What Makes A Good Police Dog
There is no doubt that without police dogs, some branches of the police would be unable to function as well as they do today.
All year-round, throughout the US, numerous puppies and young dogs embark on a long journey, together with their respective police handlers or owners, to become qualified police dogs.
However, to most of the general public, the ins and outs of this lengthy and sometimes grueling process remain a mystery. Although many answers can be found online, it is sometimes difficult to separate facts from fiction when it involves police dog training.
Although you might have concluded that with rigorous training, any dog can become a police dog, this is not the case. Certain breeds such as German Shepherds make better police dogs than others.
Despite many of us being able to recognize a canine who is well trained, police dogs must have a much higher level of discipline and certain characteristics are needed for them to be considered for the role.
Similar to humans, dogs can have a variety of different temperaments and personalities, and dogs with lazy, nervous, or extremely friendly traits are often not chosen to become police dogs I know it can come as a disappointing blow when we find out our jovial and chubby English Bulldog or Labrador is not cut out to join the police force, but this is probably for the best.
Handy Hint: In this guide I explain how police dogs know to attack the right person .
What Do German Shepherds Do In The Police Force
German Shepherd dogs can be used by the police for a variety of different purposes, and each of these will usually require specific training for the dog.
The length of this training will depend on the specific intended application, but it can vary from anywhere between 3 and 12 weeks.
German Shepherd dogs have been known to learn much more quickly than their handlers, and a lot of the training will be spent teaching the handler.
Some of the different applications that police dogs can be trained in are attack, search and rescue, and detection and explosives.
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How Long Does It Take To Train A German Shepherd
It takes anywhere from 8 to 12 weeks to train a German Shepherd to learn basic obedience commands.
Usually, most 20 week old German Shepherd puppies are house trained, crate trained, and understand a few basic commands if youve trained them correctly.
Crate training will take about a week to introduce slowly and have your dog or puppy go into the crate on their own to relax. But if your dog has had a bad experience with the crate it could take months.
Keep in mind that if you have an adult Shepherd who has already lived with another owner then you may have to undo improper training or behavior problems. This means that you have many months ahead of you of training.
Some GSDs are aggressive or reactive and it may take years before they learn to relax around other dogs in a calm manner.
While other German Shepherds have excellent dog social experiences from the start and can mix in with other dogs on a whim and quickly pick up their training basics.
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How Long Does Police Dog Training Take
The amount of training police dogs require may vary depending on their job and jurisdiction, but typically the minimum that police dog training requires is eight months. In general, a dog is considered ready to be an active part of the police force after a minimum of eight months of training. However, specialty fieldwork can extend their training longer than a year.
In hindsight, training a German Shepherd to be a K-9 police unit does not take long. However, complex roles like explosives sniffing or cadaver sniffing may increase the time it takes to train.
Learning time varies for each task, dog, and trainer. Police often choose German Shepherds because they have no difficulty picking up on things the first time around, no matter their temperament.
Because K-9 pairs are already required to meet monthly training quotas, it can be beneficial to complete specialized training during this time. Officers can select which training is most beneficial to them, or their department may assign them a specialty based on necessity.
In many cases, narcotics and explosives detection are highly recommended additions. Not all dogs get additional certifications. However, it does make them more useful in the field. Certifications like explosives or narcotics detection make an officer and their unit more valuable.
Find The Right Reward
Some dogs are food-motivated, and will respond very enthusiastically to any sort of edible treat as a reward. Others are pickier: often, soft, chewy treats are preferred to hard, crunchy ones.
Some dogs, however, just arent that interested in food at all. If this is the case with your pup, try experimenting with other rewards, like a quick play session with a favorite toy, or even just plenty of affection.
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How Police Dog Training Is Special
You must have wondered how police dogs are trained to be so disciplined, smart, and agile when on the job? The way these dogs are trained is important, when on duty these dogs perform several tasks like search for something, detecting drugs with their strong sense of smell, and protecting officers from criminals.
But before being promoted to patrol the streets, police dogs have the basic training they need to pass.
These K9s have been playing an active role in safeguarding the streets and citizens of the US along with the United States police for quite some time now. They are considered as one of the biggest resources available as a part of law enforcement agencies across the country. These dogs are vital to their security, as they save lives and deter crime on a daily basis. A lot of hard work and attention goes into training the police dogs from the time they are puppies until they retire.
As we just mentioned not all dogs are eligible to become police dogs, seven dog breeds are specifically trained in police agencies to be used as K9s. The police dog breeds are:
- Belgian Malinois
Police Dog Training Methods
After we bring the dog to our house and have named them it is very important task to train them as well so as to enhance their attachment with our family members. The method of educating a dog to perform various deeds in response to our commands is the basic of the police dog training methods. We must train our dogs to obey us by understanding our commands properly.
There are several methods of training. Dogs may be trained to follow some commands to obey us or to be obedient. They may also perform tricks, these require more advanced training. They can also help in guiding a blind or to rescue the victims at the time of emergency. Some dogs are used in hunting purposes, herding the cattle, tracking and retrieving. There are snuff dogs used by the police departments that aid in tracing out the culprits. So whatever the nature of job the dog is involved they are trained accordingly to serve us.
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Use Positive Reinforcement Techniques
Almost all vets agree that positive reinforcement training is the most effective method of dog training. Positive reinforcement training essentially focuses on rewarding your pet for good behavior, rather than punishing bad behavior.
Whenever your dog demonstrates good behavior and responds positively to your commands, reward them! By rewarding good behavior, youre reinforcing the association between good behavior and good things.
Its also important to make sure youre not inadvertently rewarding unwanted behavior. For example, if your dog barks at you to play or jumps up to say hello, dont acknowledge it or give in, as this just reinforces the bad behavior. Instead, wait until theyre calmer before giving them attention.
Get To Grips With The Basics
Our guides can help you with the basics of how to train your dog, but we also recommend dog training classes – especially for more advanced methods, such as clicker training.
If you have any problems, try asking a qualified behaviourist for advice. They specialise in behavioural issues such as excessive barking, aggression, destructiveness and phobias. You can also enlist the help of a dog training instructor if you need a bit of extra help.
Follow the links below to get started with training your dog!
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How Long Does It Take To Become A Police Dog Trainer
Again, it depends on the state you live in and the requirements of the state, police department, or company. If you have the required minimum experience, you can become a police dog trainer in as little as 3 months or the amount of time it takes you to successfully complete the required training program.
If you dont have prior experience working with animals, it can take up to 5-6 years to become a police dog trainer. Not only will you have to gain the required experience through volunteering or another career that involves working with animals, but you will also have to successfully complete the required training program.
How To Socialize Dogs And Puppies
Socialization means training your puppy or adult dog to accept new people, animals, and various places by exposing him to these things. Socialized dogs are less likely to develop behavior problems and are generally more welcomed by others. Socialization can also help prevent the development of fears and phobias.
The bottom line is that socializing your dog or puppy will make him a happier, more well-behaved dog.
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Consult A Dog Trainer Or Attend A Training Class
If youre struggling, dont hesitate to contact a professional dog trainer or join a training class. Generally one of the fastest ways to get results, professional trainers have years of knowledge they can use to help you and your pup. They will have experienced many different types of problems in their career, so they should have ideas on how to address any issues you may be facing.
When choosing a trainer, take your time to do a little research. Make sure they use positive reinforcement techniques, and read plenty of reviews or get references if you can.
We host regular puppy training classes at Small Door reach out to our team for more details!
Dogs Have Bad Days Too
Say you’ve been training your dog for weeks. He’s performing well, and then one day he just refuses to work for you. He won’t sit. He seems bored, antsy, tired, or just lazy.
Don’t get mad, and don’t continue to correct the dog if it isn’t working. Dogs have their bad days, too. Sometimes they just don’t want to work. If you try to force it, you will become frustrated and angry, which hardly ever leads to good results. Recognize that there might be a medical issue at play. Sick dogs aren’t usually enthusiastic students.
During an evaluation at my last base, a dog wouldn’t stay in the sit. The handler couldn’t get the dog to stay after multiple corrections. The evaluator took a close look and saw that the dog was positioned on an ant hill and had fire ants biting his legs. Continuing to correct the dog in that situation would be ineffective and would harm the rapport between dog and handler.
Recognize that your dog is a living, breathing creature that has feelings and emotions.
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Positive Training Pays Off In The Long Run
Smart dog training is simple, but that doesnt make it easy. One of the biggest mistakes pet owners make is thinking their dog knows something long before he really does. When the dogs behavior falters, some owners choose to punish the dog while others blame the technique, declaring it ineffective. In todays instant gratification society, its hard not to demand desired results right away, but as the Phoenix Police Department found, diligence and patience are valuable virtues.
Its a very time-consuming process for us, admits Bingaman. At the compulsion end we could have dogs up and running in a couple months or less, but the long-term effects were shorter and we continually had to put in more training. With the operant training, our training hours can be reduced and we have dogs who, if we didnt do any training for weeks, can still come out and work because theyve learned for the right reason.
One of the biggest advantages of the agencys switch to positive reinforcement training has been removing conflict from the dog-handler relationship.
The dramatic reduction in compulsion also helps protect their investment by lengthening the dogs careers. In compulsion training, all the corrections on a pinch or choke collar come from the neck, which can breakdown vertebrae and eventually shorten or end a dogs career.
K9 Police Dog Training Difficulties
Difficulties during training and/or work may occur if the handler didnt have time to train with the police dog, and because of a lack of proper knowledge of working with dogs, may have ruined the dogs training.
Consequences that may occur from this is that the dog ends up not being able to work well with the police in a certain situation, which can have extremely serious effects. In this case, the police must state the problem to the personal dog trainer, so that the K9 trainer can teach the dog and the K9 handler how to fix any mistakes that could have been made by the handler.
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How Do I Make My Dog A Police Dog
The course to qualify as a police dog is arduous, and the dog and handler must undergo periodic booster training. The dog is run through simulations including being able to find hidden objects in a large area, tracking down a suspect, navigating environments such as schools and subways and detecting bombs.
We can train them by using commands like sit down, stay, close, come, go, shake hands, etc. The training process will take some time depending on the breed of the dog and the way how they understand our commands. So in training it is must that we should be patient enough to make our dogs the best in obeying our orders.
How Do Police Train Their Dogs
To train a dog properly, you need consistency and constant repetition. Police do constant training which keeps the officer and the dog sharp and well trained. People often forget that a dog can easily forget a command that has not been used for a while. You must go over and over the commands you want your dog to follow. Be sure to work some command training into your daily walks. Your dog will love itthey dont get bored if you reward them with a toy, excited love or a treat when they perform as commanded.
As we described in another of our posts Family Rules For Training Dogs | The Entire Family Needs To Participate be sure that the entire family uses exactly the same commands and tome when working with your dogs.
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Train The Positive Police K9 Way
Whether training a strong-willed Shepherd or a creampuff Cavalier, the art and science of learning theory and behavior modication remains the same. White offers the following ve tips designed to improve training results:
1. For big results, youve got to think small. Always look for, and reinforce, the littlest increments on your way to the end behavior.
A nished behavior is the sum of its parts. For example, when training acceptance of nail trimming, remember to start with basic foot handling without clippers, and at a level your dog can tolerate. That might mean touching one toe, with one nger, for one second. Work up from there.
2. Street-reliable skill sets are narrow and deep. Concentrate on uency and generalization of the few behaviors youll need on the street.
Watch out for the jack of all
trades, master of none phenomenon, where your dog can sort of do a lot of things, but lacks a solid performance in any of them.
3. Over-train wisely. Build levels of uency, generalization, and resistance to distraction beyond what youll need on the street.
ln training classes, we practice stays while remotecontrolled cars pulling miniature wagons lled with treats zoom past. If your dog can do that, hes more likely to successfully handle sitting patiently as you prepare his dinner. Be creative in your training, but always work at a level that is fair to your dog.
Remember that behavior change doesnt happen overnight. Persistence, patience, and practice are key.
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