What Else Do We Need To Know
Scientists already know a lot about how animals like dogs learn associations between behaviors and rewards. Dog trainers can use this knowledge and their experience to help dogs learn new behaviorseven behaviors important to police work. There is still a lot we do not know about what would help dogs to learn their jobs faster. For example, is it better to teach a police dog about one important odor at a time, or many odors? How do dogs learn about one important odor when it is mixed with other odors? How can you tell if a puppy will become a good working dog? These are big questions about how animals learn that scientists and trainers can work together to solve.
How Do Police Departments Obtain Their Dogs
According to the National Police Dog Foundation, most K9 units do not take in dogs from the public. They often get them from specialized breeders in Europe. This tradition has been in place for decades. Unfortunately, many police departments donât have a budget for K9 units. As a result, in many areas, agencies raise funds to acquire police dogs.
Police dogs must be intelligent, have a strong sense of smell and possess a willingness to work. Dogs that are innately shy or anxious donât make ideal police dogs. However, intensive training that begins at an early age can help foster certain traits in a dog. Socialization and obedience training are also important since dogs in K9 units must follow challenging and complex commands in demanding and stressful environments. Some police departments acquire dogs with basic obedience training and then assign them to more intensive training to bring them up to speed. In other cases, the police purchase dogs that have already undergone police dog training.
Regardless of how the dog was trained, itâs important for the police handler to develop a relationship with their canine. Once both the dog and its human partner are adequately trained, they are certified to work in the field.
Becoming A Canine Handler
Many professional police dog trainers began their careers as canine handlers who worked on a police force. This means completing all the requirements of becoming a regular police officer. Indeed Career Guide reports that many employers look for applicants with a bachelors degree in criminal justice or closely related field. Other requirements include completion of the police academy and at least two years of patrol officer experience.
Training for the K-9 unit entails studying canine behavior and learning how to work as a team with their assigned dog. Potential K-9 handlers are evaluated on their motives, their leadership abilities, and whether or not they and their families can take on the 24-hour responsibilities of owning a police dog.
Recommended Reading: Is American Federation Of Police And Concerned Citizens Legit
About Our Police Canines
The Calgary Police Service Canine Unit was first established in 1960. Police canines play an integral role in apprehending individuals who have committed serious criminal offences. They are used to locate evidence of a crime such as weapons or clothing, or for locating drugs, explosives and cadavers. A dogs sense of smell is incredibly more refined than that of a human, and using this tool often gives police the advantage of locating people who have fled the scene of a crime and locating items related to that crime.
How many dogs are in the unit and what breeds are used? The canine unit consists of 22 different dogs in roles from general patrol to specialty detection work. Different agencies use different breeds for police work. In Calgary we generally use the German shepherd. We have also used the Belgian malinois and the Labrador retriever. These breeds have shown the greatest ability to do police work. They have an incredible sense of smell, are tireless workers, and are generally quite social.
How often are the dogs deployed?On average the dogs are called on approximately four times a shift. The canine unit was deployed to 8,571 calls in 2011 and directly responsible for the capture of 358 suspects.
Do you visit schools or other events to showcase your skills?We occasionally attend functions to showcase the dogs. To see if your request is appropriate and we have the manpower to facilitate an event, contact our Public Affairs Unit.
At What Age Can Dogs Begin Police Dog Training
As anyone whos successfully trained a dog knows, training begins the day that you bring your pup home, which is typically around 8 weeks old. For police work, dogs usually begin the first step of training as young as possible, which is also around 8-10 weeks old, depending on the breed. When a litter of potential puppies is born, they are evaluated and closely monitored to check if they have any special, desirable characteristics that make them stand out from the pack.
These puppies are closely watched for how they eat, their intensity during play, and their temperaments. This evaluation can determine which puppies may have the highest chance of completing training. They are exposed to various sounds, challenges, and situations, and how they react to these is also closely monitored by trainers. This is to help desensitize the pups and prevent them from becoming skittish to new sights and sounds. As is the case with any dog, they are taught basic commands first, such as sit and stay, and only then move on to more complex training techniques.
Recommended Reading: How To Obtain Accident Police Report
These Police Officers Are Proof That Reward
In some training circles, its still a sacred cow: the idea that the only way to get a dog trained to near perfection and utter reliability is to teach him that he has to comply it doesnt matter if he wants to. Adherents of this school of training believe that in order to create a dog who responds reliably when first commanded, force-based training techniques must be used.
Fortunately, more and more trainers are realizing this sacred cow is a bunch of bull.
Positive reinforcement training has made significant inroads among much of the dog-owning population. However, many handlers involved in precision-based sports such as field work, obedience, and Schutzhund, along with many pet owners of strong breeds such as Rottweilers, Dobermans, and so-called bully breeds, still believe a healthy dose of compulsion is necessary to convince the dog he must perform as commanded .
The trainers of working police dogs generally feel that their dogs and their jobs also require the use of force-based techniques a majority of law enforcement dog handlers still rely on compulsion. Fortunately, a growing number are beginning to realize that positive reinforcement not only produces reliable dogs, it also decreases dog-handler conflict and creates stronger working relationships.
How Long Does It Take To Train A Police Dog
Training a police dog takes a lot of work. Initially, these dogs receive months of training, usually between eight months to over a year. Upon successful completion of this training, they are paired with a handler, and the team or K-9 unit must do even more training. They will usually train together for three to six months. Specialized training may take longer. For example, some police units learn narcotics training, which is a program that usually takes four to six weeks to complete.
Once they have learned to work together, the team doesnt stop there. Police dogs and their handling officers must continually train together throughout their career.
You May Like: How Much Is A Digital Police Scanner
Are Police Dogs Considered Officers
Depending on where they live in the world and the particulars of the department that they work for, police dogs may be considered officers. Unfortunately, they dont have all of the same protections that a police officer would have. For example, if someone hurts or kills a police dog, they are not often punished in the same manner that they would be if they were to inflict the same trauma to an actual read, human police officer.
That said, in some areas, police dogs are considered officers. They receive their own badge and equipment, such as a protective vest. Regardless of the specifics, police dogs are generally treated with honors when they die, especially when in the line of duty.
How Do Police Dogs Know Who To Attack Chase Or Bite
Watching K9 police dogs in action is something else, but have you ever wondered how they know who the bad guy is? What goes on in police dog training that means that can quickly single out the suspect in a crowd to chase, attack, and possibly even bite?
How do police dogs know who to attack? Police dog handlers have developed clear signals to communicate to the police dog who to attack and bite. They ensure that they are in full control of when to send the police dog off to chase a suspect.
If youve ever wondered where police dogs come from, how theyre trained , and how they know who to attack then read on!
Lets get into some more detail first though
Don’t Miss: How To Become A Pittsburgh Police Officer
How Are Police Dogs Named
A police dogâs name will be called out loudly and repeatedly throughout the course of its career. Most training facilities and K9 units agree that their dogs should have names that represent their aggressive, rough nature. After all, criminals should be intimidated when the handler calls out a police dogâs name. Yelling out âDaisyâ isnât likely to scare anyone. Names like Bomber, Kujo, Attila, Fury and Blade are more appropriate for police dogs.
Why Master Dog Training
We have real-world practice with both military and police K9s. Our trainers underwent their education in Europe, Finland, Germany, Russia, and have the opportunity to train specialized dogs for different purposes.
We offer obedience dog training and aggressive dog training for every breed of dog, from small breeds, such as Yorkshire and toy terriers, miniature Pinschers, and Chihuahuas, to breeds such as Labradors, German shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Pitbulls, and Malinois, as well as many other dogs.
We also offer puppy obedience training for puppies 2 months old and older.
You May Like: How To Become A Certified Police Officer
Change In Behavior Then A Scratch
An alert includes noticeable behavior changes triggered by odor interest, followed by a scratch near the odor source. Behavior changes include a sudden head jerk in the direction of the odor source, slowing or speeding of a wagging tail, body posture changes, and changes in breathing patterns.
If the canine detects the odor of a narcotic during a search, police dogs communicate this to the handler by scratching near the source.
Behavior changes without a scratch are not enough to announce an alert, just as scratching without behavior changes is not an alert. Both must be witnessed by the handler in order for contraband to be considered detected.
A police dog goes through these behavioral changes, less the scratch, when curious about other odors such as urine or food, so its an error for the handler to call an alert after witnessing behavioral changes only.
Its also an error to call an alert after witnessing only a scratch because the scratch was not preceded by the necessary behavior changes that are always produced when a dog is interested in any odor.
What Makes A Good Police Dog
Police dogs need a strong constitution. As puppies, they investigate their surroundings and are curious. As adults, they are highly skilled animals that can operate under a range of different conditions.
Several traits are common to police dogs, including: Intelligent Strong and powerfulSociable in a variety of settings
To some extent, potential police dogs must also be aggressive. They need to have a willingness to protect civilians and take down criminals.
Police dogs generally need a strong hunting instinct, as well as a strong nose. Police dogs may be used for bomb or drug detection, hunting down criminals, or searching for missing persons, so a strong nose is incredibly important.
What Does It Take To Be A Dog Handler
If a police officer decides to become a dog handler they’ve got to complete an assessment process at the Police Dog Training Unit, before they are considered suitable to be a dog handler. The officer will then go on to complete a 13-week general purpose dog training course, and because of the close working relationships between our officers and dogs, we always try to find a dog that is suitable for the handler. On starting the course, the handler will be introduced to their dog for the first time, but they quickly build up a bond. The course is really intense, both physically and mentally challenging, but at the end of the 13 weeks the dog and the handler know each other pretty well and that original bond is even stronger. You need to be a quick learner to be a dog handler you’ve got to learn how the dog thinks and what drives his behaviour fairly fast.Once the initial training has been completed both the dog and the handler are assessed again and then given the go-ahead to become fully operational. That’s not the end though they continue to train and are assessed every year.
The Process Of Police Training
Each and every year, Global Training Academy welcomes hundreds of patrol dogs and their handlers to our world class facility in Somerset, Texas. With the ability to train dogs for any number of real-world situations, our training centre truly delivers with the most thorough and intensive training program available.
Training any dog requires constant rehearsal and hours upon hours on ongoing trainingbut training a police dog requires even more. The process does not simply end once police K9 dogs have left the training program. In fact, the most important factor to success is often the maintenance work that occurs long after training has been completed.
We provide all of our handlers with the information and skills necessary to keep their dog in working shape. It is also quite common to have police K9 dog handlers return to refresh and update their handler training.
Recommended Reading: Can Police Tell If You Have No Insurance
Police Dogs And Odor Separation
Unlike humans, trained police dogs have the ability to separate odors mixed together. When presented with a bowl of stew, a human sees all the different ingredients but smells just one odor. A police dog can smell, distinguish, and separate each ingredient contained in the stew simply by sniffing it.
This explains why masking odors does not work. If a smuggler wrapped a pound of marijuana in sheets of fabric softener followed by a good wrap of foil, and finally placed it in a can of coffee, a dog smells the fabric softener, the foil, the coffee, and the marijuana. However, this odor separation process takes time and police dogs cannot properly separate odors if rushed.
Drug dogs are taught which odors provide the reward. A dog is rewarded for alerting to a baggie of marijuana. Empty and uncontaminated baggies must then be presented to the dog for an alert. When the canine alerts, it is discouraged with a command of dissatisfaction and then pulled away from the baggie. This step is repeated until the dog stops alerting on plastic baggies. If this step is skipped, the handler is soon left with a trashy dog that alerts on every odor that surrounded drug odors during training.
Are Police Dogs Trained To Be Aggressive
Bite sleeve training teaches police dogs to attack people who threaten the dogâs partner. During this type of training, an aggressor will wear a bite sleeve and act in a threatening manner toward the handler. When the handler gives a command, the calm dog will bark viciously and attack the sleeve. Dogs in the K9 unit are also trained to read their partnersâ body language. If the officer is relaxed, the dog will most likely be relaxed. But if the handler shows signs of fear or tension, the dog will react by intimidating the source of the threat.
Itâs worth noting that police dogs are trained not to engage in active aggression unless they are given a command. Attack commands are usually given in German. This is partly tradition and partly to ensure that the dog only responds to the handlerâs orders. Although police dogs can be aggressive on demand, they usually make great pets. These loyal, obedient and intelligent animals can become great additions to any family.
Also Check: Are There Police Scanner Apps
All About Police Dogs
PetPartners, Inc.is an indirect corporate affiliate of PetPlace.com. PetPlace may be compensated when you click on or make a purchase using the links in this article.
Police dogs are specially trained to be part of the force. Theyâre referred to as K9s, a shortened version of the term âcanine.â Police dogs may sniff out criminals, drugs, bombs or other items, and different dog breeds may serve different purposes on the police force. For example, Rottweilers and Doberman Pinschers are often used for protection, and retrievers, hounds, collies, schnauzers and beagles are frequently assigned to search and rescue or drug detection missions. Moreover, Tarheel Canine Training explains that there are single and dual-purpose service dogs. Single-purpose dogs primarily track scents and provide protection. Dual-purpose dogs serve those functions and also detect narcotics or explosives.
PetPlace is committed to teaching pet owners around the world about how incredible their animal companions are. Today weâll be filling you in on everything you need to know about police dogs.
Popular Dogs For Police Work And How They’re Trained
It’s no secret that German Shepherds have been the most popular police dog for many decades , and they deserve this title for a good reason.
But many other potential police dog breeds are now also trained to be a part of K-9 units in different countries, but the breed range is especially expanding in the west.
There’s no single path for a dog to become a police K9 unit.
Some dogs are raised from puppies to become police dogs, and others are taken from and re-trained from service dogs.
Sometimes police officers in the U.S. even bring dogs from other countries, particularly Germany and Netherlands, and continue training these bilingual dogs for police work here in the United States.
There’s no official entry barrier, and different approaches are taken to bring in new police dog breeds and train them for different tasks.
But this matter is taken seriously by law enforcement â after the full police work training, the dog will then even have to take the oath the same way as a human police officer would.
The handler will affirm on the dog’s behalf and have the dog bark in affirmation of the oath.
Retirement for police dogs varies around the world. Most dogs retire if they get seriously injured and will not heal fully. They also commonly retire when they reach old age or if they get too sick to work.
It is also common for pregnant or nursing dogs to retire or take a leave of absence.
Working dogs have been protecting and serving us for many years.
Recommended Reading: How To Make A Police Statement