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Hundmutter

by Hundmutter on 02 November 2018 - 18:11

"Good to hear the K9 units help the public" - More as individuals who happen to join a Club; notsomuch the 'K9 Unit' !

We do have 'civilian' handlers and trainers and decoys who are into IPO, and W/L breeders; just not so many of them, due to a historic UK reluctance to get into hundsports. 'Dog Trainers' here are more about all-breed pet and puppy training, not competition sports of any sort.

Many breeders run Clubs associated with their businesses / Kennels; some don't. Some Breed Clubs, started more about Showring 'ringcraft' and puppy obedience, are evolving to include IPO in activities available to their members; and as the Police (and some extent the RAF and the Army) are the only public services actually using dogs who can bite on command (the only other, private & commercial users of such dogs being Security firms), its often useful to have a member who is a serving or retired Police officer, or soldier, who has been a Dog Handler, and can share practical knowledge. And yes, that hands-on experience of a lot of dogs.

by Gustav on 02 November 2018 - 20:11

@Emoryg...where are the police schools you speak about that are six weeks of training. Just curious?
During the late sixties early seventies I remember schools being 8 weeks... but even in Army in early seventies the individual schools were 12 weeks.
In my state patrol schoo is 14 weeks, and scent school( narcotic or explosive) are 12 weeks.
I agree that many civilians work with LE officers mostly individually or in clubs....but by no means have I found them to be cream of the crop. ( and I’m a civilian that trains LE dogs with the police)
Police handler are different from trainers though they can be the same. I know great trainers in both civilian and police side of things, unfortunately many of the better LE trainers won’t work with civilians some do.
But LE training ( not civilian aided training) is far superior today than what I read in your post, though we agree there are subpar LE handlers and trainers just like in sport and clubs.

emoryg

by emoryg on 04 November 2018 - 13:11

Hundmutter, how interesting that some of your guys ride two dogs and use them in separate task. It would be nice to know if they conducted performance evaluations on the k-9 teams, and were they able to determine if two dogs, each working a single purpose, is superior to one dog working in a dual purpose role.  It would be especially helpful to the see the empirical data that may have been collected.

I worked and trained dual purpose dogs.  Personally, I would rather have one or the other.  Not because I can validate that a single purpose dog is better than a dual purpose dog, I would just rather work the patrol dog.  I very much enjoyed locating the criminal.  Narcs or Bombers never overly excited me.  I sometimes rode two K-9’s in the vehicle.  I could insert a divider and keep the dogs separated, but this was for different reasons.  It was mainly for training the new dog, and that was so I could give the him a good start in police work.  You understand I know, we don’t catch every criminal we go after.  More get away than get caught.  However, I want that new dog to start off on the right foot so I would try to set him up for success in his first attempts at tracking a real criminal.

In training scenarios, we would sometimes try to duplicate conditions to make them as realistic as possible.  Officers would wear civilian clothes, drive seized vehicles, set up perimeters, have people on the scene, lights sirens, action, etc.  But you can never truly mimic the actual call.  What I could do however, is consider what are the chances that this suspect can be located.  Lets say we have a direction of travel, last know location, (please let them run into woods or a field and lay down), a perimeter is setup, better yet, an aviation unit has a acquired a target.  Now things are looking good for the new k-9 and his chances. I think this does wonders for his confidence in his nose.  He’ll learn soon enough that things don’t always go as planned.  Am I able to prove that would help him in his work, no.  Anthropomorphic?  Maybe.  Figured it wouldn’t hurt.   

Plus, I still have an old dog on the other side of the divider if needed. There’s no better feeling than to be behind an old veteran police dog when you’re on a good call where guns or other forms of violence are involved.  You’ve ran hundreds of calls with this dog, ran thousands of practice drills.  You know his every move and could probably close your eyes and tell how close you’re getting to the perp based upon the changing tension on the tracking line.  He’s been there, he’s done that, and he’s already waiting for the next call. 

At times I would insert the divider and let the old retired dogs ride with us.  They usually didn’t stay looking out the windows and smelling the air all night like they did in their younger days, but I think they enjoyed being back on the road with all the stimuli.  Good memories. 

 

Gustav, I personally know of two, did a google seach and located others.  One is at a facility in Indiana where my department would procure many police dogs over the years.  The other is North Carolina.  This is a very good trainer who runs company (Former LEO turned PDT).  I know, I went to his six weeks training school.  I am the handler and the veteran trainer that I wrote about in the pervious post.  I went to the K-9 unit experienced in training dogs, including for police work, but my department insisted since my training skills were acquired as a civilian, that they send me to a school so I would know how to train dogs like a police officer.  And though I think the trainer school was good, I don’t think I learned much.  I say ‘learn much’ as compared to 'learned nothing', because the day I stop learning would be the day that I would develop and ego and an attitude. You get the rest.  Do I think that a handler who goes to this school to become a trainer will benefit from it?  Absolutely.  Do I think that certificate now makes them be able to read any dog, fix any problem, take from green to great, etc,  no.  I think that comes with acquiring more knowledge, development of skills and the ability to apply that knowledge and skill to the animal who’s behavior is about to be changed   I was merely taking at stab at how some departments , including one I worked with, avoided the civilian trainer because he is not a police officer.     

Incredible that you were able to train dogs for so many years.  The knowledge you must have acquired, your skill level obtained, the changes you have witnessed must be amazing.  The You are the kind of person that I would love to sit down, have a cup of coffee and pick your brain for hours.  Better yet, go out and work dogs together.  Hopefully you have been willing to share what you have learned, and even more hopeful, that others took the time to learn from it.  Relics (pun intended) willing to share their knowledge are worth their weight in gold.

by Gustav on 04 November 2018 - 14:11

I’ve been blessed and Thanks for your answer. I’m still active in USPCA region 15, and still catch a few dogs, but mostly I’m consulted by LE folks to fix problem or read a dog. The training has progressed greatly over the years, but the biggest change I see in Patrol/scent dogs is the scope of their use in terms of environmental, scenarios, and critical situations.
Hundmutter

by Hundmutter on 04 November 2018 - 15:11

@Emoryg, those evaluations probably take place, but may vary in style and content from Dog Section to Dog Section across the (think it is now currently 44, down from 60-something where they've amalgamated) separate geographical Forces. Either way, I very much doubt I could get hold of any of them, its unlikely they'd be public documents (but if I DO get to see any / one, I'll get back to you through PMs). Agree it would be interesting to see such an assessment; the 2-dog policy has spread rapidly since the first of our Police Services adopted it, some years ago now.

Yes I've known Officers here take out a rookie dog alongside an experienced one in the same way; I think maybe having a lot of double crates in patrol vehicles might have originally contributed to the 2 dog idea ! (that, and increasing numbers / success of smaller breeds being trained, not just by the Police but medical facilities, Customs, etc etc and thus more information being to hand on them). The GSD (and occasional other breeds) general patrol dogs still do a lot of finds and Searches and general nosework, especially the stuff to which they may be more suited, tracking people running off from burglaries, stolen cars, and so on; depends on areas & distances to be searched + the availability of dogs at any one time, of course, as well as whether there is info about specific search targets.

A lot of the scent dogs are 'rescued', and adopted from shelter organisations; whereas probably approaching half of our GSDs are purpose-bred by the Dog Units themselves, several of the Forces having their own breeding section.

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