The Alpha Dogs: Inside the Elite Police and Military Training Facility

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 this Friday at 9 & 9:30 p.m., new series Alpha Dogs 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.

“The K-9s you’ll meet in Alpha Dogs are serious animals, a perfect combination of muscle and smarts, trained at the highest level,” says executive producer Jack Osbourne. “If you met Kenny and team on the street, you’d never expect that this group of beer-drinking, motorcycle-driving, tattoo-covered guys from small-town Indiana would be some of the world’s finest law enforcement trainers. From the moment I met them and saw their operation, they blew me away.”

Tune in Friday at 9P, in the meantime check out this clip from the series premiere, Alpha Dogs: Life & Death


  1. tina schotta
    February 7, 2013, 6:29 pm

    my husband is a medical irqa vet and i would love to give 2 akita pups to help with others

  2. eileen wilson
    United States
    February 9, 2013, 11:06 am

    love the show…have 2 german sheps in the house, both service animals to one beautiful daughter. She has down syndrome and is on the autism spectrum. One pup stays with her at all times, the other has a nose beyond noses….he’s search & rescue. Daddy is retired from the state patrol…he brought a drug dog home with him. We all love the show.

    that being said…PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE refrain from using the word “retarded” from describing something you feel inane turtle-ing. It does a great disservice to all individuals with Special Needs who not only work extremely hard every day just to exist in today’s society without being bullied, but who utilize dogs as well.

    Even though you chose to silence the remarks….all of us lip read.

    we invite you all to go to

    and take the pledge. Make this world a little better for all and be the leaders that National Geographic would want you to be.

    Thank you for your time and respect regarding this matter.

    e wilson
    mom and member of the NDSC
    west plains, missouri

  3. Why?
    The South
    February 14, 2013, 4:31 pm

    What a joke! Sad to see the respected National Geographic begin to air relaity TV. Heavily scripted and acted it is not much more than a commerical for VLK. I guess gone are the respected like Jim Stanfield. Very Vary poor!

  4. Cyndie Castelletti
    Scranton Pa
    February 16, 2013, 6:54 pm

    I’ve got a 130 lb German Rottweiler who would be a great Alpha dog. He is an alpha personality. Loves people as long as you tell him you are ok.
    Awesome dog.

  5. Lyndi Gray
    Cincinnati Ohio
    March 1, 2013, 9:51 pm

    During the first few minutes of viewing your show, I thought I would be recording future episodes so I wouldn’t miss any… BUT I won’t be watching anymore because of the use of the Lord’s name in vain. Personally I would think that you would want to Praise His Name for Blessing you with the knowledge and ability to do what you do and to make a good living doing it. You have ruined what could have been a very interesting and insightful show

  6. Rebecca B
    28 Palms, Ca
    March 10, 2013, 12:10 pm

    We love watching the dogs work…. But these guys with cut off tee shirts and tank tops, mulletts and the lack of professionalism kills it for us…

  7. Nick
    Southern california
    March 11, 2013, 9:54 pm

    These guys are a compleet joke. None of them should be allowed within 100 miles of any dogs. All the dogs they produced in their last business endeavor to all agencies they sold them to including all the US military branches have WASHED OUT due to improper training. They are ruining all these wonderful dogs most to the point they have to be destroyed and put down. They should be ashamed of themselves. For the love of GOD and those great dogs, PLEASE STOP what They are doing. National Geographic please drop this show or get REAL dog trainers that know what they are doing. I personally Know many US military dog handlers from young ones that just been with their dog few months to ones that had 4+ dogs in the military from way back durring viet nam and from ALL branches of the current US military. This show is wrong to produce in the current way you are. Please National Geographic research these jokers dogs washouts percentage.

  8. kevin
    March 18, 2013, 8:28 am

    If these unprofessional numbnuts hav top secret clearance it shows how far down we have come …these guys r wanna be toughguys and this show is very scripted.

  9. jayson
    May 28, 2013, 2:51 pm

    great show… wondering why Danny has a tattoo that says Philippines??

  10. Doug Magill
    July 8, 2013, 1:09 pm

    as a retired Dog trainer in policing and mil if these are the best trainers in the world as they claim GOD HELP US ALL

    I like Kevin’s comment they have the top security clearance?? Then why are they showing their training methods (If you call it that???) on a TV series

  11. Susan Mendes
    United States
    July 9, 2013, 8:46 pm

    Great show, however I wanted to comment on the remarks made to the new guy who had suited up for an attack demo. You all laughed at him for his use of a cup. Well, I trained one of my dogs to go between the legs if some one grabbed his collar to hold him back. His name was VooDoo!

  12. […] handlers,” she says, adding that she was occasionally permitted to “tag along” on military police dog training sessions, where she witnessed an interesting duality in the dogs’ […]

  13. nathan
    September 17, 2014, 7:08 pm

    i love the show and want to become a trainer just like the vlk trainer i just do not know where to start and pointers or information that might help me in my goal would be great thanks you to anyone who can help me out

  14. nathaniel
    November 1, 2014, 3:26 pm

    that was awesome

  15. Teresa key
    Wedowee, Alabama
    November 30, 2014, 11:19 pm

    I really miss your show. I love watching the dogs train. Everyone of you are so professional yet so compassionate at the same time. I wish you all the best! You are missed.

  16. Valencia
    December 13, 2014, 3:57 pm

    When is the new series of Alpha Dogs coming back……Really enjoyed it

  17. Marcelo Ryan Carrillo
    Odessa tx
    June 19, 2015, 8:36 pm

    How Much is it to buy one of them dogs