D.D. Ayres | That Special Connection: Handler and Dog
June 13, 2017
We love our pets. We share our food, sofas, maybe even our beds. It’s a tight
bond. But professional K-9 partners are on a different level. Before starting
the K-9 Rescue Series, I talked directly with experts. In each
series book, including my latest, PHYSICAL FORCES, I
highlight aspects of this special connection.
The Top Five Traits of Successful K-9 teams
Character. Good K-9 teams share these qualities: stamina,
confidence, the ability to think independently, self-discipline, and a strong
work ethic. Law enforcement and military K-9s must have a strong “drive.” An FBI
explosives K-9 handler told me a story last year that best demonstrates “drive.”
The final day of testing, I was a little worried. My German shepherd had
been a handful during training and we’d almost flunked out. We were directed to
enter a gym and locate a scent item. He located it easily, tucked into the top
of a cargo climbing net twelve feet above our heads. Without prompting, my dog
climbed the net and retrieved it! I later learned the other K9s had ‘signed’ by
sitting beneath it, or pawing the net a few times and barking.*
Needless to say, his dog won the drive award.
Trust. The most dangerous situation for a handler is mere
playtime for the K-9, unless something goes wrong. It’s the handler’s job to
assess every situation so as to not knowingly put the dog in jeopardy. My
dog will do anything I ask of her. She trusts me to keep her safe. I do
everything I can not to violate that trust.*
Personality match. Some dogs are easy. Some are a
challenge. Once the dog is trained, it’s the handler’s job to learn his
My first patrol dog was easy to read. When in odor, he pranced like a
Tennessee walking horse. I knew to recall him or hook him up before he started
destroying property. The next dog was more subdued. I learned to look for an ear
twitch or for the hair to rise on his back.*
Affection. K-9s work for reward.
My new dog didn’t like the rewards I’d used with other dogs. I tried
everything. Tennis balls, squeak toys, chew toys. Nothing interested him for
long. Finally, I came across this jingle ball from Wal-Mart. He went bozo over
that thing. So I drove around the area, to every store, and bought all the balls
they had. I was worried about what would happen if I ran out of balls, or they
stopped making them.*
In the Zone. Everybody has that moment while working a dog, when you and your partner
sync up. For the dog it’s him or her reading and reacting to the handler’s
language and emotions. For the handler it’s knowing in advance what that dog is
going to do in a certain situation before they do it.*
My series K-9 family Zander, Bogart, Hugo, Izzy, Sam, Lily, Oleg, Noah, and
Jackeroo wish you a wonderful summer of reading!
Macayla Burkett is no ordinary private eye. She’s a pet detective, dedicated
to tracking down missing dogs and cats. When two famous racing greyhounds
disappear and turn up dead, Macayla finds herself in the midst of a much more
serious case. And when the thieves target her and threaten her life, she
realizes she’s in grave danger―until a ridiculously handsome stranger
enters the picture …
Oliver Kelly may look like a male stripper, but his muscles aren’t just for
show. The gorgeous Australian is co-owner of a K-9 Search and Rescue service
dedicated to saving those in danger. When he and his K-9 partner, an
Australian shepherd named Jackeroo, rescue the fiery detective from trouble,
the sparks begin to fly. And when they join forces to stop a widespread case of
animal theft, it unleashes a torrent of passion that’s impossible to tame…
Don't miss Physical Forces, a K-9 Rescue novel from D. D. Ayres!
A veteran author of romance and women’s fiction, D.D. Ayres is new to
Romantic Suspense. She believes the lure of romance is always the human
connection. Put that connection in physical jeopardy, and and we learn a bit
moreabout who we really are.
With her K-9 Rescue series, D.D. hopes you will enjoy her sexy, suspenseful
portrayals of K-9 teams at their best.
D.D. lives in Fort Worth,Texas with
her husband and a soft-coated Wheaten terrier named Zoe.