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Patrol Dog Evaluation - General Information

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. This should not exclude additional evaluations throughout the year.

The performance standards included are derived from the International Programs as well as other areas. The evaluation format has been developed to assist in the evaluation of a deployment ready service dog team and include the most common deployment practices utilized but should not be seen as the only possible applications. There are several areas in which the handler may choose optional exercises. This choice is left up to the handler and instructor to determine which is best suited for the team. Although the evaluation includes skills analogous to the DPO and PSP (International and West German Police examinations respectively) the evaluation is not intended to provide Internationally recognized titles for Service Dogs. Handlers should be encouraged to participate in these programs and title their dogs since they represent an ongoing training and evaluation process.

In conducting these evaluations on Patrol Dog/Handler Teams it is important to keep in mind several points. The skills must be presented in a realistic environment not out on training fields. The situation/scenario must be clearly set out for the handler. In presenting the exercise to the handler the evaluator must clearly delineate the skills to be utilized and what will be evaluated.The obedience and apprehension portion of the qualification should be completed within a 24 hour period to be certain that the dog can withstand the rigors of police work. This also helps to identify the dog whose skills are not up to par and may need to be retired for performance, age, or health reasons. The evaluator also has the responsibility to determine whether the canine provides enough courage and hardness to effectively perform his job. This is reflected under the scores where the dog must engage or pursue the simulated perpetrator. If this score does not meet the minimum of 4.0 the evaluator must fail the dog for safety reasons. During the course the dog may perform muzzled or UN-muzzled. If the dog performs unmuzzled equipment should provide a minimum of visual stimulation. If the dog performs muzzled the evaluator will choose one of the exercises which includes engagement and the dog will perform this unmuzzled. If the evaluator questions the dogs courage and hardness or the handlers ability to control the dog additional exercises can be undertaken at the evaluators discretion.

The evaluation process is only valid if appropriate maintenance training of the dog is ongoing. The maintenance training must be in accordance with the exercises provided for within this evaluation as well as any other deployment options for which the dog may be used.

All obedience exercises will begin from the basic position (dog at handlers left side sitting in heel position) except for tactical movement exercises during which the handler proceeds as the situation dictates. Quoted distances throughout the qualification are to be considered approximates only. In the obedience phase they will be minimums.Full score can only be achieved by a happy working dog. It is expected that the handler maintain control over the dog at all times. In the gunfire sections of this evaluation the gun shy dog will be failed from the entire exam. A gun shy dog must be reevaluated as to its suitability for deployment.

The canine shall follow the footsteps of a person along a track that is 600 to 800 paces long with three 90 degree turns and aged a minimum of 30 minutes. Along the course of the track will be three items of simulated evidence of varying composition well saturated with the track layers scent. The canine should accurately follow along the footsteps being attentive to the track and indicate the presence of the evidence along the path. Along the track there will be an obstacle such as a fence, ditch or road which the team must overcome and continue to track. The canine shall work on a 3 lead to either a collar or harness or off lead in a controlled slow fashion.

The canine will be deployed to search for two small pieces of simulated evidence. The search area shall be approximately 800 square feet in which the evidence shall be placed. The canine shall search in an organized fashion left and right upon the direction of the handler while the handler moves through the midline of the search area. The handler must note the wind direction and work into the wind.

In view of the varying approaches within law enforcement as well as the goal of best utilizing the dogs capabilities an alternate approach to tracking may be chosen. This may be used either in addition to the previous test or as a substitute for it. In this program the canine will be either worked on a harness or free of a line. The track shall be at least 1000 in length and laid out in a serpentine fashion. It will cross at least one obstacle such as a fence or ditch and will make one change of terrain or road crossing. The conclusion of the track will be the location of a hidden subject. The handler must be able to interpret the dogs behavior along the course of the track to include the behavior change associated with the person at the end. No evidence will be placed along the track.

This area includes both on and off lead obedience. Heeling shall be conducted according to the diagram below. The handler shall heel the canine on lead 50 paces at a brisk normal pace, demonstrate a right or left turn, continue another 20 paces and demonstrate another turn the same as the first (two left turns or two right turns). The handler will continue to heel the canine another 20 paces and execute an inside about turn retracing his steps and demonstrating two turns along the return path. While retracing the path of the last leg (50 pace portion) the handler will demonstrate at least 10 paces fast immediately followed by 10 paces slow then return to normal speed. A command to heel at each change of pace is acceptable. At the end of the last leg the handler shall enter a group of at least three milling individuals and demonstrate a left and right turn and automatic sit within the group using a figure-eight pattern. The handler will then exit the group and remove the lead from the canine placing the lead either over the shoulder or in a pocket. The handler will then proceed into the group with the dog at heel and again show a left and right turn and automatic sit as above. The handler shall then exit the group and return with the canine to his original starting position.The heeling pattern will then be repeated off lead just as it was done on lead. At the end the team will perform an about turn to prepare for the next exercises.

Next the handler will proceed from the basic position heeling his dog at least ten paces. He shall then command his dog to sit while he continues without breaking stride or otherwise signaling his canines other than with the verbal command. The handler shall proceed forward twenty paces without looking back at his canine and then turn about to face the canine which will be in a sitting position. Upon direction of the evaluator the handler shall then return to his canine which will remain calmly in a sit position. The handler will return to the basic position and pause briefly before he proceeds forward with his canine at heel. The handler will proceed forward at least ten paces and command his canine to down as he proceeds forward without breaking stride for at least thirty paces. The handler will then stop, turn and then upon direction of the evaluator call his canine. The canine may perform a front and finish or he may return to the basic position automatically.The handler with his canine in the basic position at the end of the above exercise will command his canine to down. The handler will then proceed at a run away from his canine fifty paces. The handler shall then turn and face the canine and upon the direction of the evaluator call his canine. Once the canine has closed the distance by approximately half the handler shall again command his canine to down. Once the canine is in a down position the evaluator at his discretion will advise the handler to finish recalling his canine. The canine may either front and finish or automatically return to the basic position.

The canine will be muzzled for this exercise. The evaluation must include at least one additional dog and be conducted in a public place. Canines should be placed at least 10 apart but not more than 15 apart. The handler will place the canine in a down position after being directed to the location of the exercise by the evaluator. The handler will proceed to the location with the canine off lead. The exercise i concluded after 10 minutes.

The handler will be instructed to direct the K-9 to jump over a fence of 3 to 4 feet in height. Once the K-9 has cleared obstacle the handler will instruct the K-9 to either stand or down and wait for the handler to either jump over the fence or go around to pick the K-9 up. When the handler approaches the canine he will command the dog to heel without breaking stride and heel the dog a few paces to end the exercise.

The handler will be directed to move from one area of cover/concealment to another three times. Suitable areas for this exercise would be a parking lot, school yard, or approach to a business. The handler, with a minimum of effort should be able to move with the canine from cover to cover with the canine either assuming a surveillance position or a down upon the direction of the handler. The handler must be able to maintain visual contact with the areas of possible threat without undue distraction from handling his canine. This exercise will be repeated once with gunfire and again without gunfire. The exercise including gunfire will have numerous blanks fired from various areas and the handler may be required to fire blank rounds as well. This exercise will be conducted with the handler maintaining his service weapon in a low ready position (the weapon will be checked by the evaluator to be certain it is rendered safe and marked as such). In the next exercise the handler will down his canine and proceed to a position of cover out of view of the canine. The handler will then call his canine discreetly to assume either a surveillance position or a down next to him. The handler will then leave the canine and move to another position of cover out of sight of the canine. Again the handler will call the canine to him in the previous fashion.

In a building of suitable size to for the evaluator to observe the teams work the canine team shall conduct a search. The evaluator shall be present during the search. The simulated perpetrator shall be hidden within an area inaccessible to the canine and have no protective equipment on. Care must be taken to prepare a location which allows for the evaluation of the canines ability to locate the subject with scent and indicate that subjects location vocally. Inhaling rooms should be avoided for the evaluation as well as any areas known to have air currents or ventilation which severely hinders the canine. The purpose of this exercise is to evaluate the canines training and not to present problems in the extreme (though maintenance training should provide certain situations for the handlers edification in which environmental conditions provide peculate cedillas difficulties during the search). The team will be evaluated on the performance of the team in approach to the building, warnings issued, and the canines ability to maintain surveillance position. The canines ability and desire in searching, as well as the handlers ability to direct the canine in the search. The canine must also show a willingness to search undirected. The canines behavior in locating odor and working the odor to source as well as his indication. The canine will be commanded to either take up a backup position (release) or recalled to the handler. The canine must also attend to the perpetrator (guard) while the handler conducts a pat down. The canine will be placed on lead to perform a rear transport of the prisoner.

The search of a field, area, lot, industrial park or other suitable place is conducted in much the manner as the building search. During the search the canine shall work in a quartering or left to right pattern at the handlers direction. If the canine obtains a track during the search and works the track to its conclusion this will not be considered faulty. In this search the subject will be hidden is a bush shrub or against an object in the area. The perpetrator shall be concealed but the canine will have access to the suspect. The canine will be evaluated on his ability to search, behavior in the find, detaining, indication, and or call off. Once the canine has located the perpetrator the handler may either choose to recall the canine or to have the canine release. The handler will then control the suspect who will be cuffed and patted down by another officer.

The team will be presented with a scenario from which the canine may be deployed to pursue and apprehend a suspect from vehicle patrol or foot patrol. In this scenario a simulated perpetrator will appear approximately 75 yards away. The handler will take a position of cover with his canine in a surveillance position and issue a warning to the subject. The subject will then flee at which time the handler sends his canine in pursuit. The canine should pursue with great conviction. When the canine is approximately thirty paces away the perpetrator will have a change of heart and demonstrate a willingness to surrender. The perpetrator will take up an obviously not aggressive demeanor. At this time the handler who is closing the gap in an appropriately tactical manner may allow his canine to detain, down the canine in route, or choose to recall the canine. The canine who detains will be commanded to release shortly after beginning the detaining exercise. While the handler approaches the canine must remain vigilant. If the handler has chosen a call off the canine must return quickly without unduly distracting the handler. Continual commands to return and an unruly canine will be severely graded. If the call off is performed the approach will be with the canine at heel position and attentive to the perpetrator. Upon approach to the subject the canine will be commanded to take up a guard position. The handler will conduct a pat down and then a rear transport with the canine on lead. The handler shall then remand the prisoner to the evaluator.

The team will be directed to patrol an area along a given path by the evaluator. The canine shall remain at heel during this exercise. During patrol a perpetrator shall attack the team wielding a stick. The canine will strongly engage the subject who will then strike the canine twice on the less sensitive portions of the body with the stick. After the second stick hit the perpetrator will have a change of heart and begin to show submission in his behavior. The subject will continue to move as to escape the grip of the canine. The canine will be commanded to disengage the subject. The subject will continue to be fearful and submissive. The handler will pat down the subject who has dropped his weapon in the attempted assault on the officer. The handler will retrieve the weapon place his canine on a lead and perform a rear transport to the evaluator.

The team will be given an area to deploy the canine on lead where a perpetrator may have secreted myself. The team will deploy downwind of the suspect area. The canine should work on a loose lead. During the course of the search the canine should scent the subject in an identifiable fashion. The handler should then take a position of cover and issue a departmental warning. After the warning the subject will emerge who matches the description of the suspect. He shall then suddenly bolt sat which time the handler will send his canine in pursuit. Once the canine has been released the suspect will turn and attack the canine and throw several small noninjurious items at the canine. The canine will ignore these items and strongly engage the perpetrator. After a brief but intense encounter the canine will be commanded to release the perpetrator or return to the handler. Upon the handlers arrival the canine shall take up a guard position. The handler will then conduct a pat down.

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