Osaka: Police Dog in Perfect Sync with Police Officer via Dolphin Show-like Training

The Yomiuri Shimbun
German shepherd Conny jumps through a hoop held by police officer Wataru Yokota during their training in Konohana Ward, Osaka.

OSAKA — Police officer Wataru Yokota trains a police dog in a manner similar to a dolphin show, such as holding a hoop at the height of his chest and having the dog jump through it.

Yokota, from the criminal identification division of Osaka prefectural police, and German shepherd Conny train at a police dog training center in Konohana Ward, Osaka. After crouching down and leaning forward, the five-year-old dog leaped high using Yokota’s back as a springboard.

In fact, Yokota, 38, had worked at an aquarium in charge of the dolphin show before joining the police. He has been in charge of police dogs since 2023. The female dog’s reaction to his instructions was slow at first. But after noticing that she liked jumping, he introduced jumping actions into their training. The dog seemed to become cheerful, he said.

Through the training, the human and the dog have come to understand each other and results are beginning to emerge.

This February, they found an elderly man with dementia who had been missing. Yokota believed in Conny’s instinct to go down a deserted rural road, which led to the success.

“There must be something such as traces of suspects or missing people that only we can find,” Yokota said.