A Whakatane police dog and his handler, will compete this week in the 2017 National Police Patrol and Detector Dog Championships.
Inspector Todd Southall will referee 23 teams of New Zealand's top dogs and their handlers who will be competing in the competition.
“We have teams from New Zealand Police, Customs, Corrections, Aviation Security and New Zealand Army all contesting for trophies,” he says.
“The teams have travelled from all parts of the country and were selected following the competitive regional trials.”
They will compete with 10 other Police Patrol dog teams from Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, New Plymouth, Hawke's Bay, and Whakatane.
“Also joining us again this year is Auckland Senior Constable Owen Davies and his dog Quid and Whakatane Senior Constable Dave Robison, now with his dog Falcon,” says Inspector Southall.
“Last year, Dave competed with his previous dog Isaac but he's made it to the finals again this year with a new team mate.
“Owen and Dave finished third and fourth in last year's Nationals, then went on to win the 2016 Australasian championship in Melbourne.”
Waikato Senior Constable Blair Spalding and police dog Rush will also be defending the Patrol Dog Championship after their win last year.
In the Narcotic Detector Dog category, NZ Police, Corrections and Customs will each have two teams competing.
For the Explosive Detector Dog championship, the six teams come from NZ Police, Aviation Security and NZ Army, three of which competed last year.
Wellington Aviation Security Officer Nicholas Hunt and Jake finished third in 2016, and Auckland Police Senior Constable Christopher Clarke and Kea finished fourth followed by SPR Aidan Cornwall from NZ Army.
Inspector Southall says the competition involves a range of activities designed to test the unique skills of the dogs and their handlers.
“These are the challenges we train our dogs for and we try to ensure the scenarios are made as realistic as possible,” he says.
“They include some tough situations, including day and night-time activities throughout the Wellington and South Wairarapa regions.”
The competition will finish with a ceremony at the Police Dog Training Centre in Trentham, where Deputy Commissioner Viv Rickard will present the prizes for the winners of each category.
The prize giving will take place at the Police Dog Training Centre, Dante Road, Trentham, at 2pm on Wednesday, September 13.