State and military dog it out in K-9 competition

Senior Airman Zachary Fredrick, 5th Security Forces Squadron Military Working Dog  handler, and MWD  Roko compete in the 2013 North Dakota Peace Officer Association K-9 Police Trials at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., Aug. 14, 2013. The trials included narcotics and explosive search competitions, as well as the Iron Dog event . (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Brittany Y. Auld)

Senior Airman Zachary Fredrick, 5th Security Forces Squadron Military Working Dog handler, and MWD Roko compete in the 2013 North Dakota Peace Officer Association K-9 Police Trials at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., Aug. 14, 2013. The trials included narcotics and explosive search competitions, as well as the Iron Dog event . (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Brittany Y. Auld)

Staff Sgt. Rocky Thompson, 319th Security Forces Squadron military working dog kennel master, tries to coax his counterpart K-9 Aron from a tube during a K-9 handling competition at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., Aug. 14, 2013. Thompson and MWD Aron were part of a nine team competition that included members from the 5th Security Forces squadron K-9 unit, the 319th Security Forces squadron and police officials from North Dakota. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Andrew Crawford)

Staff Sgt. Rocky Thompson, 319th Security Forces Squadron military working dog kennel master, tries to coax his counterpart K-9 Aron from a tube during a K-9 handling competition at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., Aug. 14, 2013. Thompson and MWD Aron were part of a nine team competition that included members from the 5th Security Forces squadron K-9 unit, the 319th Security Forces squadron and police officials from North Dakota. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Andrew Crawford)

Staff Sgt. David Wyrick, 5th Security Forces military working dog handler, runs with MWD LLegend during a K-9 competition at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., Aug. 14, 2013. Wyrick and MWD LLegend worked as a team to complete the course that included jumps, tunnels and simulated gun fire which the team worked together to complete. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Andrew Crawford)

Staff Sgt. David Wyrick, 5th Security Forces military working dog handler, runs with MWD LLegend during a K-9 competition at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., Aug. 14, 2013. Wyrick and MWD LLegend worked as a team to complete the course that included jumps, tunnels and simulated gun fire which the team worked together to complete. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Andrew Crawford)

Senior Airman Zachary Fredrick, a military dog handler for the 5th Security Forces Squadron, rests with his dog Roko after performing in the K-9 competition held at the Minot Air Force Base, N.D., kennels on Aug.  14, 2013. Military working dogs and handlers from state law enforcement, as well as members from Grand Forks AFB, N.D., and Minot AFB’s 319th Security Forces Squadron competed in the course to showcase their skills, discipline and teamwork. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Lauren Pitts)

Senior Airman Zachary Fredrick, a military dog handler for the 5th Security Forces Squadron, rests with his dog Roko after performing in the K-9 competition held at the Minot Air Force Base, N.D., kennels on Aug. 14, 2013. Military working dogs and handlers from state law enforcement, as well as members from Grand Forks AFB, N.D., and Minot AFB’s 319th Security Forces Squadron competed in the course to showcase their skills, discipline and teamwork. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Lauren Pitts)

Senior Airman Zachary Fredrick, 5th Security Forces Squadron military working dog handler, congratulates 2-year-old German Shepard Roko on successfully completing an obstacle course during the 2013 North Dakota Peace Officer Association K-9 Police Trials at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., Aug. 14, 2013. The obstacle course included hurdles, tunnels, and tests of endurance for both the K-9 and handler.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Lauren Pitts)

Senior Airman Zachary Fredrick, 5th Security Forces Squadron military working dog handler, congratulates 2-year-old German Shepard Roko on successfully completing an obstacle course during the 2013 North Dakota Peace Officer Association K-9 Police Trials at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., Aug. 14, 2013. The obstacle course included hurdles, tunnels, and tests of endurance for both the K-9 and handler. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Lauren Pitts)

Minot Police Department K-9 Piko looks up from beneath a table as his handler Titus Clouse, MPD patrolman, completes a written exam during the 2013 North Dakota Peace Officer Association K-9 Police Trials at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., Aug. 14, 2013. The exam tested both military and civilian handlers’ basic medical knowledge of K-9s and was the second stop in the competition’s obstacle course which included strength, endurance and noise response obstacles. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Stephanie Sauberan)

Minot Police Department K-9 Piko looks up from beneath a table as his handler Titus Clouse, MPD patrolman, completes a written exam during the 2013 North Dakota Peace Officer Association K-9 Police Trials at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., Aug. 14, 2013. The exam tested both military and civilian handlers’ basic medical knowledge of K-9s and was the second stop in the competition’s obstacle course which included strength, endurance and noise response obstacles. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Stephanie Sauberan)

Staff Sgt. Christopher Averill, 5th Security Forces Squadron military working dog handler, instructs 5-year-old German Sheppard Kety to leap through a window obstacle during the 2013 North Dakota Peace Officer Association K-9 Police Trials at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., Aug. 14, 2013. The obstacle course was designed to test the strength, endurance and basic medical knowledge of military and civilian K-9 handlers from across the state. It also served as a way for them to come together and showcase their skills as a team in a friendly yet competitive environment. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Stephanie Sauberan)

Staff Sgt. Christopher Averill, 5th Security Forces Squadron military working dog handler, instructs 5-year-old German Sheppard Kety to leap through a window obstacle during the 2013 North Dakota Peace Officer Association K-9 Police Trials at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., Aug. 14, 2013. The obstacle course was designed to test the strength, endurance and basic medical knowledge of military and civilian K-9 handlers from across the state. It also served as a way for them to come together and showcase their skills as a team in a friendly yet competitive environment. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Stephanie Sauberan)

Staff Sgt. Christopher Averill, 5th Security Forces Squadron military working dog handler, leads his 5-year-old German Sheppard Kety over an A-frame obstacle the 2013 North Dakota Peace Officer Association K-9 Police Trials at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., Aug. 14, 2013. In addition to competing against others from their squadron, Averill and Kety competed against handlers from state and local law enforcement agencies as well as security forces handlers assigned to Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D. The course tested teamwork between handlers and K-9s in addition to serving as a chance for them to exchange advice and techniques. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Stephanie Sauberan)

Staff Sgt. Christopher Averill, 5th Security Forces Squadron military working dog handler, leads his 5-year-old German Sheppard Kety over an A-frame obstacle the 2013 North Dakota Peace Officer Association K-9 Police Trials at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., Aug. 14, 2013. In addition to competing against others from their squadron, Averill and Kety competed against handlers from state and local law enforcement agencies as well as security forces handlers assigned to Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D. The course tested teamwork between handlers and K-9s in addition to serving as a chance for them to exchange advice and techniques. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Stephanie Sauberan)

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- The first cooperative, 2013 North Dakota Peace Officer Association K-9 Police Trials competition, which included military members and local law enforcement officials, took place at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., Aug. 14.

The event showcased 12 K-9 teams from military bases and law enforcement agencies across the state. The teams competed in various field exercises including narcotics and explosives detection, and a dog rescue scenario called the Iron Dog Rescue Course.

The competition is held at various locations in North Dakota each year; however, this was the first time the trials were held on a military installation. The joint competition allows the civilian and military agencies and their dogs to learn from each other, said Tech. Sgt. Steven Kaun, 5th Security Forces Squadron military working dog trainer.

"This allows us to train on similar substances and get different techniques from civilian or other military teams," said Kaun, a Buffalo, N.Y., native. "It's also good for camaraderie."

The detection exercises were conducted before the main event, the Iron Dog Rescue Course. The course consisted of several hurdles, tunnels and ramps. Additionally, teams had to dodge decoys, engage a suspect in a mock combat zone and complete exercises that tested the dog's ability to obey various commands. .

Each obstacle served a specific training purpose, said Kaun. Leaping over hurdles simulated jumping through windows while a catwalk imitated a narrow ledge the dog had to run on. Also, at one point in the course the handler would lift the dog onto his shoulder simulating carrying the dog through rubble.

The K-9 teams had no previous knowledge of the course beforehand, adding realism and enhancing their decision making, Kaun added.

The excitement on the field was visible on the faces of the nearly 75 onlookers seated in the stands, Kaun said. The crowd was encouraged to cheer the dogs on as they ran through the course. The crowd helped motivate the dogs and trainers throughout the competition, building excitement and energy, added Kaun.

"We really enjoyed everyone coming out and hope they enjoyed the show," said Kaun. "It let people choose their favorite superhero and help them win."

Though the show was meant to entertain, it was a judged competition meant to highlight the most efficient working K-9 team, said Kaun.

The winners of the competition were announced at a formal public ceremony in the afternoon.

The Top Dog for Narcotics Detection Award and the North Dakota Peace Officer Association Traveling Trophy was presented to K-9 Gypsy and her handler Corporal Mike Lee, Grand Forks Country sheriff.

The Top Dog for Explosives Award went to military working dog Kety and her handler Staff Sgt. Christopher Averill, 5th Security Forces Squadron military working dog handler.

Apart from entertainment and friendly competition, the trials ultimately provided an up-close look at the capability of these dogs, said Kaun.

"They say military working dogs and civilian K-9s work at Olympic standards," said Kaun. "They're running heavy, they're working heavy and these are the best dogs we can get on these forces."