COLUMBIA, Missouri- The Columbia Daily Tribune reports Rodney Vansickle, an officer with the Lebanon Police Department, guided Zidane, a 16-month-old German Shepherd Dog mix, with his hand through the building, neither knowing where a sheriff’s deputy hid the drugs. Vansickle paid attention to Zidane for changes in breathing and direction — cues signaling the high-energy dog might have found drugs.

Zidane sat after smelling heroin tucked into a brass pipe connector.

As his reward, Zidane and Vansickle played with a toy for a few moments. For positive reinforcement, Vansickle repeatedly said “Good boy!” in a high-pitched tone, the report said.

The Boone County Sheriff’s Department is in week three of its eight-week training course for three new police dogs, two with the Lebanon Police Department and another with the Rolla Police Department. The dogs are learning obedience, drug detection, tracking, searching buildings and criminal apprehension primarily at the Central Missouri Events Center, a 128-acre property.

“The canine is a locating tool, and there’s no other technology out there that can duplicate what a dog can do for us,” said Chris Smith, Boone County deputy sheriff and canine officer. “Whether that’s searching for narcotics or finding people, there’s no other tool that’s as effective as what we can get from a police dog.”

In August, city council voted to approve the purchase of Zidane from Shallow Creek Kennels Inc. for $7,200. The comprehensive training in Boone County cost $3,600.

See full report here.