Seniors meet K9 Nikko

Staff Writer

The first full day of the fair gave a little back to the golden generation in Auglaize County. Senior Day at the fair featured a short, special schedule for senior citizens to enjoy inside the Junior Fair Building in the comfort of air conditioning.

Featuring free, live entertainment, seniors — and a handful of very young fairgoers — were able to see a police K9 up close and in — controlled— action. 

Auglaize County Sheriff’s Office K9 Nikko and his handler, Sergeant Dan Osborne, spoke to the crowd and demonstrated Nikko’s ability to sniff out drugs, his obedience and bite work. Osborne explained that Nikko — a 5-year-old german shepard — is a dual purpose K9, meaning he is capable of sniffing out drugs, biting bad guys, if necessary, and he can track humans — good or bad.

Showing off his bite work, Sheriff Al Solomon volunteered to be “the bad guy.” Dressed in plain clothing, it was explained that he was not in uniform for a specific reason.

Going over the bite work, Chief Mike Peterson — former K9 handler for the county — explained that for Osborne, Nikko is his backup. Nikko will watch and make sure Osborne is OK and will stay where he is at as long as the bad guy appears to be cooperating. If the deputy gets assaulted, Nikko will react and bite the assailant. He knows that if his handler is in trouble that he can go and get the bad guy.

During Nikko’s short time so far with the county, he has one bite under his belt from 2018. There was a gentleman threatening the department with a firearm and had a warrant for some indictments for violent offenses. Osborne was suspicious the man didn’t actually have a gun which is why he sent Nikko loose into an area in the woods around Wapakoneta and where he found the man on his own. Osborne explained that this is called an area search as he was not with Nikko when he found and latched onto the suspect.
When it comes to sniffing out drugs, Osborne showed the crowd that there was no questioning whether Nikko found drugs and where it is at. To indicate that he found something, Nikko will sit and stare. 

For each area that Nikko is trained in, he receives a certain toy to reward his skill. For obedience, he receives a ball on a string. For drug tracking, he receives a piece of rolled up fire hose and when practicing his bite work, his reward is the bite sleeve. 

Sharing more information about Nikko, Osborne added that for Nikko — and other police K9’s — work is fun for them. If Nikko didn’t enjoy what he does for the sheriff’s office he would shut down. Even once Nikko retires, at about 9 or 10 years old, he will still want to do the work, but at some point his body will not let him anymore.
When he is not working, Nikko is a full-time house pet for Osborne and his family but is the most bonded with the sergeant. At home, Nikko is able to let his guard down and be a regular dog.