Swen is a man with a fair amount of bite and there is not a shred of doubt that his heart belongs to dogs. Swen began to turn his passion into a profession from an early age and has worked as a police dog handler and trainer for 28 years. More recently, Swen started to share his expertise further afield to help train antipoaching units in Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Now he is joining People for Nature & Peace to help maintain and build our wildlife protection sniffer dog unit in India.
My life with sniffer dogs
I was first introduced to handling and training dogs in my teens because my dad used to breed Alsatians. I led my first dog in a test when I was 14 years old. I spent every minute I could on the dog training ground where I met a lot of professional service dog handlers from the police, customs services and the military. My mind was soon made up that I too was going to join the police after graduating from high school. And in 1981 the time had come. However, after I had completed my training in Hamburg, I was assigned to the police department without a dog.
While serving as a police officer without dog, I continued to participate in many championships with my own dogs. I was also involved as a protection service helper decoy - the one who gets to deal with the pointy end of the dog - in different competitions right up to world championships.
In 1992 I got my first service dog. His name was Rudi and he was a loyal and reliable companion during my time at S.W.A.T. Hamburg. Following my time with the special unit, I became an official service dog handler. My first dog's name was Zeus. Zeus was a competent narcotics dog but sadly cancer took him away far too young. He had been a fantastic dog and I will never forget him.
In 2002 I followed the offer to change the federal state and became a trainer in the service dog department of the police of North Rhine-Westphalia. I became specialized in detecting explosives but worked there in different roles until 2008. The "mantrailing" project also happened during this time, which gave me the opportunity to train and lead three dogs operationally in action. In early 2009 I was transferred to work as a dog trainer and the handler of the explosives detection dog Uli at the police headquarters of the city of Essen.
Because of my expertise in people tracking, Dr Marlene Zähner from Switzerland contacted me to help her set up the Congo Hounds in the Virunga National Park in DRC. I gladly accepted and traveled to the Congo several times since then. But because of the difficult political situation, I have not been back for some time now, which is a shame.
Training the Congo Hounds in the Virunga National Park, DRC, to protect endangered mountain gorillas
Besides training police dogs I have been working with the Belgian Malinois male Santos for several years. Santos and I are partners against crime. We live and work together as a team with a strong mutual bond and understanding.
It's an honour for me to train wildlife protection canine units around the world, and I am happy and excited to support People for Nature & Peace as its K9 technical advisor in India from now on. Maybe it will help to make the world a little better. Let's go...
Swen and Santos
PNP says: Welcome to the team Swen! We can't wait to get stuck in with you.