MCSO trains K-9 dogs to protect and serve

PHOENIX – The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office is training a new team of K-9 deputies to protect and serve the public.

“We like to breed our own dogs and raise them specifically for police work. It’s better that way because then there’s a higher chance that police work will be in their blood,” said George Daniolos, owner of K-9 Defense, who’s responsible for training a majority of MCSO’s working dogs.

Daniolos contracts with the county to breed and train dual-purpose dogs to detect narcotics and apprehend suspects. He has six dogs on his new team.

“We set the foundation from a young age that cooperation with humans is always beneficial,” Daniolos said as he worked with his one of his older pups, 6-month-old Ollie. “I start my dogs two days from birth. Their eyes aren’t open and they can’t do much, but the exercises we do help the dogs to cope with stress later in life.”

The dogs are trained to detect explosives and such drugs as heroin, cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamines.

“By the time these dogs hit the academy, they’ll be able to sniff it out,” said Daniolos, placing a jar of narcotic-soaked cotton for his dog to detect.

In an academy, the dogs are paired with their human partner for training. But K-9 training is a career-long endeavor.

“It’s exactly like having a kid,” Deputy Zack Herrera said of his partner, Yankee. “But when they’re successful, it’s like no other feeling.”

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