Police dog Gunney thrills Horizon second-graders with his skills

Madison police dog Gunney heeled, tracked and attacked to thrill second-graders at Horizon Elementary School on Sept. 19.

Officer Jason Bolden and Gunney

K-9 Officer Jason Bolden with Madison Police Department, Patrol Division instructed the students before Gunney left the patrol car. “Gunney will be moving freely. Don’t pet. Don’t grab. He is a working dog,” Bolden said.

Gunney, a jet-black German Shepherd, was raised in Slovakia “in Europe next to the Urkraine,” Bolden told students. “Gunney came a long way to work in Madison.

In Slovakia, Gunney started his police training at 17 months old. He then was relocated to a Kentucky training facility, where Bolden and Gunney met. They returned to Madison and completed partner training. Off duty, Gunney lives with the Bolden family.

Gunney has the dual purpose of apprehending suspects and tracking narcotics.

“He can smell through his nose and mouth. When he is huffing and puffing, he can still smell with olfactory sensors,” Bolden said. “When a bad guy, like a bank robber, runs, he ‘breaks’ the grass and drops his scent.” The dog can track the scent hours later.

“Gunney has been successful in four apprehensions, including a robbery,” Golden said.

Horizon’s Special Resource Officer Ralph Dawe portrayed a fleeing suspect but wore protective gear on his arm. Responding to Bolden’s “Attack” command, Gunney chased down and ‘bit’ Dawe and then held on tenaciously.

“When a dog is chasing, he goes into ‘prey drive.’ When you run, his mind triggers him to chase — like chasing a rabbit in the wild,” Bolden said.

Gunney attacks Officer Ralph Dawe.

Gunney has been trained to open the patrol car door and come to assist an officer in danger. Bolden placed Gunney in the back seat and walked from the car. He instructed second-grader Isabella Parcus-Hall from Summer Chance’s class to yell, ‘Gunney, open your door!” After two attempts, Isabella was successful and Gunney bolted from the car to assist Bolden.

Three new police dogs recently joined Gunney in Madison’s K-9 Unit, managed by Lt. Nate Beard.

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