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By Chris Madsen

All of us involved in the U.S.A.'s 1999 International Police Dog Championship would like to thank the United Schutzhund Clubs of America, the Northwestern Region, and the Blue Tahoe Schutzhund Club for their gracious hospitality, encouragement and support. The enthusiasm -- especially that demonstrated by the spectators in the stands -- for our competitors was fantastic. All the entrants commented on how much the crowd's approval meant to them.

We would also like to thank US Airways for their assistance in the movement of the German Police Team and their dogs. Additionally, we need to recognize Barthco International for their assistance through US Customs and coordination of the air flights.

I can not forget to thank the Reno P.D. K-9 Unit for all their help and assistance.

I need to take a moment or two and acknowledge each of the entrants in the Police Dog Championship for their time, effort, and dedication.

I don't know if everyone understands how much work these police officers do with their dogs. Training for a competition, like ours in Reno, is just a small fraction of the time these handlers have to put in with their dogs. These handlers and their dogs spend the majority of their training time dealing with the "on the street" functions of their unit. They train to deal with building searches, area searches, tactical maneuvers, handler protection, etc. This training can sometimes be counterproductive to competition training, but, of course, takes precedent. Also, most of these dogs on the field in Reno are "cross-trained" for other disciplines such as drug or explosive detection. One of the dogs competing in Reno was cross-trained as an avalanche dog. This training for the dog's actual work takes most of a police dog handler's time. It is only a truly dedicated handler who would do the extra work to get their dog ready for a competition such as the one in Reno.

All of the police competitors used their own time off and paid for their own travel expenses to be in Reno. None were subsidized by their agencies. All the entrants have a high level of commitment to their dogs, their profession, and especially to the working police dog worldwide. The American entrants also strongly support U.S.A. Most belong to local U.S.A. schutzhund clubs.

A special acknowledgment must be made to our "Landes Bayern Polizei" team from Germany. These guys did not receive any help from their administration or government to honor my invitation. In fact, we had to overcome some last minute bureaucratic concerns to get them permission to enter. I was able to raise a small amount of sponsorship funds, but the handlers from Germany used their own time off, and paid their own travel and lodging expenses to come to our Championship. They deserve a special amount of respect and admiration for their supreme efforts. I am sure only those Americans who have traveled as far as Europe with a dog for competition can appreciate what an ordeal it was for these guys to travel with six dogs. These are truly first class working police dog and German Shepherd Dog people. I also should say that I have heard nothing but praise about their professional conduct, sportsmanship and handling on the field.

I know I speak for all the entrants when I say they hope you enjoyed their perfomances as much as they enjoyed competing and hearing your applause.

Copyright 1999 Chris Madsen; ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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