Pet safety Plan When You Dial 911

The loss of beloved pets still lingers.

It is in light of a news story stating a civilian dog had been shot by police in the city of Edmonton, AB that I decided to write this story about pet safety. With the goal of hopefully preventing a civilian pet from being harmed by emergency services in the future I encourage all pet owners and professional working dog handlers to read my story. At the end of this story I have inserted a link to the story that inspired me to write this one.

Like many people watching the story on the news that night, I was angered, hurt, in disbelief and even confused about how it could happen. There are many similar cases to this dog shooting in North America and seem to be more every year.

This story hit me harder than the others I had watched or read about before for some reason. Perhaps it is because I have a perspective from both ends of the leash having worked my security k9s in Edmonton myself. I believe this Shooting could have been prevented.

This scenario below is fiction and in no way compares to Jax’s shooting in April of 2015. It has been written strictly to help prevent such an incident from happening again.

Fear wakes you in the dead of night.

So, you hear a noise at 3 am and your dog is barking. You realize somebody has broken in to your home and you dial 911. The person or persons who are breaking in have left hearing your dog. Police are on the way and you are waiting.

At this point you are scared and your dog feels that fear and anxiety in you as it is transferred to him. Yes dogs can feel your emotions and they tend to feed off of them which makes them more edgy.

Now what should you do?

Have you notified the police that you have a dog on the premises? Consider that your pet is a distraction. He may be at risk or put officers in a compromising situation in the confusion of an emergency. Should a k9 officer arrive with police for tracking purposes the risk is even greater?

Most of us won’t think of these things in a moment of stress such as an unexpected intrusion. So, just like we all have a plan for a fire, we should for when calling police. These are some steps that you can follow to ensure the safety of your civilian dog, other pets and all involved in the instance that a k9 officer and police arrive.

The Pet Safety Plan.

  1. When you dial 911 notify the person answering that you have a companion or civilian k9 on the premises. Once you have given all details about the issue at hand tell them they must notify police that you have a companion dog in your home.
  2. Watch for the police to arrive and place your companion dog in a crate or a room where they will be out of the way and safe. Then allow the police to do their job.
  3. Ideally your dog should be in a crate as the officers may want to check the rooms and you cant be sure of how your pet will react to them given the circumstances. No matter how friendly you dog is in your everyday life he may not be the same dog you usually know in this case.
  4. You must let the police know where your dog is located so they can do their job safely.
  5. When officers want to see the room where the dog is located, show them. Remember, you are expected to be in control of your dog or pet at all times.

Never underestimate how stress will effect your pet.

I can’t emphasize enough how important this is. When in a stressful and unexpected situation your dog or pet may surprise you. His reaction to the police, no matter how docile he has proven to be will likely be quite different from what you are accustomed to. You are responsible for your pets and need to make sure that they are unable to bite or threaten an officer.

As stressed as you are about the break in your dog will be more so. Dogs react in instinct and some have more intense drive (emotion related to stimulated instinct) than others. They also sense your emotional state and will feed off of that.

Then you have police (strangers to your dog) who are in your home. In some cases adrenaline is rushing when they arrive causing yet another stimulation for your dog to feed off of.

Last but not least the k9 officer…

This is a dog with high drive, in a working mind
like his handler and other
human officers on arrival. His adrenaline will be rushing. Dog to dog stimulation is even stronger than human to dog stimulation. Other critters, pets, noise and even smell will offer distraction and stimulate the
k9 officers drives.

All of the above can be a catastrophe waiting to happen. There must never be a communication breakdown between you and the police in an emergency situation. Be clear and concise when providing your information.

Hearts of gold.

Your dog or other pet is your companion. Like most, you love him or her like it was your child. Your investment is mostly emotional and your pets value is priceless.

The police invest enormous amounts into k9s for care and training. They need to protect that investment. The handler, like the civilian has an emotional bond with his k9. He knows his k9 officer will give his life to protect him. So, it is his duty to protect his K9 as much as it is yours to protect your dog.

My experience as a professional K9 handler.

As a K9 security guard myself,  I learned very quickly what value my working K9 carried in me. The bond we share with a k9 partner is strongly based on trust. We have each other’s back and nobody can get near us unless we allowed this as a team.

My k9 keeps me safe and alerts me of everything approaching. I have encountered people hiding behind vehicles and dumpsters in alleys. The risks we are subjected to in public security services are scary and unpredictable. We are confronted by drunk people, people on drugs, situations of domestic abuse and more.

I have held the hand of a girl who was drugged and allegedly raped. Another of my Security guards and her K9 saved a young woman from a potentially deadly beating. Her boyfriend had recently been released from prison. Our K9 partners keep us and others safe from potential dangers and offer us comfort after a bad night or event.

How do we work together to prevent future civilian dog shootings?

She is part of a family unit.

We must protect those who protect us and our four  legged companions. Please take ownership of your responsibility as a pet owner. Police equally must take ownership of their responsibility in deploying a k9.

It is in everybody’s best interest that nothing distract the police or their k9 while working. Due diligence is required here as home and pet owners. Pets and critters must be locked away safe and out of the way when the police arrive.

Prevention is the best medicine.

As a k9 trainer I have work with many breeds. Most have been working breeds such as German shepherds. I have also trained both civilian and security k9s for obedience and protection. For more information on my training services click

Part of the k9 training that I do is in a pack. This helps handlers learn dog body language. Knowing our dog’s body language helps by making prediction of his next move second nature.  I think everybody who owns or handles a K9 should study the body language of dogs in a pack. It is crucial in predicting and preventing accidents.

It is hard to find a school that trains dogs in pack. Most trainers don’t have large groups of dogs on hand to work with. However, I believe that this type of training is essential especially for a professional working dog handler. You are the ones who serve the public and work with the public all the time. Part of that public happens to be our pets.

I also believe that working and training in pack is advantageous in circumstances such as those in Jax’s story. If you are working professionally with K9s you should be required to partake in this type of training. You should also be trained on how to separate a dog fight.

It is of my opinion that this type of training could have prevented Jax’s death.

Please continue to read on Jax’s story by clicking on the link below.

Edmonton woman whose dog was shot by police plans to sue