Sniff­ing out the bad­dies

Central Leader - - NEWS - By SCOTT MOR­GAN

New de­tec­tor dog han­dler Ja­cob Bates has al­ways loved an­i­mals.

His mum’s a former zookeeper and his first job was in a pet shop.

So when the chance came to move from his role as a quar­an­tine su­per­vi­sor to dog han­dler, look­ing af­ter young bea­gle Ol­lie, he jumped at the chance.

‘‘I’m lov­ing it. It’s so much fun.’’

Mr Bates was one of seven new dog han­dlers to grad­u­ate in the Min­istry of Pri­mary In­dus­tries’ lat­est in­take.

The pair will work at Auck­land Air­port, sniff­ing out biose­cu­rity risks.

Han­dlers have to be matched with a dog that suits their per­son­al­ity and go through 10 weeks of train­ing, in­clud­ing the­ory and prac­ti­cal as­sess­ment.

But the Mt Roskill res­i­dent says it was chal­leng­ing ab­sorb­ing all that in­for­ma­tion and form­ing a bond with Ol­lie in a short pe­riod of time.

‘‘The dogs have a mind of their own. There’s so much work you have to put into the dog to build that re­la­tion­ship.

‘‘Once that re­la­tion­ship is there, it just feels easy.’’

Ol­lie has lost 4kg since start­ing the pro­gramme af­ter spend­ing his first year as the com­pan­ion of an el­derly pen­sioner.

‘‘He had so much en­ergy, he was a night­mare for that guy.’’

Now he gets to run around the air­port ar­rivals ter­mi­nal and is re­warded with food when he iden­ti­fies a risk.

‘‘He’s a hand­ful, but he’s got a great nose on him.’’

Mr Bates says us­ing dogs is one of the best ways to keep New Zealand’s bor­ders safe.

Photo: SCOTT MORGA

Pow­er­ful part­ner­ship: New Min­istry of Pri­mary In­dus­tries dog han­dler Ja­cob Bates and de­tec­tor dog Ol­lie, will be work­ing out of Auck­land Air­port.

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