NEW HARTFORD — On command of trainer Tyler Brownell, the Belgian Malinois/Dutch shepherd mix lunges, clamping down on the well-protected arm of trainer Matt Harris. On Brownell’s command, Krush releases Harris. Praise and play follow. A law enforcement K-9 in training, Krush is one bad good boy.
With a fierce focus, steadfast loyalty and jaws like a Vise-Grip, Krush is all business. So are Brownell and Harris, who will soon open High Velocity Canine LLC, a training center for canine law enforcement officers.
The training center will prepare K-9s for search-and-rescue work, scent and bomb detection and other duties. Brownell and Harris will lead prospective dogs through a screening process to see if they’ll be up to the demands of the job. High energy and strong chase drive are imperative, they said.
“A lot of the dogs we look for are the dogs that people say, ‘Man I don’t want that dog, he’s too wild,’” Harris said. “It isn’t necessarily that they’re wild; it could just be that they are very driven and that they need a job.”
Harris and Brownell know exactly the jobs their canine students will need to perform. Harris has worked with the Black Hawk County Sheriff’s office since 1997. He began working with a search-and-rescue dog in 2000 and covered the tri-state area as a volunteer. In the mid-2000s he began training search-and-rescue dogs.
“That was kind of how I got my feet wet in that part of it,” he said. “I’ve worked with dogs since I was a young kid, hunting dogs and that sort of thing. On a more professional side, that is where it kind of began.”
Brownell, an Army veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, was an officer with the Waterloo Police Department from 2009 to July 2017, when a diagnosis of Wegener’s disease left him hearing-impaired and ended his law enforcement career. The police department allowed him to retire with his K-9 partner, Jason, who now acts as Brownell’s service dog.
Opening High Velocity Canine will allow Brownell to continue doing what he loves: working with law enforcement dogs.
“Matt approached me about starting to do this because I love doing it, and we both worked third shift even though he worked the sheriff’s department and I worked at Waterloo,” said Brownell. “We worked on the streets together quite a bit and trained together a lot on our shifts. We talked about this a bit and, you know, decided to go out on a limb and make it happen. And here we are.”
Harris and Brownell partner with kennels that specialize in breeds known for law enforcement work. Dogs that graduate from High Velocity K-9 training will be placed with law enforcement agencies around the world.
The off-the-beaten path building at 515 Packwaukee St. suited their needs, they said. It will feature indoor and outdoor kennels with plenty of space for dogs to run around outside.
In between training sessions, High Velocity will offer boarding services for community canine pets. Harris and Brownell will also offer a board-and-train program, where community members can bring their dogs to be trained in the basics — sit, stay, heel, come and other simple commands.
High Velocity will have a public grand opening in a couple of weeks, featuring training demonstrations with their current students. Harris is excited to show the community what they do.
“There has been a lot of interest, a lot of people knocking at the door wanting to see what is going on,” he said.
An official grand opening date will be announced on High Velocity’s Facebook page.