At Adventure Island, Bay Area K-9 teams make a splash

Every bite, tug and pull is progress for Tampa-area K-9s in water training. At Busch Gardens’ Island Adventure Water Park Monday, more than 60 K-9 teams from a dozen local law enforcement agencies participated in the session.

“It’s crucial that the dogs get comfortable around the water,” explained Ryan Flannigan with the Tampa Police Department, who oversees the event.  “Being in the Tampa Bay area, we are constantly around bodies of water, whether it be lakes, ponds, gulf.”

The training started in the wave pool.

“This is where we start the dogs off, because they can gradually go into the water, and they’re more comfortable at that point,” he said.

Then, dogs jumped several feet from a ledge into a deeper pool, where they were expected to then swim across and bite officers wearing a bite suit.

FOX 13 reporter Jennifer Holton volunteered to put on the bite suit and be the bait.  


K-9 Ripley with the Tampa PD has served for years, but Flannigan says not all of the dogs have that much experience.

“We have dogs out here today who haven’t even gone through school yet. And we have seasoned dogs that 10 ten years old, that have worked the streets for eight years.”

They are the ones that prove you can indeed teach an old dog new tricks.