FEATURED STORY | Hobart PD K-9 Unit

HOBART K-9
Finding a food that makes your dogs perform well is important, especially when they are in high stress, high stakes situations on a regular basis. This is especially true for Officer Bill Granzow, a K-9 handler for the Hobart Police Department in Indiana. Three of the four dogs eat Exclusive® Chicken & Rice Formula Performance Dog Food, and Officer Granzow and the rest of the Hobart Police Department love how they perform.

"The energy that these dogs use is tremendous, so you have to feed a food that is going to provide this and keep them on top of their game," said Officer Granzow. "Exclusive® Dog Food has definitely provided that boost. Within about three weeks of switching to Exclusive® Dog Food I could see a dramatic difference in his coat."

The police department purchases their food from Karp's Garden & Feed Center in Hobart and appreciated the expertise owner Larry Karp could offer.

"We actually spoke with Larry in regards to dog food and he was the one that got us started on Exclusive® Food," said Officer Granzow. "He highly promoted the food, and he knows the work we do and what energy level our dogs need to be at."

The current Hobart K-9 Unit consists of a veteran 9-year-old German Shepherd, Rommel, handled by Officer Simon Gresser; Leon, a two-year-old Czech Shepherd, handled by Officer Granzow; Logan, a year and a half year old Malinois, handled by Officer Darren Sandilla; and Fax, a 4-year-old Belgian Tervuren, handled by Officer Ryan Snedecor.

When choosing dogs for the unit, handlers look for a variety of qualities and especially look for dogs that are the leaders of the pack. How a dog meshes with the handler is also important, and to help them bond, dogs live at their handler's home in an outside kennel.

"The bond between a handler and his K-9 is unbelievable," said Officer Granzow. "They are your partner at work, and you rely on each other to make sure you get to come home each day."

Some dogs are already partially trained with Schutzhund, KNPV (Royal Dutch Police Dog Association), Ring Sport or other dog sport trainings when they join the K-9 Unit. Others have little to no training and are trained by the Hobart Police Department's in-house dog trainer, Officer Gresser, the K-9 Unit's team leader. Officer Gresser is certified through the American Police Canine Association and leads dogs and handlers through a rigorous training process. Dogs and handlers train together for four weeks, then gain actual experience and training on the road with Officer Gresser and must pass a final evaluation before being able to work.

Some officers also choose to get additional training. Officer Granzow has gone through the five week training at Vohne Liche Kennels' K-9 School. Vohne Liche Kennels has trained dogs for more than 5,000 law enforcement and government agencies including the National Security Agency (NSA), Pentagon Police, U.S. State Department and U.S. Army.

All of the dogs in Hobart's K-9 unit are trained to perform numerous jobs including tracking or trailing, area search, article search, building search, handler protection and narcotic searches.

Lead by Officer Gresser and Rommel, the K-9 Unit played a vital role in Hobart's first triple homicide. Large amounts of evidence were recovered as the unit tracked all over the city's west side, eventually ending in the city of Gary, Indiana.

"With our help, three subjects were eventually arrested and convicted," said Officer Granzow.

Officer Gresser and Rommel have also been successful for many years keeping narcotics off the street with countless drug finds and arrests. In 2009 and 2010, Officer Gresser beat out numerous teams to become champion at the American Police Canine Association Sniff Off, a timed event on narcotic searches.

Although the other three dogs are fairly new to the unit, they're still doing their part.

Officer Sandilla and Logan have been involved in numerous drug arrests and recently assisted another agency in tracking down a fleeing felony suspect.

Officer Granzow and Leon have been involved in frequent drug arrests, resulting in misdemeanor and felony convictions. Officer Granzow and his recently retired partner Acky, captured two suspects wanted for attempted murder in Illinois, leading to a case closed and conviction.

Fax and Officer Snedecor have been involved in multiple drug cases and tracked a mentally unstable person to a house where the subject was eventually located and is pending additional charges.

"They don't complain about work," said Officer Granzow about his and other handlers' K-9 partners. "They love to do their job, and to see what they are capable of just makes you believe in your partner even more. These dogs are so loyal and when they say man's best friend it definitely is a best friend, one that will never betray you."

Fighting crime is tough, but it doesn't mean it's all work and no play for the dogs of the K-9 Unit. As part of their exercise, handlers play fetch with the dogs, take them on walks and runs and even take them swimming!

All of the dogs in Hobart's K-9 unit were donated through corporations, private businesses and individuals and fundraisers, and the Hobart Animal Clinic donates all medical bills and maintenance for the dogs.

The Hobart Police Department has had a K-9 unit for nearly 30 years and this year were chosen to host the 2011 National Convention for the American Police Canine Association September 26-30. K-9 units from across the country will be joining together to participate in certifications and hands on training.

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PET TIPS | Learning How to Socialize

Social skills might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about your dog, but they are an important part of making your pet experience a positive one for you and others around you.

As with most things, socialization is easiest to begin teaching at a young age. The most sensitive period for socialization in dogs is between three and 12 weeks old. During this time, try to create pleasant interactions between your dog and people, other dogs and other animals. This will help them feel more comfortable, be friendlier and less fearful when they experience these situations later in life. Consider taking your pet to puppy obedience and training classes when they are about four months old, especially if you're a first time owner. Continue to socialize your pet throughout his or her life. Evidence shows that just like people who learn a second or third language forget how to speak it if they don't use it often, dogs that stop socializing lose their skills.

Before letting your dog come into contact with others, talk to your veterinarian to make sure your dog has all the necessary immunizations, is parasite free and is on a parasite control program.

Tips for Meeting New Dogs and People

  • Pick a neutral location. If either of the dogs is on their "home turf" they may be more aggressive.
  • Maintain control. Keep both dogs on a leash, but try to avoid pulling back unless absolutely necessary since doing so might unintentionally put your dog into an aggressive position.
  • Use positive reinforcement. As dogs are getting to know each other, talk to them using a friendly, happy tone.
  • Keep meetings short. On first visits consider taking your dog on a walk and meeting other dogs in passing or distracting him or her with simple commands.
  • Watch body language. If either dog begins to act aggressively, try to interest each dog in something else, and if need be, pull them back.
  • Once the dogs begin to tolerate each other, end the meeting and move on to a new experience.
  • Give your dog a small treat when it meets someone new and behaves properly.
  • Introduce your dog to a variety of people of different sexes and ages.
  • Bring your dog to loud, busy places. If your dog is really nervous keep visits short and upbeat. While you're there, practice basic commands and offer praise when your dog focuses on you.
  • Avoid forcing your dog to approach things that scare him.
  • Don't crouch down to comfort your dog when he or she is scared, they will think you're nervous, too. Instead, offer a treat as a distraction.
  • To practice knocking or doorbells, put your dog on a leash and have someone knock or ring. As they do it, offer your dog a treat as a distraction. Reward good behavior and ignore barking. When your dog is calm, let your guest offer him a treat.
  • When bringing a new dog into your home, initially have him or her meet your other dogs separately if you have more than one.

Body Language
  • Playful—crouching down in the front and keeping the back end in the air.
  • Aggressive—hair standing up on back, baring teeth, deep growls, stiff-legged gait, prolonged stares

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GET TO KNOW | Exclusive® Chicken & Rice Formula Performance Dog Food

With highly digestible carbohydrates for rapid energy release, in addition to high levels of fat for sustained endurance, Exclusive® Chicken & Rice Formula Performance Dog Food provides quality assured nutrition that is field-tested with a broad spectrum of highly active and hardworking dogs. Fresh, never-frozen chicken is the number one ingredient, along with hearty flavors and other wholesome ingredients, which provide the nutrients needed to meet the demands of top performing dogs. With a guarantee of no unnecessary fillers, Exclusive® Chicken & Rice Formula Performance Dog Food is a promise you can see—consistent performance, healthy vitality, shiny coats, easy digestion with smaller stools and pure excitement as your dogs dig into flavorful goodness at every meal.

  • 30% protein & 20% fat formula—optimal ratio to support lean mass to help keep your dog at peak performance
  • Balanced fat, carbohydrates & protein—for quick energy bursts and sustained endurance
  • Glucosamine & Chondroitin—for healthy joints
Available Product Sizes:
NET WT. 35 LB

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