: Sniffer dogs regularly go to watch one-day cricket “on duty.”
Sniffer dogs trained by police personnel here are regularly assigned to surveillance duty whenever high voltage cricket matches are held in Chennai’s Chepauk Cricket Stadium.
Apart from the comprehensive checks carried out on and off the field before the start of the matches, the dogs are also trained to stay calm in the presence of huge crowds, trainers at the Police Dog Squad say.
Aside from “watching” cricket, sniffer dogs are on duty at airports, when VVIPs visit the city.
Prior to the arrival of the people falling under Z plus category, the dogs are taken around to ensure there is nothing hazardous hidden or planted in the vicinity.
Police officers rely on dogs to solve crimes.
It is almost standard practice to have a dog pressed into service at a crime scene.
Sniffer dogs share a special relationship with the police.
Take the case of “Dixy,” an Alsatian, which gave the lead to the police in unravelling the hidden explosives stashed in a huge pit filled with sand and gravel in a private granite quarry operators’ yard in remote Thiruvathavur last year.
According to dog trainers, at the dog squad in the Armed Reserve Police Grounds complex, sniffer dogs, which include Labrador, Doberman and the German Shepherd, are categorised under crime, explosives and narcotics.
“We identify the animal from as early as three months old. Until it turns a year, it is called ‘puppy’ dogs.”
From the time the veterinary doctor examines and certifies them as fit, the dogs are taken for training. The Tamil Nadu police department has two training centres – at Coimbatore and Chennai.
For about six months, the dog trainers are trained. Then they teach the tricks to the dogs.
The sniffer dogs are vaccinated bi-annually and are subject to periodic medical examinations carried out by experts from the Veterinary Department.
The daily routine of sniffer dogs includes walking, massage and bathing.
Their diet includes 500 ml of milk in the mornings with energy tonic, quarter kilo of rice with beef as the noon meal, a bowl of soup and milk in the evenings.
The favourite time of day is the evenings when they undergo training and drills at the hands of trainers on sprawling grounds.