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Idaho Fish and Game trains K9 officers, including newest member

Stirling says Riley will be fully trained by the fall of 2022
Idaho Fish and Game trains K9 officers, including newest member
Published: Jun. 17, 2022 at 4:59 PM MDT
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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — The Idaho Department of Fish and Game uses dogs and their incredible sense of smell to help assist the officers when they are out in the field. Now, a new lab will be joining the team.

“My dog just retired, and we have just picked up a replacement, he is currently in training,” said Jim Stirling, senior conservation officer at Fish and Game.

Once Riley completes his training, he will be able to assist his handler with a few different tasks, ranging from wildlife detection to search and rescue.

”In check stations to help us detect and deter violations of wildlife law,” said Stirling.

The dogs are trained to sniff out wildlife, and when they detect where the odor is coming from, they sit down and stare at their handler. The dog is then rewarded for finding the scent.

“We let these dogs locate the items for us using their extraordinary sense of smell and then we reward them with the toy,” said Stirling.

And he says perhaps the most important part of the K-9′s job is to interact with the community.

“We do require that they be good citizens, only because we use them as a public relations tool. We want the public to come up and say hi to our dogs,” said Stirling. “The one thing I would ask is always ask a K9 handler if you can pet the dog first, just so we don’t surprise the dog, but we do encourage these dogs to be very friendly and we love the public’s interaction with them,” continued.

Stirling says Riley will be fully trained by the fall of 2022.

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