Police dogs will now have more land to learn new skills in Innisfail.
The RCMP Police Service Training Centre officially opened its expanded agility field and public viewing area Wednesday afternoon.
Facility renovations include upgraded kennel buildings and new state-of-the-art training facilities.
The agility course is designed to challenge the dogs in new ways, said Staff Sgt. Gary Creed, acting officer in charge of the training centre.
“During their duty, they’re always encountering different obstacles they have to work through. Presenting them in this situation they’ll be able to overcome that working in the field,” said Creed.
A new agility field was needed because the old one had run its course, Creed said.
“They used composite materials to build new obstacles. The new tower has some new components to it we can use to train the dogs – there’s actually tunnels in the tower,” he said.
A couple years ago the RCMP purchased 22 acres, which the new agility course is located on. The rest of the land is being used for human remains detection and on-site dog exercise.
“It gives us better facilities for our group dogs and to house them on-site,” said Creed. “In the past we’ve always had to take dogs off-site (because) sometimes they pick up bugs and bring them back here. Now we’re able to control all that.”
The new facility and the Memorial Gardens can now be found at the north end of the training centre.
“We configured the grounds so the Memorial Gardens are out front. Now people can visit anytime during the day, as long as we’re open,” Creed said.
After the grand re-opening of training facility and a canine demonstration, a ceremony was held for Pharaoh, police dog that died. The dog’s name was added to the Canadian Police Canine Association Monument.
Creed said handlers have an emotional attachment to their dogs.
“They’re everything to us,” he said. “They don’t ask for anything (except) for breakfast, dinner and a pat once in a while. They work so hard and are willing to give everything for us.”