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New dog on the block

Osceola County Sheriff Deputy Tyler Bos poses with new partner and drug dog, Hunter. Hunter joined the force officially July 9, replacing the department’s former drug dog Kyzer. Robin Baumgarn/Daily Globe

SIBLEY, Iowa — The Osceola County Sheriff Department has recently acquired a new drug dog, Hunter, to replace canine retiree Kyzer. Deputy Tyler Bos has been assigned as his trainer and looks forward to the partnership.Thanks to community fundraising efforts and a substantial grant from the Osceola Community Foundation, the department was able to purchase and train the department’s newest four-legged member. The foundation gave Osceola County $3,500 of the dog’s $5,200 price tag. 

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Hunter, a chocolate lab-bloodhound,was a rescue dog from Pleasant Hill, Iowa. Dennis George with Midwest Canine selects dogs from rescues who can be trained as police dogs and works with the animals. George has trained a number of drug dogs in departments across Northwest Iowa and trained Hunter for 60 days. During Hunter’s initial training, the duo bonded over an 11-day period to establish the relationship of Bos being his handler. Now, Hunter lives with Bos on a full-time basis.

Training process

Bos said the typical training period is only 30 days, but he asked for Hunter to be trained in tracking in addition to his drug sniffing training. Now, Hunter is able to distinguish between the “main four” drugs — marijuana, meth, cocaine and heroin — but is not limited to identifying just those four.

He is also trained in scent discrimination, making him useful in tracking people.

Bos noted the dog is only trained for a the purpose of drug detection and tracking. Dogs in other departments may be cross-trained to attack perpetrators. Hunter’s friendly demeanor makes it easy to see he is a single-purpose dog.

Bos related that people have come up to Hunter to pet him due to his gentle nature. However, the public should be reminded he is a service animal, not a family pet, and should only be approached with permission from his handler.

Good things in big packages Hunter is a very large dog for his age and breed. Estimated between 12 and 16 months old, Hunter stands 28 inches at his withers and weighs 92 pounds. Labs are typically between 21 and 24 inches. Bos estimates Hunter will be 105 pounds when he is fully grown. At first, the dog’s size worked against him, now it is a asset.

“Dennis actually did everything, tried to fail him on everything, because he’s so big. But he passed insurmountable odds, and that’s where he is today,” Bos commented.

Initially, George had two potential dogs for Osceola County to choose from, but when Bos traveled to Pleasant Hill to select the dog, Hunter was the only one available. but was also a perfect match. Bos, who stands 6-foot, 8-inches tall, appreciates Hunter’s large stature. When standing on his hind legs, Hunter and the officer can see eye to eye. His size also allows Bos to work with him easily.

“During my hiring process, they asked me if that’s something I’d consider during my career. I said it when I got hired, I’d love to be a K-9 unit at some point in time.”

Bos’ father, Rick Bos, was a K-9 officer when he worked for Osceola County from 1989 to 1999. His dog’s name was Curtis.

“Curtis was a black lab and did very well over here with Dad,” Bos said. “That’s something I always wanted. I’ve been a big dog lover throughout my life so, to get a chance to have one, I wasn’t going to turn it down.”

Daily Globe Reporter Robin Baumgarn may be reached at 376-7323.