Inside the Training of the Newest ALF Sponsored Police Dog, Jab the Lab

Funds raised by Advancing Life Foundation donors will soon be credited with training another amazing police dog to help in Operation Underground Railroad’s efforts to track down the evidence needed to convict perpetrators of human trafficking and keep them from harming children.

Meet Jab, the Golden Retriever

Advancing Life’s newest dog-trainee is a beautiful and tall golden labrador named Jab. He is currently learning the trade in Minot, North Dakota, where oil-field boom towns near the Canadian border have seen a rise in human trafficking.

Training for Treats

The training facility is a repurposed hospital that now features several staged living rooms, dining rooms, and bedrooms, where the dogs can practice searches with their police trainers. Each of the dogs goes through a two-month training program before training for another two weeks with their partner.

During this training, the dogs are taught to smell chemicals used uniquely in the development of electronic devices. It is a strong odor that is heavier than air, which means if an electronic device is hidden in a vent high on the wall the dog can still detect and smell it. The dog will then send a signal to their police partner through a variety of physical cues—either sitting, wagging their tail, jumping, or moving their head to alert the officer that they’ve found a hidden device. The dog is then given a reward in the form of a treat. During this training, the dogs only get to eat during their searches as a reward for their hard work, which helps them stay focused on the task at hand.

Detectives and Comfort Animals

The same facility is also used as an aftercare shelter for trafficked victims. Training the dogs to serve as comfort animals for victims has resulted in surprising benefits for the obtaining of search warrants and the prosecution of perpetrators. One dog that was placed in California was key to helping a victim stay calm and regain the confidence needed to testify against her own father who had trafficked her for more than six years. The dog cuddled into her and, based on training, helped slow her breathing. A portion of each dog’s training is to practice comfort and helping residents through therapy.

Not only do the dogs help the victims with their mental health, but they also benefit the health of their police officer partners. Dealing firsthand with the issue of human trafficking day after day can take a toll mentally and emotionally. Having the dogs at the ICAC task force has helped police cope with the burden of their jobs.

Police Dogs Make All the Difference

All dogs and their partners visit the training site on a yearly basis to re-certify and ensure that they haven’t lost their edge or picked up any bad habits. When Advancing Life Foundation Chair KimMarie Larsen visited, she met several officers who have had their dog partners for more than a year. Each of them agreed that their dog partners have been key to their success and state that all of the search warrants they’ve been on were successful because their dog found hidden devices that otherwise would have been missed by humans. These devices have been key in the prosecution of perpetrators and there are now 43 dogs across the United States that are trained to smell electronic devices. 

Join the Fight Against Human Trafficking

Your gift goes further in 2020 and throughout 2021 when you make it a monthly pledge! The foundation’s corporate partner, ASEA, is matching all donations throughout 2021 given as part of a monthly pledge—so select the monthly option when you give, and every contribution will have double the impact on worthy causes worldwide! To contribute to the funding of O.U.R. police dog training, go here: