K9 cross country biathlon

26 September 2011
Senior Constable Deana Horwood from NT Police’s Northern Dog Operations Unit, competed with Drug Detector Dog `Puma' at the Police and Services Dog Association Queensland Biathlon last month, taking out the Best Female Handler category.
Dee and Puma in action
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58 dog handlers competed in the K9 Cross Country Biathlon held at RAAF Base Amberley from 1 September to 4 September. The competition featured 50 men and eight women from various jurisdictions around Australia including Air Force, Army, Customs, State and Territory Police, Corrective Services, and Australian Federal Police.

The annual Police and Services Canine Association Queensland Biathlon is a timed cross country event where handlers compete in a cross country run of around a 3-4 km course, made up of natural and man-made obstacles. This event is designed to test the endurance and physical ability of the handler and dog teams.

Senior Constable Deana Horwood said the event showcased the teamwork of the dogs and their handlers, as well as testing their agility, strength and endurance.

“It was a very tough and competitive course, but at the same time it was a great experience for Puma and myself.

“I didn't get a chance to do any specific agility training with Puma before the event, just a few middle distance runs prior to the race so I was a little nervous as to how we would handle the obstacle component of the course. Luckily, Puma’s high level of fitness and natural ability to tackle the obstacles made things a lot easier on the day for the both of us.

“It was the first time the NT Police have participated in the event, so it was great to bring home the Best Female Award.

“The competition was a great way for handlers to come together and share knowledge and experiences of life as a dog handler across a range of different services.

Following the biathlon was a two day K9 workshop and training seminar. The day is also an opportunity for handlers to discuss training methodologies and to problem solve training issues from other handlers from like minded state and federal government agencies from within Australia.