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National Police Dog Championships unleashed in Barrie this week

Police canine teams from across Canada are in the city the next few days ahead of Saturday's free, public event at Sadlon Arena

You may want to get your tail on over to Sadlon Arena in south-end Barrie on Saturday, Sept. 9 for the 2023 National Police Dog Championships.

The Canadian Police Canine Association (CPCA) is a not-for-profit association that represents police, military and other government-run canine units.

Every year, the CPCA hosts a National Police Dog Competition in the fall, with the public attending on the final day of the competition.

This year, the CPCA has asked the Barrie Police Service and the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) to host this event due to the large number of canine teams located throughout the province.

The first few days of the event involve canine teams from across Canada coming together for training and competition.

At least 30 dogs from across Canada will be attending the event, with additional last-minute entries arriving to compete.

On Saturday, the canine teams will showcase their skills to the public inside the Sadlon Arena, located at 555 Bayview Dr., with show times starting at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. This is a free event. 

“It’s a really great event for the public to look at what handlers and police dogs do together, and to showcase the skills of those teams," Agata Czajkowski, the OPP's strategic communications officer, tells BarrieToday.

The dogs and their handlers will be competing against each other in categories that include agility, fastest dog and obedience skills.

The value of such an annual gathering of police canine units serves a networking purpose as well, says Czajkowski.

“It’s the enjoyment, the bond and learning from other handlers from across Canada,” she adds. “There’s a lot of information sharing that happens during the week, and a lot of relationships being built, and just building on what these teams know.”

Building on those skills, and the sharing of training expertise, is something that has always been important when dealing with dogs as a tool within police forces.

“It’s a valuable tool with policing,” Czajkowski says. “The canines are used for searching for individuals who are lost, or for evidence, and even human remains, sadly. These are things that, (when) using a canine, is a more effective and efficient searching tool. They cover more ground. And in a remote area, it is much harder to do that without them."

Police dogs are a specialized unit that has been part of the OPP's team since 1965.

Several vendors will also be in attendance on Saturday, offering up all things dog-related around the arena. There will also be many activities available for people of all ages.

Organizers are also asking the public to keep their pets at home for this event.

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Kevin Lamb

About the Author: Kevin Lamb

Kevin Lamb picked up a camera in 2000 and by 2005 was freelancing for the Barrie Examiner newspaper until its closure in 2017. He is an award-winning photojournalist, with his work having been seen in many news outlets across Canada and internationally
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