Alex is a Frederick County Sheriff's Office K9 working in partnership with Officer Dusty Bowers. He is trained in narcotics detection, tracking, and officer/public protection.
Alex is a Belgian Malinois (pronounced MAL-in-wah); The Malinois is the short-coated variety of the Belgian Shepherd Dog. They are fawn colored with a black mask. In the United States they have been shown as a separate breed since 1959. Dogs are 24 to 26 inches at the shoulder and weigh 60 to 80 pounds. This is a "high energy" dog that does best when it has a definite purpose in life. It is generally not a dog for the novice dog owner, for, while it is extremely trainable, it does not do well with poor or insufficient training.
Alex is often mistaken as a German Shepherd or mix breed. The Malinois and German Shepherd Dog (GSD) are significantly different both in body structure and temperament. The Malinois is a somewhat smaller dog with lighter bone. The Malinois stands square, well up on its toes, while the GSD has a long, sloping back and walks flatter on the foot. The Malinois head is more refined and chiseled, with smaller, more triangular ears. The Malinois is a fawn dog, with black overlay (the tips of the hair are black), while the GSD is typically tan, with a black saddle. The Malinois is considered to be more alert and faster to respond than the GSD, but also more sensitive, which can make its training more difficult. They say if a German Shepherd was compared to a Cadillac, a Belgian Malinois would be a Ferrari.
Alex was born on November 17, 2005 in Cross Junction. He was bred by Jon Pyles and his father is Max, (Jon's patrol K-9). Alex has a brother (Eddy) who is also a Police K-9 in North Wilksboro NC.
I've had Alex since he was ten weeks old and trained him myself with the help of Jon Pyles, Joe Gribben and seveal other people.
By Monty Tayloe, The Winchester Star
Cross Junction — Jog the bomb-sniffing dog lay in his large black cage in the home of Frederick County Deputy John Piccione Thursday. As the officer moved around the house in civilian clothes, the undersized 12-year-old German shepherd sat quietly, following him with his eyes. But everything changed once Piccione put on his brown Sheriff's Office uniform. Immediately, Jog stood up in his cage and started to whine and make high-pitched little barks. "He wants to go to work. It's all he wants to do," Piccione said. But Saturday will be Jog's last day on the force. At 12, he's considered old for a working dog, and Piccione is transferring to another part of the Sheriff's Office.
After 10 years of service, Jog is retiring — but there's no way to tell him that. After Saturday, Piccione will put on his uniform and go to work just like before â€” but he won't bring Jog with him. Every morning, Jog will have to watch him leave and wonder why he is being left behind. "It's going to be really hard on him not to go," Piccione said Thursday. "It's going to break my heart, too." "A hard-working dog". Purchased for several thousand dollars from a kennel in the Czech Republic that specializes in police dogs, Jog has talents that are the result of a lot of hard work by Piccione and other trainers. Trained to sniff out the 12 chemical compounds that make up most conventional explosives, Jog can smell a gun concealed in a locked car just by walking around the outside of the vehicle.
He has sniffed out caps — the "ammunition" for a child's cap gun â€” in the bottom of a full garbage can standing a parking lot away. Frederick County may not seem like a place where explosives detection is a frequent problem, but in his career, Jog has responded to bomb threats on buildings, checked out suspicious packages, and located dynamite and hand grenades before they could be put to nefarious uses.
Since one of the scents Jog is trained to respond to is gunpowder, he has been used to locate weapons and spent shell casings tied to crimes. Jog and other bomb-sniffing dogs are also a big part of preparations for Winchester's Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival, providing security for the celebrities and dignitaries. "He's a hard-working dog," Piccione said. Jog isn't just a bomb dog. He's also a major factor in the county's Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program, through which he has been introduced to hundreds of county children. "Sometimes I'll be out, and a kid will recognize me and say, â€˜You're Jog's daddy,'" Piccione said. "They don't remember my name, but they always remember the dog."
One reason they remember Jog is that, along with his bomb-sniffing skills, he barks on command when asked to say "hi," and pretends to walk himself — strolling around with his leash in his mouth.
"He's a ham for the kids," Piccione said. With Jog's retirement, the county will not have a bomb-sniffing dog, but the Virginia State Police and other local law enforcement agencies have them if needed. Still partners. When he talks about his relationship with Jog, Piccione has trouble finding the right words. He and Jog are professional partners rather than pet and owner, which means a rigid network of discipline. Piccione pets and praises him, but Jog is trained not to eat in front of him, and he never receives treats. After Saturday, that's going to end, Piccione said. Jog's life will become less formal, and he'll start getting the occasional Snausage.
Jog will also help Piccione to train a young up-and-coming bomb-sniffer, Kisha. And he'll continue to practice his own bomb-sniffing skills. "That's what he likes to do; that's fun for him," Piccione said. But most importantly for this hard-working law enforcement professional who has come to the end of his career: "He'll just be a dog."