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Police K9 Articles

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
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
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.

Answers from
Ed Frawley
Q&A on Tracking

I try and answer every question I receive on dog training. I may often come across as a little on the blunt side, (some may call it brash). That is because I consider myself an advocate for dogs and not dog handlers. I am an advocate for common sense dog training and not the latest fad that appears on the horizon. Good dog training is not rocket science. It's common sense.

Answers from
Ed Frawley
New K-9 Police Handlers Q&A

I try and answer every question I receive on dog training. I may often come across as a little on the blunt side, (some may call it brash). That is because I consider myself an advocate for dogs and not dog handlers. I am an advocate for common sense dog training and not the latest fad that appears on the horizon. Good dog training is not rocket science. It's common sense.

Answers from
Ed Frawley
Q&A on Narcotics Dog Training

The answers on this page are my opinions. While they are certainly controversial they are not meant to offend people who take a different position. Over the years I have learned that two people can take a different approach to dog training and both be successful.

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.

FEMA Advanced Certifications

Resources for FEMA certifications. The objectives for developing a standardized Disaster Search Canine Evaluation Process are to provide uniform methods to determine the current operational readiness levels of all Canine Search Specialists and canines in the National US&R Response System, use the results of the assessment process to identify major strengths and shortfalls for the Canine Search Specialist and their canine for targeted improvement.

Diensthundpruefungsordnung 1

DPO-1 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.

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.


Tracking & Detector Dogs

Written by
Kevin Sheldahl
Bomb Dog Training Aid Evaluation ScentLogix

While presenting at a K-9 conference in Las Vegas I had the opportunity to sit in on a presentation about a product called ScentLogix™, made by a company producing training aides for explosive detector dogs, David Adebimpe PhD is the president of the company and the brains and motivation for it as well.

Written by
David Adebimpe,
PhD. DSc. CChem
Commentary & Response to Kevin Sheldahl's ScentLogix™ Evaluation

This article serves to comment on the research and evaluation activities published by Deputy Kevin Sheldahl of Albuquerque, NM - a law enforcement officer, master traininer, and owner of K-9 Services - who undertook a carefully planned and executed evaluation of ScentLogix explosives training aids using a team of certified K9s and their handlers - all of which that have never been exposed to ScentLogix training aids prior to the study.

Written by
Ed Frawley
Training Police Tracking Dogs 'Tracking Through Drive' vs. 'Foot Step Tracking'

There are two different training styles being practiced in North America to train police tracking dogs. The first is called "Foot Step Tracking" (FST), and the second is called "Tracking Through Drive" (TTD). The vast majority of American police service dogs (99.9%) are trained in FST. This article will explain to the reader why I believe TTD is more productive. It will also explain why FST is so widely used in America.

Written by
Ed Frawley
Tracking Thru Drive in America vs. Canada

There has been discussions on the PD-L about my training articles and videos that I did with the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police). Some people think it's nothing new (they are wrong), some people think you should do foot step tracking and tracking through drive (they are also wrong).

Written by
Ed Frawley
Training 90 Degree Corners in Sport Tracking

I am often asked how to train sport dogs to not overshoot corners. The fact is that teaching a dog a perfect 90 degree turn without overshooting is a simple obedience exercise and every dog can learn it. In fact it is not a difficult thing to train.

Before this work is started though the dog must first understand the "STAND STAY" (I will not go into the training for the Stand Stay in this article).

Written by
Andre Brun
Blood Tracking

Using dogs to help find wounded animals is an old technique that has its origin in Europe. But in North America also, dogs were used by the early white inhabitants to find wounded big game. The basis for this was the realization that dogs are superior to man in following faint trails with little or no visible blood. At first there were probably no ethical motivations and specialized dogs were used to recover wounded game simply because this produced more meat and hides.

Written by
Ed Frawley
Hard Surface Tracking With the Rotterdam Police

In September of this year I went back to the Police Dog Training Center in Rotterdam Holland with my friend Kevin Scheldahl. We went there with the expressed purpose of getting as much information as possible on hard surface tracking. In earlier visits with Lt. Jan de Bruin (in 1988 and 1996) I learned that Rotterdam had between 45 and 50 police dogs of which 3 or 4 were tracking specialists. I had heard about the skills of their specialty dogs and I wanted to find out how they trained them to follow hour old tracks on busy sidewalks of concrete, brick and asphalt.

Written by
Gary Murray
Search Rescue Dogs Through the Eyes of a Retired RCMP Dog Handler

S.A.R. dogs are not the only answer to a missing person search situation. Some police, the media, and the general public all too often pin their hopes for a successful rescue on the arrival of a dog handler and his/her dog. This is far to great of a responsibility to pin on any one individual.

Written by
Gary Murray
The Tracking Line is a Means of Communication Between You and Your Dog

I can't tell you how many times I have seen dog handlers snap their long line to their dogs harness and go along for the ride. They fail to realize that the line is a physical link between the dog and their hand. Other than the length of the line it is no different than rubbing your dogs ear while doing obedience.

Written by
Ed Frawley
Service Dog Tracking Problems

Do you have a problem with your departments tracking program? Have you ever heard this statement "A friend or training partner has a Police Service Dog or a Search & Rescue Dog that never finds anyone when called out." If the truth were known most American police departments do have problems with their tracking performance, but the supervisors (and in most cases the handlers) don't know where to start to correct this problem.

Written by
Ed Frawley
Service Dog Tracking Problems

It should be pointed out that the state attorney tossed out over 2800 criminal cases in Holland because of sloppy work by the dog handlers. While I dont know the details I suspect they involved handler and/or trainers being present in the rooms where the scent ID were taking place.

Written by
Gary Murray
The Tracking Wall and How to Get Over It

As dog handlers we all have handled dogs that seem to hit a point in their training that to us appears to be the limit of their abilities "the wall." Sometimes that is true but a greater percentage of the time it is not. Being the thinking end of the leash it is our responsibility to try and figure out just what the problem is. To break it down to its smallest component and adjust our training so we can train through the wall and progress with our training even further or except the fact that we as a team have indeed reached our limits.

Written by
Gary Murray
The Tracking Wall and How to Get Over It

Why do we train for articles on tracks? Competition handlers train for articles because it is a required portion of a tracking evaluation. Working handlers train for articles for two reasons. One, most working dog standards require it and two, a dog has to be able to locate scent related evidence on a track.

Written by
Gary Murray
Physical Fitness for Tracking Dog Handlers

We have set standards for our dogs for years. Test upon test, all of them judged, timed and critiqued by judges and evaluators. The results of these tests can be seen by the certificates, titles and all the initials behind our animals names.

It's time we look at the other end of the leash. You know, the end that takes all the credit when the team is successful and dishes out all the reasons for the dogs mistakes when they fail.

Written by
Gary Murray
S&R - Work Dogs and Dead Bodies

Training a dog in a search profile for missing persons, and or evidence search is really very basic. The key element is getting the dog to search and indicate human scent. How the dog is taught this and how the dog indicates this varies from trainer to trainer and handler to handler. But the profile in a nut shell is, search for human scent, pinpoint it to the source, and indicate this to the handler.

Basic Cadaver Training Using SIGMA PSEUDO CORPSE Scent

Sigma Pseudo Corpse Scent formulations provide a safe, easy to handle Source for training specialty scent dogs. The formulations allow a search dog handier to observe the dog's reactions during its initial introduction to a deceased victim under controlled circumstances, and to train specifically for cadaver search, it desired.

Written by
Ed Frawley
All-Natural Baits

Combine all the wet ingredients in a blender or food processor and liquefy. Add dry ingredients and blend well. Pour into a greased cookie sheet, bake at 400 degrees until a knife comes out clean or bake a little longer to produce a somewhat jerky texture. Cut into 3/8 or 1/2 inch cubes.

Written by
Ed Frawley
Bloodhounds: The Myth and Fiction About Their Tracking Abilities

When the average civilian thinks of a tracking dog they picture a bloodhound for one reason, the media. Just as people think of German Shepherds as police dogs the same people think of bloodhounds as trackers. I disagree with the credit this breed is given for its scenting ability, especially when compared to other working dogs. I am not a fan of undeserved repudiations or bad police work, which is why I also don't agree with the claims that many bloodhound handlers (not all) make concerning the scenting ability of this breed of dogs.

Written by
Ed Frawley
Bloodhounds and Baloney

On last night's national news (8-05-02) there was yet another segment on the fictitious abilities of bloodhounds that can smell ghosts and track gremlins. It seems that a few bloodhound handlers have convinced unknowing government officials that their bloodhounds can get odor from the envelope of the letters that were mailed with anthrax.

Written by
Gunnar M. Berg, Norway
First Steps of Avalanche Training

Training a dog to become an Avalanche Dog is a physically hard task for the handler. It involves a lot of digging, and I mean A LOT of digging. It also means that the handler (during training the dog) has to go through an education on avalanches, snow, map reading, winter survival training, first aid, and learn how to take care of his- / her-selves and the dog under extreme winter conditions. You will spend a lot of weekends during the winter in the mountains training.


Search & Rescue

Written by
Kevin Sheldahl
Bomb Dog Training Aid Evaluation ScentLogix

While presenting at a K-9 conference in Las Vegas I had the opportunity to sit in on a presentation about a product called ScentLogix™, made by a company producing training aides for explosive detector dogs, David Adebimpe PhD is the president of the company and the brains and motivation for it as well.

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.

Written by
Ed Frawley
Drug Busts & More

A Wisconsin State Patrol trooper saw a black GMC Jimmy on the side of the road, with Johnson standing in the road ditch and Patterson working under the hood of the truck. After speaking briefly to Johnson, the trooper went to Patterson, the owner and driver of the vehicle. Patterson said he was adding transmission fluid and did not need a tow. The trooper noticed a crack in the trucks windshield and said he would issue a warning notice for it.

Written by
Ed Frawley
Drug Interdiction on the Highways of Western Wisconsin

I am a reserve officer with the Dunn County Sheriff's Department in West Central Wisconsin. Over the past 6 years I helped develop a k-9 drug interdiction program for our county that has seen a good deal of success on the roads and highways in Western Wisconsin.

My dog (Gabby) and I have assisted in over 350 drug arrests, we have assisted local law enforcement in the seizure of over $200,000.00 in cash and so many vehicles that I no longer keep count. While the majority of our arrests are for simple possession, it seems that several times a year we catch a big fish with a pound of crack or methamphetamine or pounds of marijuana.

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