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Police Dogs Articles

Written by
Kevin Sheldahl
Police Dog

Recently I was asked to write an article about being a K-9 handler and the experience gave me pause. I've written articles in the past, but it had been a few years. After participating in a couple decades of training and education I had to ask myself: What do I have to offer? Sure, I can train handlers and I'm good at deploying dogs. I've worked in a variety of environments, including patrol, tactical operations and interdiction efforts, as well as security operations for dignitaries and sporting events. I've even found a few of our deceased. I preach a lot about this craft being a hands -on, experience driven, specialty. What could I write about? What do I have to say?

Written by
Kevin Sheldahl
Police Dog

The “tactical release” is a technique used the application of a police service dog to control a suspect. In contrast to lifting off of a bite suit (or “taking the dog off strong,” as it is often called in training) or choking the dog off, which are training practices, the tactical release is a very specific tool in the K-9 handlers toolbox.

Written by
Ed Frawley
My Dog Won't Out

If you are around bite work long enough, you will eventually see dogs that simply “will not” out. Nothing their handler does can persuade the dog to release, not prong collar corrections, not remote collar corrections.

We get emails from handlers of these kind of dogs on a regular basis asking “what can be done to fix this problem?” The majority of people who write have bought these dogs and are now seeing the problem.

Written by
Shannon Hoyt
Behind Closed Kennels

Just beneath the knees of our country’s military, police forces, and rescue teams, are smaller versions of our everyday heroes, whose work can be easily overlooked. However, the mystery lies not on what working dogs can achieve, but how the dogs are able to achieve tasks humans cannot.

Ed Frawley, president of Leerburg Ent. Inc., has worked with service dogs for years, helping provide insight into the processes of training and working with these animals.

Written by
Ed Frawley
A K9 Handler Selection Process

The following is a sample of a selection process to pick a new K9 handler for a city police force. This is a pretty good starting point for any city or town that is adding a new K9 handler to their police force. -Ed Frawley

From the Eau Claire
Canine Unit Policy
K9 Policy and Procedure For a Medium Sized Department

The Eau Claire Police Department maintains a canine unit in an effort to provide the City of Eau Claire with the best police service possible. The canine unit will allow the department to increase productivity, deter crime, and improve public relations with its improved search capabilities, drug detection, and the added dimension of tracking.

Written by
K. G. O'Connor
Jail Dogs Training Law-Enforcement Canines for Detention Detail

Your agency has decided to assign a K-9 Team to your detention facility and courthouse to add a nonlethal tool and provide additional support to officers who are working in a hostile environment. Your commanding officer has limited or no knowledge of canines and believes that he or she can bring a patrol dog in from the street or purchase a dog without regard to the environment in which he will be working.

Written by
Kevin Sheldahl
Police Dog Examination

Police Service Dog certification examinations should be administered only after both Dog and Handler have completed a course of training which is designed for the specific examination to be administered. Afterwards, to maintain certification, the Dog should be re-examined on an annual basis. This is to assure performance quality-control over the career of the Dog.

Written by
Ed Frawley
Muzzle Warning

The purpose of a correction in dog training is not to punish a dog for inappropriate or bad behavior rather the purpose of a correction is to change a dog’s behavior. Understanding corrections is the core of understanding dog training.

Written by
Ed Frawley
Law Enforcement Canine Use-of-Force Research

Mike Brave is an expert on "Use of Force" issues, both with and without a canine. He is also a lawyer that works for the US Department of Justice. Mike has his own web site http://www.laaw.com. Mike can be reached at: Brave@laaw.com. This section of canine law was done in 1995. It will be updated shortly with information for 89 new canine legal cases.

Written by
Ed Frawley
Rural Manhunts

Have you ever found yourself thinking that you have made just about every mistake possible and its about time that you sit back and pay attention? Not long ago after a manhunt for an escaped federal prisoner (Robert Pulvermacher, 48,) here in Wisconsin I found myself in that position.

Written by
Kevin Sheldahl
The German Shepherd as a Police Service Dog

What of the GSD in Police work today? The PSD of today may work in a rural or even wilderness environment where the primary function of the K-9 Team is Search and Rescue. Alternately, the team may be a specialty unit within one of the world's great industrial cities where apprehending armed suspects who have fled from attempts to apprehend them are their only job.

Written by
Kevin Sheldahl
Selection Testing for Police Service Dog

One of the greatest challenges in functioning as a police service dog instructor for my agency as well as a variety of others is the search for quality police service dog candidates among the numerous animals offered for sale both in the US and abroad. I am continually asked what it is I see and look for in a potential PSD.

Written by
Kevin Sheldahl
Police Service Dogs The Bark and Hold

The bark and hold or Rever as practiced for sport is of the utmost importance in evaluating the temperament and character of the dog in the areas of courage and fighting drive. The sport judge views the dog intently during this phase of the sport trial to determine character flaws or strengths. Because of the scrutiny that is given to this exercise a tremendous amount of the training in the protection phase focuses on this point.

Written by
Ed Frawley
The Relationship Between the Helper & Dog

The purpose for this article is not to teach the finer points or small training steps for the Bark and Hold (bh), but rather to help people understand the concept of how this exercise evolves. If you don't enter this work with a clear understanding of which road to take you will get lost.

Written by
Ed Frawley
Problem Solving in Training the Police Bark & Hold

This article was done in conjunction with a video I produced on Training the Bark and Hold for Police Service Dogs. That tape takes you through all of the training steps to train the bark and Hold (B&H). This article deals only with a small portion of what I cover in the video.

Written by
Ed Frawley
Training the Callback for Police K9 Work

The "CALL BACK" (CB) is an exercise in police work that is required by some certification programs (i.e. USPCA) and certainly an exercise that has uses on the street. Many departments have a "Find and Bite" K9 policy vs. a "Find and Bark." These departments require their dogs to be able to do a "CALL BACK" after being sent to apprehend a suspect. This exercise demonstrates complete control over their police dogs.

Written by
Ed Frawley
The Chain Gang

Over the years I have heard of a number of methods of training dogs that I don’t agree with. It’s hard to find two dog trainers that totally agree with one another. If one has been involved in dog training for more than two weeks you will fall into this category. When this happens it’s usually just difference of opinion on which training method is better than another.

Written by
Ed Frawley
Gabby Has a Dream

My ex-wife, Jeanne, has always had an interest in writing. Awhile ago she took a writing class at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. One of the projects for her class was to write a children’s story. She wrote Gabby Has a Dream, which is about my retired narcotics dog Gabby.

Written by
Ed Frawley
Why Police Departments Drop Their K9 Programs

This week I received a disturbing e-mail from a fellow K9 officer in South Eastern Wisconsin. A mutual friend and K9 Officer has had his K9 unit disbanded by his police department. I chose this occasion to talk about the pitfalls that face every K9 program. I talked with several friends to gather the information for this article.

Written by
Ed Frawley
The Difference Between Schutzhund & KNPV Dogs

Both started in the early 1900's. Schutzhund and KNPV are great European dog sports. Schutzhund originated in Germany and the KNPV began in Holland.

Schutzhund was started by Amax Avon Stephanitz who is the founder of the German Shepherd breed. He designed the sport of schutzhund to be used as a tool by breeders.

Written by
Ed Frawley
The Use of the Stick in Police Dog Training Sport Trainers vs. Service Dog Trainers

I have recently become involved in an ongoing discussion concerning the use of the stick in police dog training. I was not aware of the fact that there was so much confusion on this subject. The confusion stems from sport dog trainers applying their use of the stick to police service dog training.

Written by
Ed Frawley
How to Fit a Prong Collar

I train dogs with prong collars. There are very few dogs that I would not train with a prong collar. I recommend them to new dog owners, new trainers and people who own dogs with behavioral problems. While some think a prong looks nasty the fact is they are far more humane than a normal choke collar.

Written by
Ed Frawley
Muzzle Warning

I include this web page as a warning to those people who use muzzles while training their dogs. A muzzle is only as effective as the people who use them. When they are not properly tested before training bad things can happen.

Patrol Dog Evaluation

The skills favorable for the successful deployment of a Patrol Dog are recognized within three categories. These categories are obedience, scent work, and apprehension (including search exercises). The qualification in the area of scent work is considered optional but desirable. The training of the Patrol Dog team is the responsibility of the designated instructor. Maintenance and deployment are the responsibilities of the handler under the guidance of the departments policies, procedures, and administration.It is recommended that the Patrol Dog/Handler Team be evaluated in this format at least once each year.

Police Patrol Dog 1

Police Service Dog certification examinations should be administered only after both dog and handler have completed a course of training which is designed for the specific examination to be administered. Afterwards, to maintain certification, the dog should be reexamined on an annual basis. This is to assure performance quality-control over the career of the dog.

Heart of America Police Dog Association Certification Rules

This is a test to determine the canines ability to perform the required tasks as well as the handlers ability to control and interpret the canines behavior.

North American Police Work Dog Association

A list of resource links for the North American Police Work Dog Association including certification rules, bylaws, and a range of tests. “Dedicated to Assisting Police Work Dog Teams Throughout the World”

North Carolina Police Dog Association

All police dogs must be certified in the specific areas in which they are trained. The following certifications will be given and maintained by the NCPDA. These certifications of the police dogs are on a PASS/FAIL basis. No points will be awarded and competition/awards will be prohibited. The certification will be based on the ability to perform the tasks set forth by the procedures adopted by the NCPDA.

United States Police Canine Association Inc.

Links on the United States Police Canine Association Inc. about General Rules & Definitions, Obedience Test, Agility Test, Search Tests, and Criminal Apprehension.

Mid-South Police Canine Association

Examiner and team rules of the Mid-South Police Canine Association. All Examiners must be appointed by MSPCA. All Examiners must be active members in good standing with MSPCA. Any Examiner may be dismissed by the association for mistreatment of any team or member, upon the incident being reviewed by the association.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police K-9 Certification Program

Links to the K-9 Certification Program of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police K-9 Certification Program. These sessions will prepare the student team to work human tracks during daylight hours and after dark in the rural, suburban and urban environments. Normally the student team will have limited knowledge of the task. The topic will be divided into two distinct sessions: the first, the classroom theory on tracking and the second, the actual field exercises.

Written by
Ed Frawley
Can you tell me why fight drive is so important in building search training?

I feel that it's important that new handlers understand the subtleties between how a fight drive dog and a prey dog view this work. It's also important that people understand that there are a great many (probably a majority) of police dogs that work in prey drive in a building search. This is wrong.

From the National
Police Canine Association
K9 Policy and Procedure For a Medium Sized Department

Welcome to the National Police Canine Association (NPCA). NPCA is a non-profit association dedicated to the training, development, and certification of law enforcement canine teams and their administrations. NPCA strives to be the best resource for the professional canine unit.

NPCA offers nationally accepted certifications throughout the year, across the United States. NPCA also provides regional and national canine training seminars.

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