It’s an almost cool November morning in northeast Alabama. At 0330 most of the population is still hours from hearing an alarm, but not at the AMK9 kennels. Through the early-morning humidity, dogs are barking with excitement; spinning in anticipation… because Coach Danny is making the rounds. The K9s wait, just not patiently. And then it’s their turn. They can hardly stand still long enough for Coach to clip on the leash and pull them from the run, bouncing and spinning while he fits them with the harness. Next, they're clipped in place, right beside five of their morning running buddies, and then they’re off for a run.
Early morning at the old Fort McClellan isn’t filled with large semi trucks transporting wares, or sleepy folks juggling their iPhone calendar, Starbucks, and yogurt. Early morning at McClellan is when Coach Danny is running the AMK9 dogs. Like an Alabama dogsled musher, the dogs run in front of a cart; tongues flapping around, an occasional bark. Folks that know working dogs understand that there is a perfect Zen moment… the moment when they’re working hard and in absolute bliss; doing what they were born and bred to do. Zen Master Danny brings these canines to that state as they gallop around McClellan. For those that appreciate Working Dogs, seeing this moment is a thing of beauty.
All dogs assigned to the various training departments within AMK9 run an average of 5 to 8 miles, three times a week. At AMK9, we don’t do these things so we can write about it in blogs, or show off, or even to bring smiles to residents of old McClellan as they wake up and start their day. We do these things because we truly care about the dogs. We dedicate an entire team to keeping our dogs physically fit and mentally enriched. We do this because our combined centuries of dog experience tell us that a happy dog is a hard-working dog; a physically fit dog is a healthy dog; and a mentally enriched dog is an obedient dog.
We strive to reach that perfect trifecta of nutrition, conditioning, and veterinary care; because we understand that our dogs save lives. We build our dogs up daily, so they are capable of making confident, competent, split-second decisions that will save the lives of those they’re there to protect. So the next time you pass Danny and his dogs on the way to work, feel free to wave and smile!
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About the Author:
Herman Haynes currently serves as the Director of Canine Training for AMK9. Herman manages the globe's largest private sector explosive detection canine training program. With his over 20 years of experience as a Canine Professional, Herman is a tough leader in the industry.