They hail from Europe, and respond to commands in their native tongue; they are members of every branch of the military, the Secret Service and law enforcement agencies worldwide; they have helped take down some of the most infamous terrorists in history; and they are suckers for a tennis ball. They are the K-9s of Vohne Liche Kennels (VLK), one of the premiere K-9 training facilities in the world, and together with the team that trains them they are an integral part of the war on terror.
Beginning Friday, Feb. 8, at 9 & 9:30 p.m. ET (and airing weekly Fridays at 9 & 9:30 p.m. ET), Nat Geo WILD's cameras go behind the scenes with exclusive access to VLK's elite trainers at their headquarters in rural Indiana, as they work around the clock to train these Alpha Dogs in the art of detection and assault. They do it all with one goal: serving our country.
The training approach is intense: Any mistakes the dogs make—missing a bomb, letting an enemy escape or not detecting weapons—could cost lives. Join the VLK team as they teach handlers and dogs to leap from helicopters, rappel down buildings, search buildings and cars for explosives and drugs, and chase down human targets. The dogs can even be trained to find illicit cell phones in prison cells and money being brought through airports as part of laundering schemes. Training these K-9/human tandems in real-world situations, like staying focused on a bad guy while live gunfire is occurring around them, is critical. The VLK team will go to whatever lengths necessary, be it live explosives or real drugs, to make sure no dog or handler graduates from their program unprepared.
Though the trainers at VLK may look like a biker gang, and sometimes may act like one, they have extensive experience serving on the front lines in military and law enforcement agencies, and many carry top secret clearance. Led by owner and founder Kenny Licklider, a retired senior master sergeant in the U.S. Air Force, each member of the team is an alpha male in his own right:
-Danny, head of police training, is the toughest guy with a mullet that you've ever met.
-Bobby, head of military operations, is cool under pressure, and has never seen a deadline he can't meet.
-Luther, lead instructor for the kennel's Tactical Explosive Detector Dog (T.E.D.D.) program, is the team's most outgoing personality.
-K.C. isn't just the boss's son but also one of the best up-and-coming trainers at the facility.