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Moved this out of the table training topic.

Please chat away...Lou, Gregg, Andreas...I believe you all were kicking this one around. Sounds like good food for thought.
 

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I think Andres said it well on the other thread. The bottom line is....yes, it is a dangerous environment, however the other alternative is an officer climbing into a whole (or fatal funnel) and crawing around in an area that if a suspect wanted to kill or hurt him, would not be very difficult.

We send the dogs into many dangerous environments. If the dog read his job descrition....it would say "you are going into dangerous environments that humans do not want to go!" That goes for crawl spaces under houses, and drainage pipes as well.

Thankfully, we have a prety good track record with this type of insertion. Our dogs have found suspects hiding in corners and under insulation. It is very rare that a dog will fall through the ceiling. We have also had good luck on suspects giving up with the announcement that a dog is coming if they dont come out. The dog gives a few barks and out comes the bad guy. No fuss....no muss :D

I think Tim had an apprehension a few months ago in an environment like this.

Gregg
 

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yes and no gregg. yes he had an apprehension in an attic crawl space, no i didn't let him off leash up there. long story short it was an old dilapodated building. quite a few of the false ceiling tiles already had holes in them. i used the dog for some of the area that had an actual floor, but the area with just the ceiling tiles me and a couple other humans cleared that. i had him on a down and i ended up finding the badguy. he played dead (face down, hands underneath his body). i went and got camo and camo "woke him up".

my luck with dogs has not been good as you know. i'm a bit paranoid about camo getting hurt by something stupid like falling through a ceiling. that isn't to say i would never do it, but there are some things i would have to factor into my decision...
 

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Do you guys teach your dog to hook up on your shoulders with the front paws and on your belt with the back ones if it´s a near vertical ladder climb?
What equipment do you use on the dog? Collar, leash, harness, or nothing.
How do you set up the equipment?

I use the ecollar to hold with my weak hand, while the dog hooks up on my back. If the ladder is even a bit inclined, our dogs climb them easily.
 

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Andres -

Yup, same shouldering technique. I like a dog to go in the small space with a harness in case the officer has to pull the suspect towards them with the dog attached. We also use the e-collar on the street so the crawl space is no different.

Tim - I hear you. Your case was a bit extreeme however generally I would not think twice about inserting a dog into an attic if the situation warranted it.

Gregg
 

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Tim Martens said:
one of your fellow so-calites, brad smith, would disagree with you on the use of dogs in attics.
I guess you've been to either SKIDDS (SWAT and K-9 Interacting During Deployments) and CATS (Canine Tactical School), or if you're very lucky, BOTH schools. I've been an instructor at both classes. I know very well what Brad teaches. The last class I instructed at was the last class he's doing in West Covina, in March of this year. I've instructed on the tactical side and do I a segment on the Ecollar. I've done so at about half a dozen of these classes.

For those who don't know, SKIDDS is just what it sounds like, using a K-9 with a SWAT Team, as a tool to locate the bad guys. Most of the time, the dog is then pulled out and the SWAT team makes the apprehension. CATS teaches K-9 handlers to use tactical movement as they progress through a problem.

I've spoken to Brad about this in the past and he agrees with me, that it's rarely appropriate to put a dog into an attic and that it's almost never appropriate for the K-9 to make entry alone. He gives instruction in attic entries because in some, very rare, situations it may be appropriate to use a dog in the attic. People come to SKIDDS and CATS from all over the world, not just So Cal. Many of those regions have "real" attics. Handlers need to have that in their bag of tricks, but only very rarely is it appropriate. Most attics in this part of the world won't support a dog's weight on the sheetrock "floor" that the dog will be on. The crook can stay on top of the joists and it will support him. In any case, Brad doesn't think that the K-9 should enter alone as was the initial comment on this in the other thread.

LAPD, uses mirrors and cameras to clear attics. The thought of having a K-9 enter an attic isn't even a consideration.

Many people disagree on many topics. That doesn't make them (or me) right. It's just another way of working a dog. There is no "one right way" to do it. If I lived in a region where attics were "real" living spaces (or came across such a house) where the attic was a "real" floor, I'd do it in a heartbeat.

Gregg Tawney said:
The bottom line is....yes, it is a dangerous environment, however the other alternative is an officer climbing into a whole (or fatal funnel) and crawing around in an area that if a suspect wanted to kill or hurt him, would not be very difficult.
Being a police officer is a dangerous job. If people aren't prepared to faces those dangers, perhaps another occupation would be in order.

Gregg Tawney said:
We send the dogs into many dangerous environments. If the dog read his job descrition....it would say "you are going into dangerous environments that humans do not want to go!" That goes for crawl spaces under houses, and drainage pipes as well.
There's a difference between "not want(ing) to go" and realizing that sometimes "duty" will require it. It's against common sense to run towards the gun fire but that's what we do.

While it might occasionally be appropriate to send a dog into a drainage pipe or an attic, they shouldn't go alone for more than a few seconds so that they can clear the entry area. I recall a deployment done in this area many years ago where a dog alerted at the crawl space under a house. This is a similar environment as an attic except for the "falling through" part. The dog was sent under the house, his handler remained outside, and the K-9 emerged a few moments later with numerous cuts on his head and face. The thought was that he'd run into some rebar under the house. They brought in another dog who also alerted at the crawl space. They sent that dog under the house alone. He emerged with similar cuts on his head. Finally someone took a look and saw that the suspect had backed himself into an area where he had concrete walls on three sides and there was only one way in to him. He had a knife and when the dogs had tried to get to him, had stabbed them repeatedly, keeping them from biting him.

Had one of those handlers made entry with the dog he'd have seen the suspect and could have taken him into custody with out injury to him.

Gregg Tawney said:
It is very rare that a dog will fall through the ceiling.
Perhaps after it happens the first time and you lose the dog to his injuries, you'll reconsider. Fortunately most of can learn, not only from our own experience, but from the experience of others. It's really unfortunate that in much of LE, progress is written in the blood of those who have made the mistake.

Tim Martens said:
that isn't to say i would never do it, but there are some things i would have to factor into my decision...
Great comment Tim. Every deployment has to be examined individually. It's a bad plan to have no plan. It's also a bad plan to have an "automatic plan" one where individual circumstances aren't carefully examined. People always need to "think twice."

Gregg Tawney said:
I would not think twice about inserting a dog into an attic if the situation warranted it.
Isn't deciding "if the situation warrant(s) it" thinking twice?
 

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Being a police officer is a dangerous job. If people aren't prepared to faces those dangers, perhaps another occupation would be in order.

I dont believe in putting officers at risk unnecessarily.

There's a difference between "not want(ing) to go" and realizing that sometimes "duty" will require it. It's against common sense to run towards the gun fire but that's what we do.

Yes, and your point.

While it might occasionally be appropriate to send a dog into a drainage pipe or an attic, they shouldn't go alone for more than a few seconds so that they can clear the entry area. I recall a deployment done in this area many years ago where a dog alerted at the crawl space under a house. This is a similar environment as an attic except for the "falling through" part. The dog was sent under the house, his handler remained outside, and the K-9 emerged a few moments later with numerous cuts on his head and face. The thought was that he'd run into some rebar under the house. They brought in another dog who also alerted at the crawl space. They sent that dog under the house alone. He emerged with similar cuts on his head. Finally someone took a look and saw that the suspect had backed himself into an area where he had concrete walls on three sides and there was only one way in to him. He had a knife and when the dogs had tried to get to him, had stabbed them repeatedly, keeping them from biting him.

Had one of those handlers made entry with the dog he'd have seen the suspect and could have taken him into custody with out injury to him.

And if he had a gun then there would be a dead officer. I would not have sent a dog the second time.
Gregg Tawney said:
uot;] I would not think twice about inserting a dog into an attic if the situation warranted it.
Isn't deciding "if the situation warrant(s) it" thinking twice?[/quote]

I dont think so..........again, if the situation warranted it I would deploy the dog. Yes, I am going to evaluate the situation and decide if it is necessary to deploy my dog. The risk of injury to him against the benifit of the deployment. Pretty simple.

Gregg
 

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Earlier I wrote: Being a police officer is a dangerous job. If people aren't prepared to faces those dangers, perhaps another occupation would be in order.

Gregg Tawney said:
I dont believe in putting officers at risk unnecessarily.
Neither do I but facing risks is part of the job. "Everything" is not a K-9 problem. Dogs are good at some things and not so good at other things. In this part of the world, since attics are rarely entered, there will usually be physical signs that someone went up there. Most attic entries are in closets. Usually there will be fresh disturbances in the dust on the shelves under the opening. Usually there will be material from the attic on the floor. Few attics in this part of the world have "convenient" methods of getting into them. A ladder must be placed, boxes must be moved, clothing has to be shoved out of the way. All of these things are clues to an observant handler that someone has gone "to ground" up there. Throw in an alert from a dog that's had his nose placed at the entry point and/or the vents under the eaves of the roof and you know he's there.

At this point it's no longer a K-9 problem.

Earlier I wrote: There's a difference between "not want(ing) to go" and realizing that sometimes "duty" will require it. It's against common sense to run towards the gun fire but that's what we do.

Gregg Tawney said:
Yes, and your point.
Quite simply that sometime we're going to be placed in dangerous situations. Using a K-9 can sometimes mitigate that danger but not always and not completely.

Earlier I wrote: Had one of those handlers made entry with the dog he'd have seen the suspect and could have taken him into custody with out injury to him.

Gregg Tawney said:
And if he had a gun then there would be a dead officer.
Probably not. More than likely he'd be more focused on the dog closing in on him than on the handler making entry behind him. His attention certainly would have been divided and he'd probably try to shoot the dog that was about to bite him. You've made an absolute statement here and those are usually wrong. Few officers who are shot at are hit. Few officers who are shot die.

More than likely if he'd had a gun instead of a knife, the dog would have been shot. The point is that the dog alerted (both dogs did in fact) at the crawl space before he was sent in. That's when they knew that the suspect was present. It's now no longer a K-9 problem.

Gregg Tawney said:
I would not have sent a dog the second time.
I don't think he should have been sent the first time. The dog told the handler that someone was under the building. The dog's job, locating the suspect was done at that point. He could have been asked to surrender. He could have been gassed. He could have been waited out. He could have been taken into custody by a SWAT Team (which is how the problem was eventually settled).

Gregg Tawney said:
again, if the situation warranted it I would deploy the dog. Yes, I am going to evaluate the situation and decide if it is necessary to deploy my dog. The risk of injury to him against the benifit of the deployment. Pretty simple.
Easy Gregg, I'm agreeing with you here. LOL. When you "evaluate the situation" you're "thinking twice" about it.
 

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Lou Castle said:
Probably not. More than likely he'd be more focused on the dog closing in on him than on the handler making entry behind him. His attention certainly would have been divided and he'd probably try to shoot the dog that was about to bite him. You've made an absolute statement here and those are usually wrong. Few officers who are shot at are hit. Few officers who are shot die.
wow. maybe you've been out of the game too long lou. i can't believe you would think that way. "heck i'll go up there. even if he has a gun he'll probably miss and even if he doesn't, i'll still probably live." there are too many variables that you assume go our way. one is that the dog initially goes toward the suspect or in other words the dog is the first thing the bad guy sees. there is very little air current up in an attic and the dog has to get very close to the person before he'll alert (my experience). so if the dog goes in one direction and the handler up after him, there is a very good possiblity that the bad guy is on the other side and will see the officer before the dog (and get shot).
 

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Tim Martens said:
wow. maybe you've been out of the game too long lou.
Of course this must be the reason for our difference of opinion. It couldn't be that my experience has been different from yours and it couldn't be that I have more experience than you with this; it must be that because I'm retired and therefore I've "lost touch." I've trained with over 130 different police departments and most of them agree with me.

I held many ideas as to how to work a K-9 when I first became a handler. Most of those ideas have matured and developed over the years as I learned more. Very early in my K-9 career I agreed with you, but as I progressed, I changed this attitude and many others.

I've held this opinion, that we shouldn't be putting dogs into attics for nearly my entire career in K-9's. Two major agencies in this area, LAPD and LASD agree with me. At their peak, together they were doing in the vicinity of 5,000 searches per year with about 2,500 finds. I think they have a far better database than a smaller agency and when you make that many finds you really discover what works and what doesn't work. Neither of those agencies puts dogs into attics.

Tim Martens said:
i can't believe you would think that way. "heck i'll go up there. even if he has a gun he'll probably miss and even if he doesn't, i'll still probably live."
I was refuting the absolute statement that Gregg made, "And if he had a gun then there would be a dead officer." It's not the case. I've arrested, as I'm quite sure that you folks have, many people who "had a gun," and I'm not dead, neither are you. It's silly and illogical to argue that "armed suspect = dead police officer."

Tim Martens said:
there is very little air current up in an attic and the dog has to get very close to the person before he'll alert (my experience).
That hasn't been my experience, that of LAPD or that of LASD. By the time an attic is searched the suspect's scent has reached every corner and it's pouring out the vents under the eaves of the roof. Many roofs have turbine ventilators that exhaust air from the attic. This is another place that a dog can get scent. In most cases you need a ladder to get into the attic, why not sniff the vents and the turbines first?

This is in addition to the physical evidence of someone going into the attic I mentioned earlier. Being able to read these signs is an important skill for a K-9 handler. Some don't have it because they weren't taught it and haven't thought of it themselves.

Tim Martens said:
so if the dog goes in one direction and the handler up after him, there is a very good possiblity that the bad guy is on the other side and will see the officer before the dog (and get shot).
This is very similar to the situation when an officer who is doing yard to yard searches makes entry into the back yard of the house. Officers do that quite regularly. In both situations (the attic and the yard) the suspect knows where the officer is and the officer is in the "fatal funnel." Do you wait in the front yard while your dog searches the back yard? Or do you at least watch him to make sure that covers all of the yard? Do you ever enter a back yard?

Could both of you gentlemen please answer my questions about what you do if your dog bites someone in the attic and won't release that bite? If he does release and the suspect still won't come out, or claims that he's injured and can't; what do you do? If you're response is to resend the dog to bite him, how many times do you rebite the suspect? It seems to me that at some point someone has to enter the attic.
 

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when i made mention of you being out of the game too long, it wasn't because of a difference of opinion on the attic scenario. i believe we hold similar opinions on this. what i was refering to was your seemingly cavalier attitude about confronting suspects armed with firearms and officers being shot or shot at.

and since you took a shot at my "experience" let me just say that i have handled a PSD longer than you did.

you asked about yard to yard searches. i send the dog in through the side yard. once he clears that, i move up to the corner of the house. i peek around the corner occasionally to see where it was that he might have missed, but yes, at some point you enter the yard. that's not the issue. the idea of a K9 is to limit the human officer's exposure to a potentially hazardous suspect. i'm not going to send the dog in and blindly follow right behind him. i'm going to advance to area that he's "cleared". basic k9 tactics...

to answer your question....if i sent my dog into an attic to bite someone and he doesn't release the bite? then obviously you've got to go in and out the dog using the best tactical approach that you can. i probably wouldn't re-send him in for another bite. i wouldn't ever say "never", but there isn't a scenario i can think of off the top of my head where i would send him in for a re-bite. yes, somebody has to enter the attic at some point. you spoke of a suspect being distracted at the sight of a dog. i think he might be a bit more distracted if he were wearing the dog....
 

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Im not LE but I have watched several PSD certification where during a building search the warning was given and the dog sent in and the handler waited and the dog finds the suspect out of sight of the officer and bites.The suspect makes little or no noise and noone can tell if the suspect was found.The officer recalled the dog and sent him in a second time...nothing.the whole time the dog was out of sight he was on the bite.
Now I dont know if this happens in the real world or if its possible that a dog could be on the bite in an attic and the suspect keep quiet and the dog being quiet cause hes on the bite?What do you do?

I watched several officers certify that day from different depts and all of them did it the same way.There was no tactical advancing where the handler only moved into a cleared area.They just stopped at the door and gave warning and then sent the dog in and waited.Just wondering your thoughts on this.Common sense would suggest that the handler and dog work as a team clearing smaller areas before either moves forward and in fact thats how the instructor that day demonstrated it should be done.The dogs were recertified even though they didnt do it that way.

Sorry if its a bit off topic.

Greg
 

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Tim Martens said:
when i made mention of you being out of the game too long . . . what i was refering to was your seemingly cavalier attitude about confronting suspects armed with firearms and officers being shot or shot at.
Not cavalier at all. But to allude to "armed suspect = dead officer" is not true.

Tim Martens said:
and since you took a shot at my "experience" let me just say that i have handled a PSD longer than you did.
Yes you were a handler for a longer period of time than I was. How long have you been a trainer? A handler is able to get his own dog to work. A good one may be able to solve simple problems of other K-9's. A trainer has to be able to train any dog that is presented to him, no matter what the problem and no matter what the dog's history. It's common for handlers to think they know it all after a few years. I'm sure I wasn't the only one. Fortunately I had a mentor who kept pointing out that I didn't.

Tim Martens said:
you asked about yard to yard searches. i send the dog in through the side yard. once he clears that, i move up to the corner of the house. i peek around the corner occasionally to see where it was that he might have missed, but yes, at some point you enter the yard. that's not the issue.
I think that is exactly the issue. At some point you enter. I don't know where you work but in some parts of this area it's unwise for a dog to enter some backyards. They're full of trash, junk cars and the like. There's no room for a dog to move around in. Dogs no longer have the advantage of speed and agility. Officers have to search those areas "by hand." I think that an attic presents so many dangers to a dog that they're in the same category. This is another area where LAPD and LASD agree with me.

Tim Martens said:
to answer your question....if i sent my dog into an attic to bite someone and he doesn't release the bite? then obviously you've got to go in and out the dog using the best tactical approach that you can.
This is my point, at some time during the attic insertion the handler (or someone) has to go up there. At least the handler needs to see where the dog has searched and make sure that he covers every corner.

Tim Martens said:
you spoke of a suspect being distracted at the sight of a dog. i think he might be a bit more distracted if he were wearing the dog....
One of the problems that many people have is that they don't train for the worst of circumstances, they train for the average or most common of situations. What you describe here, where the suspect is "distracted" by being bitten doesn't always happen. Sometimes suspects aren't the slightest bit distracted. Relying on this can lead a handler/backup team into trouble.
 

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Greg Long said:
I watched several officers certify that day from different depts and all of them did it the same way.There was no tactical advancing where the handler only moved into a cleared area.They just stopped at the door and gave warning and then sent the dog in and waited.Just wondering your thoughts on this.
Greg many K-9 certs are just that, a cert of the K-9 not the team. Tactical movement is very difficult to grade. There are many right ways to do something, some better than others, much of it subject to opinion and attention to one detail over another. There are also many wrong ways to do something. Those are the ones that can get the team injured.
 

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and it's common for somebody who has been in the dog business for 65 years or whatever it is you have to think they know it all.

you keep bringing up LAPD and LASD. guess what? we don't care. in spite of what you may think they are not the mecca of law enforcement (are they even running their own department yet?).

you were the one who brought up the whole "distracted by the mere sight of a dog". i thought it would be more of a distraction if the dog were biting him.

bottom line here lou...the reason why you rub so many people here the wrong way is because it's not enough for you to point out how you do something. you aren't satisfied until you've trashed someone elses way of doing it or their way of thinking. you once gave some pointed advice to a poster when you told them that this isn't their personal club where they are the center of attention. well guess what? this isn't one of your seminars and maybe, just maybe we don't want to hear from you how screwed up you THINK our methods are because, god forbid, we do things differently than los angeles does...

i must have heard from you 10 times in 10 different threads that you can get any dog to out with an e-collar and 20 minutes. it should take you less time to explain exactly what it is you do. but instead you offer criticism...
 
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