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Drug dog Class

5818 Views 43 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  Connie Sutherland
I finally have procurred enough dogs to start my drug detection class, scheduled to begin, June 19th. I'll have 6 green dogs and two trained dogs with new handlers. The two new handlers with trained dogs will attend the 1st week, as it's mostly academics, then they will sit out and rejoin the class for weeks 7,8,9 and 10. The other six handlers, 5 Troopers (my department) and 1 city officer from a nearby city all have green dogs and will attend the entire 10 weeks. It's a good deal for any city, if I'm in class, they can attend free of charge on a space available basis. The class will have 3 Labs, 1 Golden, 1 Chessie, 2 GSD's and 1 Rottie. One Lab and the Chessie are already trained. I have 3 classes scheduled after this drug class. An explosives detection, patrol dog and another drug class.

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My long awaited drug dog class started yesterday. The first week is primarily acedemics, although we do take the dogs out and play just a little. Today they got to practice thier grooming steps and health checkpoints. They we played a little hide and seek with their toy/ball/tug etc. 10 more weeks and a few more drug dogs will hit the road.

What other kind of academic stuff are you covering? Drug and/or dog stuff?
Academics include, care of dog, kennel and equipment, health, first aid, principles of conditioning (a short behavior course), a short course on olfaction, administrative stuff ie, uniforms, weapons and equipment etc. It takes up most of the first week. We do have some rapport building exercises as well, as some of the handlers didn't receieve thier assigned dog until the first day of class.

I am getting those flash backs again David, Ha! :)
David, do the new handlers train the dog or do they have to learn how to handle a drugsdog?
Selena, for two of the handlers, this is thier second dog. The other handlers are all new. All the dogs are untrained, so they actually get to train the dogs, I just provide the guidance. I do conduct a 4 week handler's class, on the rare occasion I have a vacant trained dog (single purpose drug detector only). During that class, I really try to give the handler as much information as I can on how the dog got to the trained condition that he is in. At least it gives them the idea of how the dog was trained. I really don't like doing it that way, but as we all know we don't always get what we want.

<<<I am getting those flash backs again David, Ha! >>>

Phil, just for your benefit; today we covered absolute threashold, JND's Threshold shift, source and point of saturation. Of course we also covered the training model, Sd - R - Rf.

They (the students) thought I was an absolute genius I tell ya. ha ha

How's that for a flashback.

I´m asking ´cause here all dog are all trained and the handler have to learn how to deal with a trained dog (PSD´s and all sorts of searchdogs).

In the case the whole combination must learn the job, i think you´ve short classes...sorry.

PSD here (in our region) are pre trained KNPV, and the slight differences in the PSD programmes are easy compensated. The handler to be has an trial period of a few months (learning by seeing/experiencing decoy work/ work alongside with an very experienced handler on the street), than he gets a dog. Both get trained on the PSD programme for about 2 mo, they get certified.
I realize they are different, but our drug detector class is 10 weeks. Explosives classes are 15 weeks and PSD, is 18 weeks. Good dogs and good training, you really don't need much more time than that. I don't do the short classes for explosives or PSD.

I mean that 10 wks IMO is short to train both the dog and the handler..

If I compare it to the PSD in our region the training time is from 6 mo-1 yr for the combination is good enough to work on the streets.
AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH, Those were the days!! :D How I still miss them so!
Selena, perhaps it's a terminology problem we are having here, but the 10 weeks, is just a single purpose drug dog. I really dont know what more I could teach a drug dog with 8 more weeks of training. The PSD, or as I call it the Patrol dog is 18 weeks. Four and 1/2 months is quite a long time when you train 5 days a week. I've always found 10 weeks was plenty of time to train a dog to find 5 or 6 different drug odors. Understand the handler has already completed police training, that was 26 weeks, this is just dog and handler training.

Is there any economic pressure to use dogs that could go on to be dual certified? I would imagine departments with any budget concerns would be keen to have a handler whose dog could patrol as well as detect.
David Frost said:
Understand the handler has already completed police training, that was 26 weeks, this is just dog and handler training.

I guess all police education is shorter in the US.

Here police academy is 4 yr, they learn academics 3 months, work for 3 months, academics 3 months etc.
Before a cop can become a handler,they must have at least a few years of street experience and have a certain rank (hoofdagent).
Oh i talked this topic over with my husband.

The dogs who are bought for his department (with another words the ones he thinks are suitable): 90 % is PH1 certified bought(average 436 out of 440 points, 2 went to the nationals). With an experienced handler, it takes 3 mo. to get the combination certified on the street. With a novice handler: see my previous post.

It depends on the objective of the department. Well, that's the standard answer, actually it depends on thier fear of liability. With our department, they prefer more single purpose dogs, ie drug or explosives detector. There is more interest in dual purpose lately. Economics have not really been part of their decision making. It's been more of a traditional assignment of dogs within the department. It takes time and logical thinking, which at times can be in short supply, to change tradition.

In your experience, do the single purpose dogs of breeds that wouldn't be suitable for patrol work (like labs and chessies) have better success with the detection work than the GSD and Malinois?
Although, I bet you see some Chessies who would give a good account of themselves in patrol work...
Scott, in my experience, the dogs are selected based on behavior specific tests that we give. To that end, any dog that is selected is expected to perform equally. Labs and Chessies, which I do use, certainly make good single purpose detectors. As you pointed out, some Chessies would hold thier own. I have one that is a particular handful. I don't think however that they make better dogs, certainly as good, but not better than GSD's or Mals.

After some rough spots, some unbelievable heat this year, we are finally in the certification stage of training with this drug class. I lost one dog, (GSD) just couldn't take the pressure after about 4 weeks, replaced it with a Mal that has done well. Yesterday we did vehicle certification; 3 sets of 5 vehicle. A target on 2 each of the 5 in two sets, one vehicle in the third set had the distractors of plactic bags and uncirculated currency. The dogs hit all the drug odors and did not respond to the plastic bags or the uncirculated currency. Today we'll do certification in building search. It's been a good class, but to be honest I'm glad to get rid of them and get them back to work. This class will graduate with 1 GSD, 1 Mal, 1 Rottie, 1 Golden and 3 Labs and a Chessie. The GSD and Mal will also be patrol dog trained. Now I can start getting ready for the explosives detector class scheduled to begin in late September.

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