US firm to train Bahrain’s K9 unit
Manama, August 20, 2014
One of America's leading canine academies has been appointed by Bahrain to train 20 dogs to detect explosive materials.
California-based Falco K9 Academy will soon start its one-month search for an elite breed of dogs that will be used alongside Bahrain's bomb squad in uncovering firearms, weapons and bombs, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
Owner and chief executive officer Andy Falco Jimenez confirmed he was contacted by Bahraini authorities to train the new K9 unit.
The former detective, who has trained more than 1,000 detection dogs globally, said he applied unique techniques to train the animals and used tennis balls to make them obsessed with finding their mark.
"We use a system of love and respect, which is completely different than a lot of organisations," he told Los Angeles-based channel ABC7.
"We want a dog that when you throw that ball, no matter where it is, he will hunt until he can't hunt any longer."
"In the beginning, we put that toy with the owner. Eventually, we take the toy out and the dog will smell the odour that we're training a dog to find.
"Once the dog goes 'Hey, there's that odour, but where is my tennis ball?' we throw the tennis ball from a secondary place."
Jimenez, who is also the chief executive officer of Falco K9 Security, Services and Investigations, said cultural differences and Bahrain's high humidity would prove challenging.
"In dealing with a Middle Eastern country, sometimes they don't care for dogs," he added.
He said to prepare the dogs for scorching conditions, they were expected to be trained in the Coachella Valley in Southern California.
Interior Ministry officials did not respond when contacted by the GDN yesterday.
The canine (K9) unit in Bahrain Customs, which was formed in 2007, has been responsible for locating millions of dollars worth of drugs and other illegal substances. - TradeArabia News Service