They say a dog is a man's best friend. But dogs like Brando don't just play around, their job is to protect.
Brando is a narcotics and patrol dog in Madison. He and his handler are in Wabeno in Forest County for a statewide K-9 handler conference. About 90 teams are there to go through intense training.
"Eight to ten hours a day, the dogs just get to work and that's literally what they live for," said Cherise Caradine, a sergeant K-9 handler.
Some scenarios include managing high risk situations, handling tough terrain and detecting drugs. For handlers, the training helps them perform when pretending becomes real.
"It makes us better dog handlers, better report writers, better investigators,” Caradine said. “It only improves us."
Handlers also give each other advice about their K-9s.
"You can come to one of these workshops and somebody here is going to be able to help you move to that next level of dog handling," said Caradine.
Handlers can also earn awards or recognition for their work.
"It's a long year and when you get a pat on the back for a job well done that's very important," said Todd Skarban, the K-9 Association's president.
Wabeno's police chief says the event takes all year to plan.
"We're very honored from everybody as well that comes out to volunteer to help put this on," said Mick Ashbeck, the Wabeno police chief.
But it's not all work for these dogs. They get to have plenty of fun once they accomplish their tasks.
Since the event is nonprofit, the community allows the handlers to train at their businesses and homes. The conference ends Tuesday.
The newest member of the Newsline 9 team was up bright and early Monday morning.
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