 candidate, is only 11 months old.
The Dutch shepherd was debuted by police Wednesday at the Taylor County/Abilene Law Enforcement Center, where officials explained the rigorous training regimen Zeke and his handler, Officer Brandon Scott, will undergo.
During the next six weeks, Zeke and Scott will train seven days per week, 10 hours per day to cement their partnership. Included in topics they’ll practice are tracking, narcotics, building searches, obedience and agility.
“(The dog) bonds with the handler, so the in-service training is continuous,” said Dave Astbury, a former
police dog handler in Liverpool, England, and an independent contractor for the Abilene Police Department.
Though Chief Stan Standridge said Zeke is a candidate for the job at this point, Astbury said he doubts that the dog will not make the cut after the training period.
“He was destined to be a police dog,” Astbury said of the canine he hand-picked during a trip to the Netherlands. “These dogs are bred for this.”
For his part, Scott said he was “pretty excited” about working with Zeke.
Dutch shepherds, German shepherds and Belgian Malinois are the most common type of police K-9. They are selected for their intelligence, size, strength and impeccable sense of smell.
The cost for Zeke, which includes selection, training and delivery, is about $15,000. Food for all four police K-9s is about $15,000 annually. Zeke replaces Cain, who was retired earlier this month because of severe arthritis.
August 28, 2014