They trained with the army in Meerut for 19 months. Barely seven months-old, they learnt to detect explosives and chase down targets. They may look chubby and languid, but their trainers say they are not just brave but naughty too.
On Monday, 30 of these Labradors became the latest recruits of the Delhi Police, taking the strength of the force’s dog squad to 60.
With lieutenant governor Najeeb Jung, Delhi Police chief Alok Verma and other senior officers in attendance, the canines were inducted at a special ceremony at the India Gate lawns in the evening. As Jung walked in, the dogs sprung to attention at the call of ‘saavdhan’. Once at ease, they obliged amused children with a ‘paw shake’.
At an average age of two years, the fresh batch will be deployed to secure public areas in different parts of the city. Twenty of them have been trained to detect explosives while the rest are trackers.
Watch | Delhi police inducts 30 trained labradors in dog squad
“Till now, we had 25 detection and five tracker dogs. The new batch has already trained with the army and will undergo additional training with the Border Security Force. We are looking at expanding the squad in the coming months,” said Delhi Police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat. The department spent more than `1.75 lakh to train and procure each dog.
Apart from the dogs, their trainers too underwent a week-long programme to get acquainted with the canine assigned to them. Petting 18-mont-old Babe, his trainer
Raj Kumar said he is the naughtiest of the lot. He threw a baton at some distance and Babe was off in a flash to catch it. “Their diet depends on the weather. We have reduced the intake of eggs due to rising temperatures,” he said.
“The last recruitment happened during the Commonwealth Games when the strength of the dog squad was 110. With time we lost many dogs to retirement and death. They are in major demand parades and to track drugs and explosives,” Bhagat said.