“Good boy, Ryker, good boy.”
Jed Avery, a deputy with the Osceola County Sherriff’s Department, Reed City, Michigan, tussles the Dutch shepherd’s neck, offering a bite at his favorite chew toy.
Only seconds ago, the canine had lit into action, dashing from asphalt to the rear seat of an SUV, where he met an officer in padded protective gear to complete the high-risk traffic stop scenario. Now, the animal melts at his handler’s side.
“I like to be at the front,” says Avery. “That’s why I wanted to be a K9 officer.”
From Sept. 29 to Oct. 3, Avery and Ryker are one of more than 330 K9 teams participating in the National Association of Professional Canine Handlers’ annual training seminar at Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center, Michigan.