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ASU canine officer Disney to participate in Desert Dog trials

April 04, 2012

Arizona State University’s canine officer is set to compete in the Desert Dog Regional Police K9 Trials April 14 and 15 at Scottsdale Stadium.

Disney, a 4-year-old yellow Labrador retriever, is participating in her first year of competition against other dogs in a timed event where she’ll run a scene searching for explosives. Disney is an Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms trained dog who can recognize approximately 19,000 different combinations of explosives. Her inventory of scents is constantly updated as new materials are developed.

Disney will be judged at the competition on odor recognition and search ability.

“Some dogs come from as far away as California, Nevada and New Mexico to compete,” said Parker Dunwoody, ASU Police Department Detective and Disney’s handler. Although the explosives dog competitions are not open to the public since their searches take place in a controlled environment, demonstrations will take place during intermissions.

Other dogs at the competition will demonstrate their skills through handler protection, tactical building search, agility/obstacle course, area search and narcotics detection.

“We have military dogs, federal dogs and state and local police agencies dogs,” Dunwoody said.

Dunwoody will don a protective suit and prepare himself for attack during the competition by simulating an aggressor or criminal running away.

“We have to put on protective suits so we’re not injured when the dogs bite us,” Dunwoody said.

Not only is Disney participating in these trials, she’s just been recertified by the ATF to continue her work as an explosives dog.

“We passed with flying colors,” Dunwoody said. “She tested on odor recognition and operational searches. It’s not always the same thing. Real-world scenarios are ever changing.”

Explosives dogs like Disney work high-profile events such as the Super Bowl and Insight Bowl. Lately, she’s been helping the U.S. Marshals Service with dignitary protection and protective sweeps.

Disney also has her own Facebook page where she lists “food and fun” as her main interests. This philosophy also applies to her job.

“It’s a game to her,” Dunwoody said.

The Desert Dog Regional Police K9 Trials will be held at Scottsdale Stadium April 14 and 15. For additional details, go to