K-9 units from all over North Texas are competing for the title of “top dog” this week.
This year, the United States Police Canine Association trials are being held in Wylie.
While the teams are also getting recertified for field work, there is an added level of friendly competition.
"It makes you want to train hard so you can come out here and compete," said Officer Brenda Martin of Wylie. She and her partner Caro, holds the 2011 top team title.
Units show off their skills, from tracking and apprehending suspects to agility and obedience.
In one exercise, Martin describes as "find the bad guy," the canine officers sniff around eight large boxes spread out half the length of a football field to find a suspect.
Most dogs located the decoy, a Wylie rookie officer, within minutes.
"He’s pretty good at all of it," said Officer Randy McAdams, who traveled with his partner Gus from Texarkana. "We did really well in narcotics this year."
Gus, like many of the K-9 officers, is a German Shepherd, but comes from Czechoslovakia.
McAdams uses Czech words as many of Gus’s “work” commands, although the Gus also understands English.
"He understands that that is work time and it keeps them in the right mindset," McAdams said.
The trials were enough to impress Courtney Nakos, who says the event was part of her motivation to drive from College Station during spring break.
Nakos hopes to eventually become part of a K-9 team. She says she’s amazed by the dog’s show of intelligence.
"Just that they can be trained to find the drugs and find the people and guns," she said. "They’re so under control by the handler."
After a week of exercises, the trials will wrap up on Saturday.