How Your ‘Alpha Dogs’ Get Trained


Raise your hand if it ever occurred to you that United States military and law enforcement would outsource at least some of their dog training. Retired USAF Senior Master Sergeant Kenny Licklider saw a need for specialized training, seized the opportunity and started Vohne Liche Kennels.

VLK is now a multi-million dollar business spread over 600 acres in Denver, Indiana with satellite kennels in California and Arizona. Just like (seemingly) all successful entrepreneurs in modern America, Kenny got himself a cable reality show and Alpha Dogs premiered last Friday night on National Geographic’s Wild channel.

Over the last twenty years, VLK has trained dogs for more than 5,000 law enforcement and government agencies, including the National Security Agency (NSA), Pentagon Police, U.S. State Department, all military branches and more than 500 civilian and police agencies.

The show follows the usual workplace reality conventions. Nobody gets too weird, because who needs manufactured TV weirdness when you’ve got dogs? The clip above features Luther McDonald, VLK’s lead instructor for the Tactical Explosive Detector Dog Program (T.E.D.D.) for the U.S. Army.

New episodes are running Friday nights at 9pm EST through March 8th. You’ll have to stay home to watch or set your DVR because Nat Geo isn’t much for the On Demand, buy on iTunes or stream on the Internet thing yet.

  • indianmedicine

    Man – Dog Teams are Force Multipliers; too include a serious Early Warning System that has no worries of an electronic malfunction. In Military & LEO Operations, Man-Dog Teams are essential to Force Protection.

    K-9’s have historically been involved with Warfare since Alexander The Great, deploying “Mastiffs” in maneuver elements – instilling a Psychological factor in the Enemy “Hearts & Minds”. In LEO Ranks, that same fear factor is instilled in the “Lawless” because you can not talk the K-9 out of making the hit on the Threat; except by the Handler. Compare trying to recall a firearm once fired – that is Operational Control. Working Dogs include Utility,Narcotic,Explosives/Hunter/Tracker with combinations of either – with reliability. Again – Working Man/Dog Teams are a “Force Multiplier” in every sense of the term.

  • Rosalee

    I just wish my cable company carried NG

    as I would love to see this series

    I was fortunate enough to have owned

    a Malinois.

    He was marvelous and so easy to train.

    Still miss him.

  • I have always been partial to my Oorangs (Airdales). Once you connect with one, it is an extension of your nmind.

  • It is amazing the way dogs have been trained to use their intelligence, affinity for humans and innate sense of loyalty to help people in so many ways. No wonder American soldiers and their dogs bond for life!