By John McDevitt

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Working Dog Center at the University of Pennsylvania’s school of veterinary medicine is holding a day camp this week for kids, introducing them to the world of canine handlers.

About 25 middle school students are participating in the Canine Handler Academy.  Today, members of the Cheltenham Township police department’s K-9 unit were demonstrating skills.

“He’s narcotics and patrol trained,” said officer Bob Dougherty of his five-year-old German shepherd partner, Tango.   “Our job is pretty much to work sectors in the township and just to pretty much assist our department and other departments with canine call-outs.”

Thirteen-year-old Michael Mills, who is going into eighth grade, says he wants to follow in Officer Dougherty’s footsteps.

“I want to be in the K-9 unit when I get older,” he said.

The  kids at the camp are learning firsthand what it takes to train detection dogs.  Classroom discussions include how dogs learn, “clicker” training, and medical care.

Top Content On CBSPhilly

Watch & Listen LIVE