Vohne Liche Kennels in Denver, Ind., will be featured on Nat Geo Wild’s show Alpha Dogs Friday.
Owner and Chief Trainer Ken Licklider became friends with Jack Osbourne, who is one of the executive producers.
Licklider met Osbourne when Osbourne was in Muncie for the show Armed and Famous. Initially, Licklider turned down offers to do the show.
“We train a lot of heavy hitters here – special forces people, people that don’t want to be on camera and the seriousness of what we do. I did not want to become a reality show,” Licklider said.
Licklider said Osbourne reassured him and gave him the rights to approve each episode.
“It’s important for me to show the seriousness and the importance of what these guys do. I didn’t want it to turn into a comedy,” Licklider said.
Officers, soldiers, and people from around the world train at the facility. The kennel’s dogs are placed around the world too, including at the Pentagon and with the Secret Service.
Brett Garden is a newly assigned K9 handler with the Carbondale, Ill., Police Department. He trained with his K9 on Tuesday. He described it as nerve wrecking.
“(This is) the place to go. They know what they’re doing,” Garden said.
Luther McDonald is a trainer and TEDD Program Lead Instructor at the facility.
“What makes our job challenging is that every dog is different. What works for this dog is not going to work for the next dog,” McDonald said.
The trainers said every exercise serves as practice for the K9’s people implementing it in the real world.
“The dog of today is a social, strong police dog. You can pet most of them. They’re there for a deterrent to detect and to deter. We want people to understand that’s what we do,” Licklider said.
The trainers said it makes them proud knowing the dogs are doing their job.
“Whenever we get reports back, photos of the traffic stops they made and they pulled all the drugs off the street or one of these dog apprehended a felon, it’s awesome, makes it all worth it,” McDonald said.
Alpha Dogs premieres Fri. at 9 p.m. on Nat Geo Wild.