The police dog shot in the jaw has improved and is no longer touch and go, a veterinary staff member treating him says.
The canine was flown by helicopter to a specialist vet team in Auckland to treat life-threatening injuries to his jaw and blood loss.
He was shot in the head during Tuesday's shootout in Tangowahine, 12km northeast of Dargaville.
The man was shot by police and is in a stable condition.
Inspector Todd Southall, national co-ordinator of police dogs, said this afternoon police would not name the dog because of ongoing investigations.
The comment appeared to be in response to a media outlet naming the dog.
Southall said more surgeries were expected over the coming weeks and the dog faced a long road to recovery.
He said police remained optimistic about its return to the beat - but it was still too early to say whether it could.
Providing the dog's handler with today's reassuring news was like telling a family member about a loved one, Coomer said.
"They love each other to bits, these guys," he said of the pair.
"Their partnership is similar to siblings. It's nice to be able to give good news, especially as it was touch and go for quite some time."
'He is going to survive'
Advanced Veterinary Care's Dr Alastair Coomer said the dog is expected to survive.
"The expectation is he is going to continue to improve. We are still working with the goal of him thriving and going back to work."
The closeness of the dog and handler was obvious from their arrival, Coomer said.
In a "tight bond like this" the dog responded to its owner's voice ahead of every other person talking.
The dog's handler had been by the dog's side as he received treatment.
Coomer is no stranger to saving the lives of Northland's police dogs.
Two years ago, the specialist vet treated 20-month-old Caesar, who had only clocked up two weeks on the beat with his handler Constable Josh Van Der Kwaak when he was stabbed in the head by a man resisting arrest at a home in Parua Bay, Whangārei.
Coomer said groups like The Working Dog Centre based in Massey University, alongside other specialist vets and nurses, meant the country's police dogs were in "incredible" hands.