Best paws forward to find top detector dog
Maurice O’Connor and his dog Radar are putting their best paws forward for a national detector dog competition in Wellington next week.
The National Police Patrol and Detector Dog Championships is based at the NZ Police Dog Training Centre in Trentham from September 10-12.
Maurice, the senior dog handler at Waikeria Prison, will compete against dog handlers from Corrections, Police and Customs.
Over three days they complete a series of drug searches of outdoor areas, vehicles and people.
The activities will take place around the greater Wellington region.
“You never know where the stuff is hidden — or if it’s hidden at all,” Maurice says.
Maurice has been working in dog handling for 20 years — most of that time at Waikeria Prison.
He’s been working with Radar, a German shorthaired pointer for the last five and a half years.
“Radar has got such a high drive and really loves to work.
“He really enjoys affection and his reward is play-time or getting a toy.”
Maurice has worked with five operational drug dogs over the years.
“We slowly train them up from a young age.”
It’s the sixth time he’s competed at the national championships.
“I’ve come away with a fourth, two thirds and a second.
“I’d really like to win it this time.”