WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Three-month-old Tip loves to play in the bushes and run. But it's serious work for the future K-9. The border collie is in puppy training with 9-year-old Chris, a K9 shepherd who sniffs out explosives at the Palm Beach County Courthouse .
Every day Tip, Chris and Deputy Russell Jackowitz clock in for work.
"The purpose of getting the dog as a puppy and having them trained with the adult dogs, they come into the environment that they are going to work in and they are exposed to all of the areas that they are going to be using on a daily basis," said Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office Sergeant Jon Newcomb.
Chris is serious about his successor. When Tip is sidetracked and wants to play, K9 Chris makes sure to keep Tip in line.
"So prior to even starting a specific training to locate whatever substances they are going to be trained to find, they are already comfortable working in those areas and it's just natural for them to be there because they have been raised basically in all of the places they are going to be working in in the future," sergeant Newcomb said.
The program also can have a payoff for taxpayers.
"The Sheriff's Foundation has been real pivotal in helping us acquire these dogs. It ends up being fiscally responsible in that the dogs, buying them as puppies costs less, there's less expenditure on the vendor's part as to the maintenance and how long they have had them, so it's saving the taxpayers money in that the foundation is contributing to the purchase of these dogs," Newcomb said.
If all goes as planned, Tip will be ready for full time work in about a year and a half. Then Chris will retire.