Dubuque police dog keeps winning awards
DUBUQUE (AP) — Dubuque police Cpl. Brian Wullweber has a lot to be proud of with his partner.
Wullweber is the K-9 officer for the Dubuque Police Department, working with the 3-year-old male Belgian Malinois named Brix. In his two years with the force, Brix has won several national awards for his skills in tracking, narcotics detention and obedience, including the title “Top Dog” among 50 other K-9s at a Texas competition in October.
“He’s a very good dog,” Wullweber told the Telegraph Herald. “There’s stiff competition at those events. It’s very rewarding to see all of our work pay off.”
Wullweber joined the department in 2004, expressing his interest in becoming a K-9 officer. He got his chance in 2007.
“The day I became a police officer, I knew I wanted to be a K-9 officer,” he said. “There’s never been a time I haven’t had a dog.”
Brix is the second K-9 partner for Wullweber. He started as a K-9 officer in 2007 with the Dutch shepherd, Doerak. Wullweber said each dog has its own strengths, but both excelled at national competitions.
Brix, born in the Czech Republic, came to Dubuque police two years ago, donated by the nonprofit K9s4Cops. Normally, police dogs cost $10,000 to $15,000. Wullweber said Brix has been training as a police dog ever since he was a pup, being imprinted with odors of narcotics and taught how to search and retrieve.
“His breed and genetics have a lot to do with him becoming a K-9,” Wullweber said.
The two trained together at the Vohne Liche Kennels in Denver, Ind., for six weeks, getting to know and trust each other before Brix came to the police department. Wullweber also had to learn the Czech commands to give Brix, as that was the language Brix was trained in.
“Some people think it’s to deter other commands, but it’s just easier for me to learn than to teach him a new language,” Wullweber said.
Wullweber and Brix typically work overnight shifts, because there are usually more burglaries, disturbances, fleeing suspects and drug calls during that time. They patrol in a specialized cruiser that has a temperature-controlled kennel in the back seat.
While Brix is a talented police dog on duty, Wullweber said he’s also a very friendly and affectionate dog. He likes to do community demonstrations with Brix to show people what Brix is like and what he can do.
“A lot of people think police dogs are just mean attack dogs,” he said. “People are surprised how social Brix is.”
In the off hours, Brix lives with Wullweber and his family. Wullweber said this also helps the two stay bonded and allows them to train and exercise. Though their work is important, he said it’s also fun for Brix.
“Everything they do is like a game,” he said. “He doesn’t think of it like work because it’s fun for him.”