Working Dog Forums banner
1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
70 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Before advanced training with a K9 can be conducted to the level of tactical building searches, and entries, the dog must be prepped for this future use. Most dogs can and will do a very good search, and find the odd suspect. However, where the threat level is high, things go wrong with this basic application, of men and dogs. This statement holds many truths that the K9 handler both in the police and military seem to forget.

Most of us K9’s are of the opinion – like our civilian counter parts - that the dog will perform naturally, well yes, maybe if you are good and so is your dog, and luck has a part to play here as well, that’s a big maybe, then the dog will get the same results on as off the field. THE Fact’s and history tells us, that it won’t be done consistently and or effectively.

If the dog has never been put in real defence, and fight, it will not defend or attack all the time every time; this is the simple truth of the matter, dogs like humans don’t just do things because it is in their nature. Even the so-called untrained dog, got trained, just the fact that if he barks at the postal worker, and the postal worker moves off, this is training, or some call it conditioning.

Without getting to technical and drawn out on this, some things to remember about this type of training used to get the “right end result”. Remember this - Sport training philosophy and Tactical training philosophies are two worlds apart: With the sport dog, you want a good bond; the dog must be working with you all the time. With tactical training the dog is trained to act, think and react more on its own to a certain extent.

This is why I just smile when I read comments about putting dogs on defence to early, and harming them…That is like saying; lets teach Johnny to box, but no contact boys. He will look good but he will not be able to use his skill as it was intended – to fight. The first time he steps into the real ring and feels a good punch to the nose – and the blood starts running, guess where he will be? I see a lot of this showmanship by dogs and handlers, I looks very impressive, when the dog fly’s off and shakes the arm etc., however, when you test them for real, they fail, time and time again.

Why, well mainly because the skill was not imprinted as a survival skill, more a game, where it should have been done, under tension, with stress and some pain. The dog needs to understand that this is a fight and it is for real. There is just no other way to do it – “ FOR REAL”, sorry. Anything else is just cosmetic in my book; I wont trust my life with such a dog, trained in such a manner – the sport philosophy..

My point is this, sport training is a sound philosophy and it works – for sport that is, it has very little to offer in terms of application in the real world, where bad people won’t hesitate to put a knife or bullet into you or your dog.

Where do I get this from, well let’s look at some every day facts in police work:

Tactical means planned – right – so the element of surprise is a big thing – so at the start of the building search, will you have the dog bark or not?. We say no, we want stealth, especially if you are going into a high risk building where you have armed suspects hiding out – that has just held up a bank, or did a cash in transit heist etc.

The situations change, so we need to teach the dog the “bark”, and the “silent” command…first.

Most European dogs are sport trained early on – and crated – or lived on kennel – yes, so they don’t know, slippery and wet floors, tiled floors, mud, and out doors, dark places, and smells. The best dogs I have trained for this work comes from family homes, and not from breeders.

Secret, select a dog with good socialisation, and footing. I have seen so many good dogs fail, just because they were not socialised well, and wont push or jump on the suspect, because they just cannot get footing, they look like a first time on the ice, in ice skates, so they do a leg attack instead.

The next aspect is a very social dog – that can work off lead, and is secure with other officers, no SWAT team likes a dog on there leg, or a bite in the ass, as the K9 handler tries to squeeze past the stacked guys on the wall, to clear an entry position, and it still happens. Why, mainly because we train sterile, - only the dog and handler and the assailant - because the dogs were not trained with other officers in the building, kicking doors down and screaming, with flash bangs, and tear gas, with shotguns shooting bridging doors, creates a whole new environment – if not trained in.

This is not the place to go into specifics, but it can, and has been done on several occasions. We even train dogs to take “real cover”, in a gunfight. To dash, down and crawl with the officer etc. The point I am trying to make, train the dogs with the tactical teams, so that he gets to know them as friends, part of the pack, they understand this concept – believe me. This also builds confidence with the SWAT members.

The next point is, get the dog to work with his nose – we like to get the dogs on a good track, and complete tracking, and squaring, and explosives course – these are the best for utilisation with Tactical teams. We have been able to recover tossed guns, and rifles, because the dogs wait on the track and point it.

I have seen many dogs that find on memory in training – if you train building searches, change the location on every bite during the training, and even change the suspects. See for yourself what happens if you only use one assailant and one hide, if you take a big building and hide in one place only, all the dogs will go straight there first, and then look in other places. If you only use one assailant, then the dogs will pass any other assailants in the quest to get aforementioned. Use multiple assailants and sites.

On Bite work, we let the dogs bite as much as possible, a real fight does not stop, and he may have to engage several suspects. We can always work on the bite work on the field; the dog must learn to keep fighting until the handler seizes the situation. This could take several minutes, and if the dog tires, or is conditioned to bite and let go, he will do just that in the real situation – bite and let go – not fight and hold on.

We use building sites, especially over weekends when they are empty, mostly very clean – lots of stuff to hide in, under, and on top of. In addition, abandoned buildings – beware of broken glass. Teach the dogs to climb walls on their own, my dog Charka, can scale a six-foot wall all by his own. This helps when you are in hot pursuit of a suspect that jumps walls. I never leave the choke chain or harness on, have had to many bad experience, and near fatalities…but it is always a personal choice.

We never put dogs in the roof – we used to – until one suspect jumped, and died…need I say more. Smoke him out, pepper spray; tear gas or a stun does the trick. If not we lift roof tiles, some old houses here still have un-insulated electrical wiring, and traps for rat’s etc. to many bad things up there.

Teach the dog to work sectors, door-by-door, room-by-room, first. Start the training with the assailant just at the door as you enter – most dogs and handlers just rush in.

Put the assailant in a pitch-dark location, as you enter from a well-lit location – ha ha – see how they both react. Burn some rags and oil – that will teach them to crawl or cough.

Release the dog from different positions, and scenarios, from the car as you stop, as a gunshot rings out, and a suspect appears etc.

The point is this, be flexible with radical entry training, and do a lot of scenario training, this is the only way to get better, through in all the elements, civilians, and cops – use a muzzle at first – and proof the dog likewise.

One last aspect, train on the floor most dogs will just bite anyone that goes down…bad

Remember – in real life situations, you will not be afforded the opportunity to be adjusting your training and mind set, because things are now going wrong in real situations. Train as you work.
:wink:
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
10,196 Posts
<<<Most of us K9’s are of the opinion – like our civilian counter parts - that the dog will perform naturally,>>>

Mr. Geel, while you've certainly given some sage advice, I've never taken a dog's performance for granted. Many of the trainers I know or discuss training with feel pretty much the same way. On another thread, Mr. Dodson made a good point about training with actual scenarios. To me that would also indicate he does not take a dog's performance for granted either. An old saying: "you play like you practice", means a lot to those of us that deploy dogs in police service only it's not a game or a sport.

DFrost
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
70 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Mr. Frost; (David), and you may call me Reinier or Geel please, I missed spelled your name in a post today, and the edit post function does not seem to do the trick – I apologise.

Maybe I should explain that statement: By simply re-phrasing it to something along the lines of – “many new K9 handlers…” - In no way was I trying to generalise it – I was merely pointing to a certain perception that is out there – you may, or may not have experienced your self. Some believe that a dog looking the part will act it.

As for the rest, I am part of that school and train of thinking….
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
635 Posts
Reiner...what a good post. Thanks for the reminder.
Regarding a dog's "search" memory...thankfully not many real searches are performed in the training buildings. :lol:
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
10,196 Posts
<<<thankfully not many real searches are performed in the training buildings.>>>

That sir, is an excellant point. It also reinforces Mr Dodson's point of actual scenarios at work. Great ideas.

DFrost
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,973 Posts
Reinier, this was moved over to the articles section, great post and it looks like good discussion is coming out of it. It will be shadowed in the K9 section.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
21,868 Posts
May I say that it's very enjoyable to read good training discussions by professionals, in a professional manner. :wink:
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top