Stryker, the Shelton Police Department\u2019s newly acquired K-9, energetically tugged at his leash in the department\u2019s parking lot under the watchful eye of his handler, police officer Daniel Loris. The 1-year-old German shepherd will soon harness that energy as he begins pursuing criminals and doing public relations work for the law enforcement agency. He\u2019s been in Loris\u2019s home for about a month \u2014 doing \u201cfull-time security work,\u201d Loris quipped. In actuality, Stryker is forming an important bond with Loris and his family before starting training in February at the state police training facility in Meriden. \u201cWe\u2019re building a relationship together,\u201d Loris said. \u201cThis is a big endeavor,\u201d Shelton police Lt. Robert Kozlowsky said. \u201cIt\u2019s almost a marriage, to bring a dog into the family.\u201d \u201cIt\u2019s important that the dog and the handler build a strong bond,\u201d said Shelton Det. Christopher Nugent, who previously worked as a handler for Jager, the department\u2019s recently retired police dog. Police dogs serve an average of eight years, Nugent said, and it was time for Jager to relinquish his duties. \u201cIt was a perfect time,\u201d Nugent said. \u201cI had an opportunity to make an advancement. I was promoted to detective, and the dog retired.\u201d Keeping the program going \u201cWe need to keep the K-9 program going,\u201d Kozlowsky said. \u201cI took on the task of acquiring the [new] dog.\u201d He calls Nugent\u2019s knowledge of the K-9 program \u201cinvaluable.\u201d The department acquired Stryker from Grasso Shepherds in Shelton, and the company\u2019s owner, Erich Grasso, has a good reputation, Nugent said. Potential police dogs like Stryker have good working blood lines, he said, but \u201ca lot is the time and the sweat\u201d that the dog and handler put in to the relationship. Loris said he went through a selection process for the handler job, which included a physical agility test, and Stryker also was screened. Training a police dog The focus of the dog\u2019s formal training is obedience as well as criminal apprehension, tracking and evidence recovery. If a bank robbery occurs, \u201cwe\u2019d do a track\u201d of a suspect, Nugent said, often ending at the getaway car. The dogs are trained to pull a suspect from a car, he said. Training also teaches a dog to make associations, and \u201ca police siren is a trigger, or the tone of voice,\u201d he said. \u201cHe\u2019s going to feel your adrenaline. Everything flows down the leash.\u201d Dogs are also trained to jump, and to deal with obstacles, and the dog has to be re-certified throughout its career. German shepherds are thought to be \u201cthe most intelligent for police work and loyalty,\u201d Nugent said. For the handler, training includes classwork and hands-on training. \u201cIt\u2019s important you put a strong handler and dog together,\u201d Nugent said. \u201cThey make a strong team.\u201d A department ambassador An important part of a police dog\u2019s duties is the \u201ccommunity aspect,\u201d said Kozlowsky, and the dog and his handler visit schools, Boy Scout troops and Girl Scout troops. The dog has to be trained to be socially acceptable. \u201cIt\u2019s part of building good relations with a community,\u201d he said. \u201cEvery kid wants to meet the police dog.\u201d The officer\u2019s ability to work with the public is also important. \u201cDet. Nugent did a great job,\u201d Kozlowsky said. A police dog is \u201ca good ambassador for the department,\u201d said Shelton Police Chief Joel Hurliman. Will go through drug training In terms of work, a police dog finds missing persons and missing children and is used to track burglars and robbers. \u201cThey\u2019re trained for basic patrol,\u201d Hurliman said. \u201cWe plan to send [Stryker] to drug training.\u201d The department started using police dogs in the 1980s, he said, and there has been \u201ca slight gap\u201d after Jager retired. \u201cI\u2019m very excited to have another dog back,\u201d Hurliman said. \u201cHe\u2019s a welcome addition to the department.\u201d Nugent watched as an ever-alert Stryker romped behind the Shelton Police Department\u2019s headquarters building. \u201cHe\u2019s got that willingness to work,\u201d Nugent said of the agency\u2019s new dog.