China / Cover Story

Police dogs sink teeth into terror fight

By Cui Jia (China Daily) Updated: 2014-08-07 07:36

'Bilingual' best friend inspires

Jack the Malinois has mastered a skill that no other canine in his dog unit has understanding commands in both the Uygur and Mandarin languages.

The 8-year-old Malinois is part of the Urumqi special police force No 8 detachment's police dog unit in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

"Other officers call him the 'bilingual canine'. Inspired by Jack, some of them have also begun to learn the Uygur language, " said Mehmet Halik, 28, an officer from the unit, which is based in Urumqi, the regional capital.

Mehmet loves dogs and sees himself as a natural dog trainer. He was transferred to the police dog unit after a superior discovered his talent five years ago.

"I was with another special police team based next to a military base at the time. One day, I noticed that they began to train their army dogs so I watched and learned," he said.

Mehmet's superior has a Labrador and he began to use the training methods he "stole" on the canine. A few months later, the dog mastered all the basic obedience skills, impressing the superior who later recommended Mehmet to the police dog unit.

"Training dogs is like taking care of your child. You have to know when to praise them or punish them, but always with love," said Mehmet, who is the father of an 18-month-old boy.

Canines can sense the emotions of their handlers and be affected by them, Mehmet said.

"I used to be hot-tempered and so was Jack. He has become quite relaxed now because I've changed," he said.

The canines may have to team up with more than one officer during their service, and the transition period can be painful and heart-breaking.

Mehmet became Jack's handler after the first officer retired.

"Jack was obviously depressed and it took quite a while for him to go back to the field again," Mehmet said.

Once, Jack's previous handler returned to the unit and the dog immediately recognized him. Later, the two men decided to place a bet to see who Jack would run to first when they called his name, from the same distance at the same time.

"To our surprise, Jack hesitated for a moment and ran straight back to his kennel," Mehmet said.

"We then realized that he did so because he didn't want to hurt either of us."


Previous Page 1 2 3 Next Page

Hot Topics