Bite Targeting is a simple concept in police dog training circles; it just requires much training, and rehearsal. Having said this, I will also have to make a distinction here; most dogs that do this thing live, have the experience from prior engagements to fight the target as a whole in the field, so the dog will read his assailant and take him down accordingly, regardless of the target training. He will not necessarily go for the target trained area. The whole idea of target training is the same as in marshal arts where you get taught to strike in certain areas for effect. So we utilize this technique to familiarize the dog with frontal, rear and side targeting areas, by only allowing these areas for a bite in training.
Specific targeting conditioning when a dog is only taught and conditioned to bite the arm, he will in all likelihood continue to do this in practice. The idea of utilizing a whip to condition a dog to target the hand that has a weapon, came about when we were fighting riots, and the rioters built arm and leg guards from rain gutter pipes, by putting nails through them, and then working it down to 1 ½ inches, and then strapping it on with tube. So the dogs had nothing to bite that would not severely injure him, but the object in hand, a baton, or club or pipe.
We took whips and nicked the dogs with it, until they could only wrestle with the object in the perps hand, by utilizing bite suites that were extra padded, and very big, giving the dog a zero bite hold on the body. The aim was to ready dogs for crowd control work and elevate their bite training beyond the norm, as we were faced with this new dilemma. It worked, the dogs got clever, and they figured out that ankles and toe bites were just as effective, as well as elbows to get the subjects to submit.