A K-9 dog made the local news today for helping catch a gang member - and the dog actually inflicted bites. I used to have a job that required me to ride along with police officers on duty, which was very educational. I got to see K-9 dogs in action, and it was impressive - suspects who were screaming and swearing at the cops and fighting with them became REALLY cooperative the second the dog stepped out of the car.
My favorite memory of a police dog happened one time I was doing a ride along with a police officer in Nebraska. Every officer in every area is a bit different and this particular officer stands out in my mind because he is the only one who showed me where he had a rifle mounted in the car "in case I go down and there's trouble." I remember thinking "Eeek, this guy thinks there could be the kind of trouble where I have to arm myself and fire a rifle?" But actually, he was just very smart and very prepared - all of them tell you how to use the radio, but he was the only one who told me how to release the spare weapon - not a bad plan. Though more memorable still was his dog.
I forget the name of the dog though it started with a K. The dog had the backseat to himself and as a result that officer never had to have a passenger or transport anyone to jail (which may be why he could mount a weapon in the front seat). The dog only spoke German. The officer told me a few of the commands so I would have a basic understanding of what was going on as the dog worked. He also said to avoid any sudden movements. The ride along was an overnight, about a 6pm to 6am shift. During the night while on patrol we talked. At one point I was telling a story and without realizing it, I made a gesture with my hand that crossed the centerline of the car, my hand crossing over into the driver's side of the car. Instantly, before I could realize what was happening, the dog had leaped from the backseat and was pinning me very firmly against the seat, his body between me and the officer. He wasn't aggressive but he also had me in a position where I could not move.
The officer laughed and explained that no one is allowed to cross into the officer's side of the car and the dog is trained to prevent that. Very impressive! One quick command and the dog retreated into the back seat. After that the conversation didn't get animated, I made sure to keep my hands in my lap.