Vt. K-9 teams win high honors - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt. K-9 teams win high honors

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Capone and Burlington police officer Trent Martin along with Drager and Vermont State Police Trooper Rich Slusser, have just received a very high honor. They are the state's K-9 teams of the year.

"It makes me very, very proud of him. He works so hard, he's such a good dog," said Trent Martin.

"This will be our fourth year and we're finally getting to that place where we're comfortable with one another and the dog knows his job now, he knows what he's supposed to be doing," said Slusser.

Seven-year-old Capone was a rescue dog that showed promise. Officer Martin says that even though he is a German shepherd, a breed commonly used in K-9 units, it takes a certain kind of temperament to be right for this kind of work.

"There are some basic tests to see if they have enough heart to do the job, you know if they're not skittish and they're at least friendly. They're not going to go after their handler," said Martin.

Capone excels at drug sniffing and tracking fugitives and has helped crack many cases this year, mainly due to one very important body part.

"All the dogs in the program, their noses are key," said Martin.

Dogs like Drager and Capone are just like every other dog, with maybe a few extra talents.

Highly trained and extremely obedient, 4-and-a-half-year-old Drager is trained to make biting apprehensions, which is to bite a suspect to keep them contained but only at the command of Slusser.

"If all of a sudden the guy would give up, you gotta be able to call your dog off...Drager off!" said Slusser.

Even when they are not helping catch criminals or finding missing people, Capone and Drager stay close to their companions.

"There's a bond between us. He pretty much follows me around the house, everywhere I go," said Slusser.

It's a bond between an officer and his four-legged buddy.

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