WEEKI WACHEE (FOX 13) - K-9 officers from across the Bay Area went through a rigorous training session Tuesday at Weeki Wachee State Park.
“We want them to go right in the water with no fear,” said Hernando County Deputy Brandon Cox, who heads up the department’s K-9 training. “We want to encounter everything that we're going to encounter in a real life scenario in training first.”
And in Florida, that means exposing K-9 officers to the water - an environment they’re almost certain to run into.
“Sometimes they're a little hesitant but if we're tracking a bad guy we can’t afford to have that,” Cox said.
Some dogs were slow to take to the water, but others dove right in.
“All of our training techniques are positive reinforcement so everything we do with our dogs is fun for them,” Cox said.
Hernando County Corporal Stephen Miller and his dog, Justice have been serving justice together for three years.
“We've tracked thru the swamp a lot of times,” Cpl. Miller said. “Knowing that you have a backup that won't hesitate for you, it makes you feel at ease. A lot of times we're out there by ourselves. It's just us and the dogs."