|01/||How To Housebreak A Puppy or Older Dog|
|02/||The Problem with All-Positive Training|
|03/||My Dog is Dog Aggressive|
|04/||How to Fit a Prong Collar|
|05/||Introducing a New Dog into a Home with Other Dogs|
I have enjoyed your website for years. I wrote to you once before on a problem I had with my last police K9 and appreciated your honesty.
I am now on my 2nd police K9, as the last dog retired from old age.
My problem: Current dog is a high drive Mal, 5 years old. We have been together 3.5 years. He has always been dog interested. You might use the term "doggy" (I just bought your puppy DVD, but that's another story). Nytro is crossed trained for narcs. In the past few months I have noticed while we are at work he is getting preoccupied by dog smells, weather on a narc search or human search. Before he didn't care. It is getting worse as I have noticed on the last narc search. I wanted to beat him, as the narc officers watched the search but you know that's not motivation to search.
Nytro's kennel is next to the beagle dog kennel. They don't play together, but they do have piss wars. Another handler believes Nytro's problem is he is around these dogs, I'm not convinced.
My current plan is to go back to square one and start motivational tracks using small pieces of hot dogs, and more training narc searches in high dog smell areas.
I don't know if this is a genetic problem or a problem I have created. I am very disturbed by this as I pried myself on always trying to be a better handler.
Thank you for any kind of help you may have.
Tomorrow is promised to no one....
I don’t think this is something you have done. It falls under the category of shit happens. It can also be a tough fix.
My gut feel would be to back up the training and use very very low level stimulation in a non-training location and not in a training environment where you know there are dogs. I would always have the remote on him and I would know the levels he needs to work at – the eye blink level is where to start with most dogs on a Dogtra that’s about 17 to 22 (out of 127). Then it's bumped up depending on the level of distraction.
I would stimulate the dog for just looking at another dog. Every time he looked he would get low level stimulation followed by a PHOOIE or a word you use just for DOG Smell or DOG LOOK. The instant your dog looked away and back at you I would have a tug in my back pocket and I would whip it out and play with him.
This is going to take a lot of reps but in my opinion it’s the best solution. I don’t think what you were going to try doing would work. In fact I know it will not work. This dog needs to relearn that dog smell and being around dogs means good things happen with you.
A warning here – if you get pissed and screw this up because you go too high on the remote you could put the dog into total avoidance and may shut the dog down. So the way to approach it is at very low distraction levels and very low remote levels. You’re going to have to feel you way and read his reaction to the what environment you put him in.
I believe that with time the dog will learn and then the level of stimulation will be able to be reduced. Cindy’s dog Rush only needs to work on level 12 or 14 for most obedience training and maybe level 20 for serious things (you and I may not feel 22 ). It’s almost like the dog figures out there is a BULL IN THE CLOSET and he shouldn’t screw with it. So the lower level stimulation just redirects him away from what he was doing and its not a level that really disturbs him other than to say – “hey forget that and do what your suppose to do here.”
Start to train this dog with markers (it’s never too late) so you can use a positive and negative mark. If the dog was trained with markers and he was working and got into dog scent you could give a negative mark – and redirect the dog back to his work and the when he refocuses you would mark the correct behavior.
I hope this helps some.
Kevin Sheldahl's Advice:
I can tell you the way I deal with this, as I see it lot.
I have the handler identify multiple new neighborhoods where there is a lot of dog activity. Assuming the dog has some appropriate history with the e-collar, I have the handler go for walks. First the dog is told to relieve himself prior to a start of a loose leash walk. Then the game is on, if you sniff at dog pee, recognize another dog through a fence, mark, think about marking, I stimulate the dog with low level continuous (until the behavior goes away at that location) and move on. Once the behavior goes away I praise the dog for going about its business. Be sure not to praise the dog for paying attention to you or this will make the dog think every time it smells dog odor to check with you for permission! Give it a few seconds to just move along.
I want the dog to do this in a bunch of locations or it become location specific. Once this looks good, I begin to add doggie odor in the search areas... tagged by sticky notes (do not put the dog odor there yourself, they are smart enough to figure out if dad put it there it is off limits). I use slobber, urine, females urine, dogs playing in the area, etc. I will ultimately be doing detection in a kennel, along dog runs etc.
I then do search work where I set the dog up to go along an alley where I know dogs are: important, have decoy enter from a different place so the dog isn't smelling the decoy. Make sure the wind is not carrying the odor of the decoy. If the dog smells/interacts/or otherwise is distracted by dogs it receives a stimulation commensurate with the infraction, the dog is sent to search with a happy, encouraging tone and coordination is made (I use a walkie on a non-working channel) with the decoy who initially comes out cracks a whip and goes into combat with the dog. I find a few places to do this then the dog is sent for search where he has to go back to searching before he smells decoy then the fight is on. It helps if you have a decoy ho can do combative type work! This is more of a concern for a dog than a prey decoy and raises the idea that there is more important and yes somewhat dangerous bad guys out here so the dog cannot be distracted he has to pay attention!
Once all this is done then anytime the dog is distracted he gets stimulation (usually at this point it is now a small nick) and encouraged to return to the task at hand.
I also am working on the disciplined searching techniques I use with patrol dogs... I teach go away from me, go to blinds, a car in a lot, a tree, a trash can, through a door etc with low level stimulation (nick nick nick). When I put all the above wit this I have few issues.
My name is Jim Apgar and I am a patrol sergeant and K9 handler for the Pennridge Regional Police Dept. in southeastern PA (north of Philadelphia) and have been extremely impressed with all the articles authored by you that I have read. I am writing for some advice, if possible, with a problem I am encountering with my current K9 partner. Niko is a four year old Czech import GSD who is cross-trained and so far has been about the best dog you could ask for. He bites like a vise, is social as hell, and his apprehension rate from tracking is in excess of 80% (TTD, of course). His weak area is in building search, mostly in training, and is quite perplexing. I send him into a building to search and he takes off like mad but if he does not immediately locate the decoy he seems to become confused and returns to stand by me. I can tell by his body language he knows there is a person in the building but he seems reluctant to use his nose to look for them. If they make a slight noise or if I move with him he quickly locates them and otherwise is fine, and this problem is not an "everyday" occurrence but when it happens it is somewhat frustrating. I think he might just need more basic work, I.E. seeing the decoy run into the building, slight noise, etc. as in all honesty the majority of our training focuses on tracking and contained area searches as this accounts for the majority of our deployments. On the street he has done numerous successful building searches and has located two hidden offenders, but I would like to see him be a more confident and aggressive search dog in the training scenarios. As stated this is not a constant problem, but I strive for a proficient and reliable animal. Any suggestions you might be able to give would be greatly appreciated.
Take care and Thanks in Advance,
Jim Apgar / K9 Niko
I discussed this with my friend Kevin Sheldahl. I consider him one of the best K9 trainers in this country.
No doubt the dog is trying to obtain help in his search and construes something in the training as help (decoy noise, handler moving through the search area with the dog instead of behind the dog, etc.). Some really nice dogs will do this even though the handler is reasonably diligent about his/her training. Particularly among dogs who are very easy to train.
The only answer is very simple searches for the decoy with a lot of stimulation so the dogs drive carries him over the behavior which you want to eliminate.
One other technique which really helps here: Teach a directed blind search, (on a training field - not in a building to start with) and use compulsion to make the dog go to the blind as a conclusion to training. American cops hate doing this! They think it is sport but it is the easiest way to tell a dog you must go there to search and direct the dog away from you. Since the compulsion is done away from any practical searching there is no effect decreasing drive in the practical work.
Of course the emphasis changes from an obedience routine to a protection routine in the search. Lots of hot (decoy present) blinds. This work can be done on either a dog that detains or a dog that does not it really doesn't matter.
What is your opinion of an officer buying a puppy and trying to raise it with the purpose of ending up with a police service dog?
This is a question I am often asked by police officers who want to get into K9 work.
Even though the goal of my breeding program is to breed police service dogs I would be the first person to say that it's not a good idea for an inexperienced officer to buy a puppy that he hopes to raise and work the street with. This is definitely an uphill battle. I may be shooting myself in the foot as a breeder trying to sell puppies but cops need to understand the pit falls of trying to do this.
At least if I explain the problems with trying to do this and they then decide to proceed, there is a better chance of success.
Some of my best friends are K9 handlers, the fact is they are mediocre dog trainers. In my experience less than 2 or 3 % of K9 handlers are really good dog trainers. The key to this opinion is the term "handler." Police K9 Officers are dog handlers and usually not dog trainers. Yes they train basic skills and they train their dogs to be under control, but they do not often take young dogs through the developmental stages. I also admit that I have a higher standard on what my opinion of a dog trainer is. But raising a puppy to become a police service dog requires the skills and patience of someone who is trying to become a dog trainer, not a dog handler.
It's one thing to take a selection tested dog through a 6 to 8 week training program under the guidance of an instructor. It's a totally different thing to take a puppy and try to socialize it and then set the foundation for obedience, tracking and bite development. Raising a puppy with the idea of developing a working dog is almost an art form. Often police instructors do not even have much experience raising puppies.
I have sold puppies to officers who have had over 10 years of experience as K9 handlers. Some of these men have been very successful raising their dogs and getting them on the street, while others had problems developing pups. These were dogs that in my opinion had the genetic ability and drives for this work.
One of the biggest problems I see is the lack of patience to wait for young dogs to grow up and mature. Officers seem to develop a "time table" in their mind. They want the pup ready by a certain age and if a dog is a slow developer and it's maturity does not correspond with that "time table" the officers try and push the envelope. This is when problems develop.
Then there is the possibility of the officer doing everything right and a problem develops that result in the dog not having the temperament or drive to become a service dog. This comes under the category of "shit happens." The officers must be prepared to sell the dog and move on to another dog. This can become very frustrating if you are the unlucky officer to go through 3 pups before you end up with a nice dog.
From a breeders standpoint I am often asked if I guarantee the temperament of my dogs. The answer is a very quick "NO - NEVER!" I back the statement up with the knowledge that I can give a lot of people the best dog I can possibly produce and they will still screw it up. I can not come close to remembering how many times I have seen this happen.
In addition to developing a puppies training and socializing there are also health concerns about raising pups. It would be nice if every pup grew up to become the perfect specimen of a dog but this is a pipe dream. Even though every dog 5 or 6 generations back in a pedigree has good hips, a pup with that pedigree can still develop hip or elbow dysphasia. So doing preliminary x-rays is imperative. But even if they are done at 8 or 10 months, there has been a lot of work and money put into the dog only to be faced with replacing it.
With all of this said, with a little luck buying a pup from a reputable breeder whose bloodlines have the potential to produce service dogs is a much much cheaper than buying a selection tested dog. Often times it's about 20% of the cost. With luck if an officer is prepared to make the effort to do the work during the first 14 to 24 months of a dogs life they can end up with a very nice dog.
What is your opinion on Bark & Hold vs. Bite & Hold?
This is a very controversial subject in law enforcement canine circles. Everyone has an opinion and no matter what side you fall on you are going to get an argument from someone.
1- The vast majority of people who promote "Find and Bite" do so because they do not know how to properly train a "bark & hold dog (B&H)." - Strictly my opinion. I also feel they do so because they do not understand the concept of B&H. They can offer all the reasons they want for "Find and Bite, the bottom line is that it is much much easier to train.
2- Bark & Hold is a much safer method of using a dog for the officer. Too often a find and bite dog is sent to apprehend a subject and that subject is out of sight. The dog locates the guy and bites. Unless the bad guy starts screaming, the cop doesn't know that the dog has located anyone.
I was at a K9 seminar last week and the officers discussed a case where a dog bit a suspect and the bad guy bit through his lip to stop from screaming. The cop did not know the dog was on the guy and he called the dog back to him. The dog released and went back to the officer. The bad guy was caught when he went to the hospital for dog bite. It could just as easily have ended with a dead officer.
I would like to say that a B&H dog must also be able to be told to bite on command. This means he must bite a standing still man and a man that's laying down with his hands under him and not moving.
3- A find and bite dog is also limited in its application. An officer has to be very careful in how he deploys a "find and bite" dog. Granted the certification for "find and bite" requires a "call back" after the dog is sent. But its difficult to call a dog back from something you can not see. A dog only needs to be searching a back yard for a suspect and go around a corner as a home owner steps out to have a potential dog bite on a civilian.
F&B is the easiest to train as a young dog. Some officers inherit older dogs that are already "find and bite" dogs. It can be very difficult to switch these dogs over to B&H. I know because I have a find and bite dog (OTIS) who took a calf muscle and tendons off the leg of the last guy he bit (a burglar in a building who hit him in the head with a pipe) While I do not look at a dog as deadly force, I am very very careful about what type of incident I can get him out on. God forbid a mistake would happen and this dog bites a civilian.
Blackie, a 5 yr old German Shp/Belg Mal mix military working dog (MWD) has sever aggression towards firearms.
Blackie will stay in the heel or down position while the agitator or handler fires the firearm (.38 or 5.76) with little reaction (minor whining) but intense focus on the shooter.
When the handler finishes and lowers the firearm he breaks his position and attacks the firearm. He has not shown aggression toward the handler only the firearm (with near misses of the handlers hand being eaten in the process)
We have him on a prong collar and have corrected away from the firearm. He will sit with his whole attention on the firearm. You can watch as his frustration builds (he begins to salivate and his whole body begins to shake) and he eventually breaks and attacks the gun again (the gun is laying on the ground inanimate at this time).
We have moved him into a back tie with a prong. Laid the gun on the ground and waited for his reaction. His frustration build and he breaks to attack the gun. Corrections were given and he returned to a sit position. Focus remained on the firearm. He again broke and attacked. Blackie reached the point that he would rather endure the correction to go after the gun.
The current plan is to lay out several guns in the training yard. Blackie is brought into the training yard and we do basic obedience. When he notices the firearms I am to maintain his focus on obedience. Hopefully he will realize the firearms are not a threat and he will learn to ignore them.
When I first picked up Blackie as a handler, I could not even sling my GAU over my shoulder. He would see the butt swing out from my right side and move to attack the weapon. I now can wear my GAU but I have to be very careful (eyes on my dog rather than the intended threat) deploying it to a ready or firing position.
I think he was pushed through firearm training to soon and fast while he was in school. If a dog is pushed in training to early or to fast is this problem fixable? Currently e-collar training is not an option.
Any new suggestions would be helpful.
I have seen dogs like this. I even have one doing it in my video “Tactical Training for Police Service Dogs.” This problem is the same as a dog that is badly locked in prey. It was caused by bad training and its going to require some pain and many many repetition to s fix the problem.
Assuming you cannot use an electric collar as you wrote in your post.
Also assuming that this dog is a tough dog in the bite work with the appropriate drives. (Usually dogs that do this are tough.)
Start with the helper close in front of you with a sleeve and a whip or stick. If the dog OUTS well use a suit - the suit is just a big prey item for the dog. If the dog has an OUT problem use a sleeve. This is not a time to correct the OUT. You only fix one problem at a time and a sleeve can be slipped.
With the helper close (4 or 5 feet away) fire a round and when the dog gets aggressive towards the gun the helper steps closer and REALLY CRACKS the dog hard with the stick - really hard. The goal is to administer PAIN from the front not from the handler and not from a prong collar.
The original goal of gunfire work is to teach the dog that a gun shot indicates an immediate threat out front. The dog must learn the attack comes from that direction. So we are going back to basics and showing him that a real threat and a real ATTACK does come from the front directly after the gunshot. The dog must be taught that the attack is a serious issue that is going to hurt if he does not deal with it.
When you do this work the helper ALWAYS attacks at the gunshot. Even if the dog does not go after the gun.
The fight does not have to be long. The goal is not to fight the dog - the goal is to teach the dog when and where the attack comes from. Fighting too long just tires the dog out quicker which results in less repetitions. In fact be careful of not doing this to the point of exhaustion on the dog. That’s not good training.
If the dog continues to attack the gun then the pain was not high enough in the attack.
When the dog realizes what the training is all about then start to move the helper back away from you in increments. If the dog goes back on the handler the helper immediately comes up and hits the dog - even if the dog turns and comes on the helper before he gets there he still gets hit hard - this is like an automatic correction. The dog must learn that he has to focus on the real threat which is the bad guy out in front and not the handlers gun going off.
Doing the work this way eliminates the handler having to do any correction at all.
You should work towards having the final step be the helper 100 yards away and out of sight. This is going to take some time and a lot of repeating. Remember that it takes a dog 30 times to learn an exercise and 90 to 100 times to correct a problem and make him unlearn a problem. So your work is cut out for you here.
A point to be made is that when the dog is doing this correctly. When you fire and he alerts foreword and you send him – there need not be a stick hit. The dog can learn that if he attacks fast enough he eliminates the pain.
At any time if the dog reverts back to attacking the handler and gun then the helper comes right back in close and administers pain. This reminds the dog what the threat really is. Under this circumstance even if the dog comes off the handler and bites the helper as he closes in he still gets hit.
And for all the PETA ass holes out that that want to cry and piss and moan about causing this dog pain – all I can say is you need to be drafted into the army (because you would never enlist) and be sent to Iraq – get in a gun-fight where you pray to your mama that you live to see her again. Then in the middle of the gun-fight when you finally have the guts to fire your weapon you need to have your dog attack you. That’s how you learn the error of your ways and the need for good solid dog training.
Allow me a little of your time. I am a K9 handler with the Pittsburgh police department, up here in Pittsburgh, PA (Go Steelers). I started working with dogs in the army in 1976 . I have 15 years experience as a police handler. First off , I want to say, I enjoy your videos ,and have even purchased a few. I am currently on your mailing list. I dont always agree with you, but always find your videos, and articles, top quality and interesting/thought provoking. I especially enjoy your sarcasm and humor.
What I am writing you about, is to get your opinion on a couple of issues that really stick in my craw. The first has to do with NAPWDA. They are very big up here in western PA .While I believe their original intentions were good and honorable, what I see now are people who just want to say they are "master" trainers so they can make a buck or two. People who are masters only of seminars and workshops, but have little or, no actual street experience. My department is not the biggest around, we are 1200 strong with a 28 team K9 unit, but we get plenty of work. I believe training HAS to be mixed with practical application.
Second, there are no state standards in PA concerning police work dog teams. Therefore, any schutzhund trainer can make friends with an officer from a four or five man department and sell and train them a "police dog " while I easily admit the superior skills in some areas of dog training that allot of civilians have, I am a big advocate dog police training being done by POLICE. Especially narcotics training.
I am seeing civilians associated with NAPWDA selling Sch. dogs as police dogs, and people who train in schutzhund convince these small departments that is the way to go. I feel this is only going to hurt all of us in the long run. A training school in the middle of our state , run by a "master " trainer offers green handlers a complete course in THREE weeks with the end results being they are trained handlers with street ready , dual purpose, police service dogs! Our housing police just sent three of their officers to this trainer. I saw the dogs when they got back. All were sch. 1, and all never saw a bite suit and all three have already run into problems! Anyway, I rambled on a bit, if you get time in your busy schedule, let me know what you think about civilians training police service dogs and "master" trainers.
I agree with almost everything you have said in your email. I have your email in my web site because I do think this issue needs to be addressed by more departments.
I would like to qualify the fact that while I am a member of NAPWDA I do not follow the politics of the organization so I am not familiar with any Master Trainers that sell dogs or give seminars.
We have a police K9 assoc. here in WI. (Wisconsin Law Enforcement Handlers Assoc or WLECHA). This org. is well represented in the state. We have 90 out of 110 K9 handlers as members. For a number of years I have tried to talk the org. into setting up a state standard for certification. The board has been reluctant to do so. I believe the reason is they are concerned about liability (which is a lame excuse) and I think they are concerned that they will be forced to train their dogs to a higher level than they are now trained.
My argument has always been that if we do not step to the line and set our standards the State Standards and Training will do it for us. This will in effect result in something being designed by people (probably civilians) who are unqualified to do this.
This past year the Controlled Substances Board for the State of WI made issuing a license for drug dog handler conditional to being a member of NADWDA or USPCA. They somehow forgot to include our State Organization. So we already see an outside influence beginning to happen. We have enlisted the help of the Wi Sheriff's Assoc. (my sheriff is the president) to insist that they also include WLECHA.
So I use my own state as an example of how civilians can influence police K9 handlers in unproductive ways.
I certainly agree with you that Schutzhund trainers have little to no place in trying to train and sell police service dogs.
If a local schutzhund club was smart they would try and gain support of the local K9 officers. This could be done by volunteering to run tracks for the handlers, the sch helpers can usually function as a decent decoy for muzzle work. Things like this would help foster a relationship with local K9 handlers. When that happens you will see more k9 handler become interested in sport dog training. They in turn would point local civilians interested in dog work towards the schutzhund clubs. It's a win win situation for both parties.
This issue of civilians offering 3 week courses for dual purpose police dogs is ludicrous. Any department that buys into a program like this is setting themselves up for a law suit and a failed K9 program. I would seriously doubt that the people who do this are very good schutzhund trainers. They certainly are scam artist. Schutzhund training is a sport. In NO WAY does it even come close to qualifying a trainer as a police service dog instructor. The people who do this not only hurt K9 programs they also hurt the image of Schutzhund in this country.
My patrol dog will down next to me, however, when I try to down him from a distance (like down a long hallway or while recall or when he's a few feet from me etc.) he runs to my side and just looks at me like a big kid and at times barks at me. He's never liked to down since I got him. It took good hard corrections to get him to lay down for me (when I first got him 7 months ago). Again its only a problem when he's in drive and searching away from me. If you get a chance to give a little more advice I would appreciate it. Thanks a million again for the other advice. P.S. When at home he is the COMPLETE OPPOSITE, he's totally relaxed and submissive to my every whim and shows total submission to me. The problems start when we leave the house and begin our shift (GO FIGURE).
There are a lot of options to reinforce the down. I will just pass on a couple that I use on my police dog (who can have a tendency to do the same thing).
To most dogs, the down is a submissive posture. Thats why you had a problem getting the dog to down when you first got him. I usually wait until I have had a dog for awhile and the bonding is good before I put any force into a down. Trying to force the wrong dog into a down is a good way to get bit. (I understand this is not a problem with your dog - I just mention it for other new K9 handlers that read this.)
Teaching the dog to down "FOR YOU" (even though he already knows the command) is important. I begin with food or a toy and do it motivationally. I will always use motivation to begin the training. Do it in a situation where the dog is comfortable with - your back yard. Motivation can be built through the "2 ball game."
With patrol dogs I will use a long line and an electric collar on low level stimulation. The dog must have gone through the conditioning phase of the electric collar (which is to detailed for this question). The concept is to teach the dog that if he downs he gets a bite. Once he understands that its expanded to "if he downs and then comes back to heel - he then gets a bite."
I will begin in a training area the dog is used to (less distractions). The helper does not stimulate the dog a lot (he will be high enough in drive by just seeing the helper) and after the bite the fight is kept to a minimum. The idea is not to fight and tire the dog but to force him to think.
The dog comes into the training area with the collar and long line on. He is expected to heel and be under control. With a minimum of helper stimulation (to keep drive low) he is sent towards the helper. When the dog is 30 to 40 feet from the helper the dog is "DOWNED." This spot is pre-determined to be at the end of the long line. If the dog does not down he hits the end of the line. He is also given collar stimulation before the command. When he downs the stimulation stops. When the dog gives 3 or 4 barks he is immediately given the bite command.
If the dog turns to come back to the handler after hitting the end of the leash, the helper stimulates the dog to get his attention and the process starts all over. The dog that wants to return is played like a fish until he downs and is focused on the helper. Again, 3 or 4 barks and he is given a bite.
When the dog begins to understand that "HE MUST DOWN" - then the helper stimulation is increased to raise the distraction level. The dog can also be expected to bark a little longer when you get to this point (just don't over do it and every once in awhile - let him have a bite after 2 or 3 barks.) The dog is still attached to a long line through all of this work.
When I am satisfied with this, then its time to introduce the "RECALL." The exercise is the same except that the dog is called back to the handler before he is sent in for the bite. The key to this training is to IMMEDIATELY send the dog to bite as soon as he gets back to the handler. The dog then learns that "if I bust my butt to get back quickly I get my bite."
This process will result in a dog that will drop on a dime and recall with speed. It also produces a bark and hold from 30 to 40 feet from the suspect. This accomplished 2 things:
- The dog is far enough away from the suspect that he is less likely to take a cheap shot and bite when he is not supposed to.
- By keeping a real high drive dog further back, he is always under more control than when he is doing a B&H from 2 or 3 feet away from the suspect.
- Often when a dog is right on top of a suspect doing a B&H the suspect is so scared he can not think. I think anyone ever in that position would agree. When the dog is off leash 30 to 40 feet away barking like hell - he is just as intimidating but not as threatening.
- The first part of this training is always done on a training field. When the dog is solid there then the training is moved out on the street to various places. While the long line will be removed, I don't feel the collar should ever be taken off. When I get a call out (even for a narcotics search) the collar goes on my dog. He knows that he has to get it on before he gets into the truck.
Electric collars are becoming one of the most important training tools available to K9 handlers.
My Sheriff Dept. is considering starting a auxiliary K-9 unit to be staffed by some reserve officers, to be spread into the county areas to assist the regular K-9 unit. Because the reserve officers are routinely called out to back up the zone officers we feel this will greatly enhance our k 9 dept since our k9 unit also work regular zones and not strictly k9. The Sheriff wants the dogs to do tracking and narcotics search and not really specialize in "bite," what type of dogs should we look for and should we look at green or pre trained, pups or adults. Any insight you can offer will GREATLY be appreciated. Your information at your sight has been exceptional. Thanks Again!!!!
I have a lot of experience in this are because this is how I began my police K9 work in 1990.
To begin with the sheriff needs to be very selective in who he allows to work a dog. The people he selects need to go through a screening process just like regular K9 Officers. At the minimum, the reserves need to be state certified police officers. They should be good athletes and mature sensible thinkers. It is a rare person who would be chosen for this program that has not been a reserve officer for several years.
I agree with the sheriff, in the beginning the dogs should be tracking and narcotic - not patrol dogs. A reserve officer should be forced to prove his ability as a trainer and handler in these areas before he is trusted with a biting dog. The sheriff would not consider putting a new reserve officer on his swat team, in the same breath he should not consider a reserve officer for a patrol dog handler until this individual has a couple of years of experience working dogs in narcotics and tracking.
The question of the best way to start will depend on the funds available. In most cases money is short and an issue. If this is the case starting with a pup is a great way to go. A pup is going to cost about $1,200.00 by the time its delivered and a selection tested narcotics tracking dog (one that I would be willing to work) is going to cost $3,500.00 to $4.500.00.
I am becoming more and more of a believer in starting tracking at a very young age. If pups are started at 8 weeks and tracked a lot - they grow up tracking. Its like we imprint the nose work into the dogs. This also goes with the narcotics work. I am a big fan of starting young. I am adamantly against using puppies (i e 6 months to 13 months) to obtain search warrants or to be used for "probable cause" to enter a vehicle. I have written a number of articles on this subject. But if a warrant is obtained without the dog, or a vehicle search is a voluntary search then by all means use the pup to help find the dope (if there is any).
If a pup is purchased for this reason, I would be doing preliminary x-rays at 6 months of age. If there is any question on the hips I would send the x-rays to the OFA and do another x-ray at 9 months. Too much work goes into a pup to wait until it is 24 months old to x-ray for the OFA. If there is a problem, get rid of the dog and start again.
By starting with an older dog your program should be able to have a dog ready to work in 3 or 4 months (with hard work). There is a lot to be said for having a dog ready in that period of time Vs. starting with a pup and not having a fully functional dog for 12 to 15 months.
The dog I started with in 1990 was a female black lab (Gabby) that I got from the dog pound. To be frank - I lucked out. She came from field trial hunting stock and there has not been another dog through our pound since then with this kind of drive. She was strictly a narcotics dog. Over the years she helped seize over $250,000.00 in cash and a bunch of dope. The dog I am working now is a German Shepherd (Otis). The lab was a great drug dog and super for PR. But if you work high crime areas a GSD would be my first choice. Getting Otis out has a settling effect on gang members and unruly people.
Mr. Frawley, my name is Richard. I have a two year old rottweiler who is being considered for police work. Myself and my K-9 have been through a patrol course and a narcotics course. My K-9 Rocco has done rather well for a rottweiler, from what I hear.
The problem I have is with off lead obedience. I can recall, have him sit and down voice and hand signals, and put him in a stay. He does these commands quite well, however when I try to get him to heel he shuts down. He'll just stay there.
This all started over his aggression towards me when I had him on lead, during correction with the pinch collar he would growl. I was instructed to muzzle him and alpha roll him if need be, or if he would not do as commanded off lead. I was supposed to show him who's the boss. After repeated attempts off lead, I muzzled him and alpha rolled him. I don't know if I traumatized him, over loaded him (due to his age and immaturity), or should I have tried another method. I have even tried food to entice him to heal, with little improvement.
Rocco is a good K-9 and I believe will make a very good candidate for police work. I would however like to master the off lead obedience. Any thoughts, articles or recommendations would be greatly appreciated. Thanking you in advance for your time and consideration.
P.S. I thought your tape on tracking RCMP #1 was fantastic, a world of information.
This is one of those questions that is always better to see the problem before commenting, but I will take a shot with a few options.
Some dogs can be more stubborn than others, but they all have to go through the same 3 phases of dog training:
- The Learning Phase
- The Correction Phase
- The Distraction Phase
Your dog has never made it to the distraction phase. So we must begin by making 100% sure that he knows what heel means. For a police dog, that simply means stay by my side when I am walking. It doesn't have to walk perfectly even with your knee while it looks into your face - it just means stay by my side. You are going to have to make up your mind that your dog knows what is expected when you give the heel command.
If he does and refuses like you say, and food and prong collars have no effect I would go to LOW LEVEL electric collar work. For all those that read this that have never experienced LOW LEVEL electric collar training, do not turn up your noses. It is wonderful in many training situations.
The best collars on the market are the Tri Tronic's collars. Their 500 series is the best that you can get, if you can not afford this then you should consider the Companion model.
Let me start by explaining that the training on my current stud dog was done with HIGH LEVEL collar work. To get him to OUT they tried 2 collars at level 5. This only pissed the dog off and sent him into fight drive. He would not OUT - he just fought harder - because he was pissed about being hurt. I currently work him with one collar on "Level 2."
The concept is to put one of these collars on and find the level of stimulation that just causes the dog to turn his head. If he yelps or growls you are way too high. That s why you always start on level one. When you find the head turn, thats the level to start training.
Put your dog on leash, take him for a walk, when he is walking along, you do an about turn and stimulate the dog (Shock him - although its not really a shock at this level - it just tingles a little) and say HEEL. When the dog comes near your side - you release the stimulation.
This work is done 2 or 3 times a day for several weeks. The dog basically learns how to turn the collar off by getting by your side. Initially we don't expect precision, but as time goes by we will expect tighter and tighter about turns (after several weeks).
This work is all done on a long line or a leash. Also, when you get to the point of reinforcing a tighter turn, you don't give continuous stimulation, you just bump the button. With experience you will find that the "BUMP" is a great little training tool to show the dog that you can still reach out and touch him.
My Otis was so crazy for a tug toy that I had to physically choke him with his collar to get him to release the tug toy. Now after 2 months of low level collar work (used in conjunction with the 2 toy retrieval game) he will return a tossed toy to the heel position and release it like a damned black lab hunting dog (puts a tear in my eye to see him do this - its so pretty!!!)
If you can not find these collars locally, we just started to sell them. They are great.
A friend of mine has a 2 year old shepherd that is stuck in prey drive. He bites nice and full but just doesnt have the fight. He has always been worked in prey, would you suggest trying defense on him and trying to get him more serious?
Thank you in advance,
If your friend intends to do more than sport work it MUST be worked in defense. Point him toward the tape I have done titled The First Steps of Defense.
It may be too late for the dog. Once they are stuck in prey many can be brought into defense by the right conditions and the right helper. But they are so locked in prey that defense becomes and environmental attitude, and not a working attitude, (you need to think about exactly what I am saying here to understand it).
I have a question that you might be able to help me with. My name is Sgt. Brian Rudick and I am the K9 Unit Supervisor for the Hartsville Police Department, (SC). We have two crossed trained (partol/narcotics) GSD. One of our dogs goes nuts when he hears fireworks. Our dogs have received training around gunfire and the dog in question responds just as you would expect. At certain times of year when the general public likes to use fireworks (Christmas, New Years, and the 4th of July) he becomes very agitated. Every time he hears them he manages to escape his pen. We thought that it might be that he wanted to find his handler and make sure he was safe. But this past 4th of July the handler was off duty, standing beside the pen and the dog got out anyway. He has even injured himself several times doing so. We have done almost everything I can think of to the pen to make it escape proof, but that is treating the symptom and not the disease. Any ideas? Thanks in advance.
I know what you are talking about. I have a dog like this.
The way I deal with it is to take the dog in the house and crate him during these times. That's the easiest solution - put him in a position where he can not hear them.
Show the dog a prey item (i.e. tug toy or ball) and even play a quick game of tug with him then put it at the end of the training field. Go to the other end and make the dog down for a minute before giving a release command and he can go an get the toy and play tug. Gradually work this up to a 5 minute Down before the gets his tug - sometimes 5 minutes - sometimes 15 seconds - he never knows how long. If he breaks the down he gets strong corrections (have him drag a long line when down. Throughout this process there is no fireworks.
When you feel the dog is sound in the down and understands that he will get his tug when he is released then its time to add fireworks (be standing on the rope at the time. Start with small fireworks at the other end of the field (away from the tug) Initially the handler is next to the dog and giving a down command as the sound goes off - a lot of praise - if the dog stays he is released and gets his tug.
Gradually move the handler away from the dog (to the end of the 30' drag line - (standing on it) - increase the down time before the fireworks go off and increase the size of the bang. But always vary the time of the down - short once then 3 long downs - then 3 short and one long down etc.
Finally take the long line off and replace with an electric collar. This is a lot of work for a dog that is exposed to this 3 or 4 times a year. It's easier to put the dog away. The mistake that people make is try and solve this problem with force alone - this kills the temperament of the dog - and the drive. So the tug is an important addition.
I wasn't able to find where you may have addressed this question on your web page, but I may have missed it. Anyway, I'm training a puppy for police work and someone asked me if I had or will sensitize my dog for pepper spray. It got me thinking (yes, this is a dangerous thing) and this makes a lot of sense to me. During the course of my duties I've pepper sprayed many dogs (even a horse one time - it doesn't do anything to them! It was trying to eat my leather duty gear!!) with varying results. Usually it works pretty good. It will usually at least make them wary of me and leave me alone so I can conduct my business. Some dogs I've sprayed has had a profound and lasting effect on them. It seems I go to the same residences over and over again and with some of these dogs all I have to do is take out the can and they vacate the premises rather quickly.
I think this is something that I should do with my dog when she gets a little older - she is six months old now. What do you think about this and how should I go about this? It seems to me that if I sprayed her kennel floor to start with and worked up to full facial sprays, this would work okay. I could observe how she reacts to it and proceed from there. I certainly don't want to make her afraid of "the can" and I think with a little patience and sensibility it should work out okay.
I was wondering how you would go about sensitize a dog to pepper spray.
I would not ever try to sensitize my dog to pepper spray. I have worked a K-9 for 9 years and never had the need to worry about this. It doesnt make sense to risk the avoidance you will cause if your dog is sensitive to this.
If you feel like you have to do it anyway, what you are talking about is not the best way.
Wait until the dog is mature. Then spray a mist and have the dog run through it (from a distance) on the way to take a bite. Then the dog is exposed in high drive. It goes in and comes through it quickly.
I would never work to a point where it gets a full face spray, especially from you. You will destroy your bond with the dog.
My name is Nick I am a handler from a NJ Police Department. I've been working with my partner on the street for about a year and a half; we have been working together since 99. I would describe myself as a typical new police handler, I've made my share of success and I've learned lessons the hard way. All in all, I love what I'm doing, and I learn something new everyday as well at training.
My partner is a 3 1/2 year Czech import, cross-trained patrol/narcotics. In patrol school, we trained for recalls the same way, everyday, no matter how the dogs responded. Agitation collar on parachute cord until the dog responded to the recall. My dog never got yanked back on the line, he responded to the recall. As soon as we removed the line, the dog would always break. We tried the tricks (not clicking the snap, laying a second line alongside him etc.) The dog would always know he was free. We didn't use shock collars and most of the people I train with do not advocate the use (honestly I wouldn't want to use it if it wasn't used correctly and only by a experienced trainer.)
I re enforce obedience constantly; my dog responds great except under the set up "training scenarios" on the field, other police dogs around etc. I do training with other handlers in "real life" situations, motor vehicle stops / arrest situations the dog recalls great.
I hope I have explained the problem well (remember, I am a new handler!) Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated, as well as which video could help me.
Your problem is a common one and I have to say that the way that you are trying to solve the problem is a common (although ineffective one). I am not a fan of this method. As you have found out - it usually does not work.
I prefer to use a different method. I am currently editing a training video titled training the directed search. This tape will include the recall. Here are the basic training steps:
1- With the helper standing in the open field - put the dog in a down position. You move about 10 yards behind the dog, and call the dog back to you. The helper does not stimulate the dog until the dog gets back to you. As soon (I mean instantly) as the dog gets to your side you give the bite command. The helper moves and stimulates the dog. (This is not a bark and hold exercise).
2- Gradually move further back until you are calling the dog back about 30 yards. Every time the dog gets to you he is immediately sent for a bite.
3- If the dog breaks and goes to the helper, rather than come to you, RUSH the dog screaming your bleeding head off. Pick him up (screaming NO, NO, NO, NO !!!) and as you drag him back to where he was down - you scream at him like a crazy man. Make him think you are NUTS! Then the second time only call the dog back 10 yard and then if he comes back he again is immediately is sent for a bite.
4- When the dog will consistently do this. You put the dog in a DOWN and move to the other side of the helper - so the dog has to run past the helper and come to you. As soon as he gets to you he is sent for a bite. The first few times its not necessary to have the dog run past the helper, he can run at a 45 degree angle in front of the helper. It's a little less tempting for the dog.
5- Now when the dog does all of this you can start the recall. Send the dog after the helper and call him back when he is only 10 yard from you and maybe 30 or 40 yards from the helper. If you have to use a long line to remind him do it. The instant he gets back he is sent for a bite.
6- If the dog breaks the recall - you run to him screaming NO, NO, NO!!! like a crazy man. Drag him back. Put him in a down - move 10 yards back, call him and send him. The goal is for him to realize that all he has to do is run to you and he will get a bite so its not worth the hassle of you acting like a crazy man when he does not mind.
7- As training progresses you should be able to put the dog in a DOWN 10 feet from the helper and call him back 30 yards and send him for a bite. When he does that you should be able to send the dog and call him back when the dog is close to the helper.
These are some big steps, but you should be able to get the idea of how to do this. I hope this helps. Keep an eye on the web site for this tape - it will help you.
We have a New Hope Borough officer who has been in K-9 training in Bucks County, PA for drug detection. The program is reimbursed by the County (drug forfeiture funds). The dog completed his training, and goes for monthly refresher courses.
Our borough Council has yet to approve the dog for active drug detection, citing that they have found that there can be serious "liability problems" with having a K-9 program. No further explanation is given.
There are many citizens who feel that a K-9 program would be a great asset in this resort town, since there have been several recent deaths among young people in the area - directly related to drugs.
What is your opinion of "liability problems," or do you have any reference material relating to liability?
If a dog and handler are properly trained there is zero liability to a narcotics K9 program. What liability can there be to a non-biting dog? This is drug work not bite work.
If the dog is trained in handler protection, then you had better make sure the training is good and the dog is under control at all times. It should be able to do RECALLS under heavy distraction (in front of a helper that is stimulating the dog). If it can do this you need to do a demonstration for the council to show the control of the dog. There is almost no liability to a well run K-9 program.
The council needs to understand that a patrol dog is only going to be used in felony situations.
The bottom line is that if your handler had the correct training you would not be asking me these questions because the people training him would know how to approach this problem. So your program is already flawed. This comes under the category of BE CAREFUL OF WHAT YOU ASK FOR IT MAY COME TRUE! If you start this program with poor training it will fail and I guess the council is then right.
I am a canine handler in a large metropolitan police agency. My patrol dog is a 4 yr old Malinois from Holland. The dog is a complex one to say the least. He is extremely high drive during training, very civil and willing to engage humans absent any equipment, however during real deployments his drive level drops, especially during yard-to-yard searches. In our part of the country (Southern California) we do not practice tracking and air scent from yard to yard. The environment we search in is frequently in the inner city and the yards often have 3-5 dogs, chickens, cats and abandoned cars in them, not to mention people living in shacks in every yard.
During training my patrol dog performs without flaw, high drive, eagerly searching and biting very hard. His drive during training is almost off the scale, quite different than during real deployments. Outside of work he is social, but dominant, not too energetic, independent, and rarely ever carries the look of a happy go lucky dog. His body language expresses concern and a sense of being deliberate whenever he is on a break just being a dog, to be honest he looks tired all of the time. I thought this may be a medical problem, but blood work and all the tests say nothing is wrong.
During real deployments he frequently begins smelling the ground and his activity level drops, I have to tell him to search 3-5 times in each yard. He does not appear to be actively searching for human scent during deployments, but is more interested in other things like cat shit and dog piss during the search. He frequently quits ranging and just begins to sniff the ground. I am not over correcting him during deployments and frequently reward him with bite work during the searches but nothing seems to remedy the situation. He has found persons during searches and has had several bites in the field. His willingness to bite a suspect is never in question, but his willingness to find them is. I realize that he is just a dog and that his natural instincts play a role even during real searches but it is becoming a safety issue.
This dog was handled in the field for about 1 1/2 years by another handler prior to me handling him. I spoke with the prior handler who told me that the dog was just a slow methodical searcher. Apparently the dog displayed the same behavior with him also.
I need to find a way to re stimulate the dogs interest in searching, traditional methods of rewarding him with bite work during the searches has not worked. If you have any suggestions please let me know. I appreciate your time and suggestions. Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
You are not going to be able to change this dog (only my opinion). This is a character fault that is not going to be fixed. The dog is probably a dog that is high in civil drive but lacks fight drive. His interest in animal orders is genetic. He may not fight other dogs because of the handler control but he would like to.
If I were you I would be looking for another dog. Sorry to have to say this but you need to be very careful with this dog - he could get you killed when he is screwing around with these animal odors.
I am a police K9 handler and trainer in Fl. I am a big fan of your site and your videos. I have been involved in police K9 for 6 years, and have prior Schutzhund experience. I have been handling a very tough german shepherd for the last three years. He has very high drives and is very hard. He was almost washed out of patrol school because the trainers at the time though he would be too uncontrollable and un-trainable (one of those dogs that would break choke chains and not even flinch under a level 10 prong collar correction).
Anyway, with a lot of effort and the use of a remote training collar (using the low level, continuous stimulation "escape" method) The dog was brought to understand what we wanted of him, and has become one of the most controlled easy to work patrol dogs. The dog is very obedient, OFF LEAD, but when he gets hooked on lead, he tries to forge when heeling and pulls all over the place. He doesn't respond to collar corrections, so I end up flailing around for the e-collar transmitter as he pulls. If I unsnap the lead, he hits the brakes and goes back into a perfect heel.
I would just keep him off lead all of the time, but due to, ummmm... "political" reasons, I have to hook him up sometimes. Any suggestions?
I really appreciate your time, sorry about the lengthy letter, but I wanted you to be able to understand the whole situation.
- Ofc. Brian
This sounds like one of those dogs that are never out without a collar on. I am no longer a fan of the ESCAPE METHOD of e-collar work. In its time this was an acceptable way to train certain dogs certain things but not police dogs. I think the dog must know where the shock comes from which is the handler This means the dog is never given a shock until just after the handler tells him NO. When the dog learns that the shock comes from the handler then he looks to the handler as a god someone who has complete control over him at all times.
This applies to protection work and obedience work. In your case it would and should be used with the dog on a prong collar. When told to heel the dog is commanded to HEEL (in a normal voice) 3 hard quick jerks with the prong collar and then stimulation from the collar (not the highest level you will have to experiment to find the right level that does not shut the dog down).
When using a leash correction there are two ways to use it:
1- Three hard quick jerks which builds drive and turns on the dogs nerves to make him react in heeling this makes him look to you and pay attention.
2- One hard jerk which takes drive out of the dog and makes him compliant. The one jerk method is used in the DOWN, SIT, and OUT and be silent.
In this case the dog will learn that the shock always comes from the handler if its given after or during a leash correction. When that happens it will start to pay better attention when worked on leash.
I'm having problems stimulating my current work dog on "passive attack." Once the stimulus is there no problem, just he does not seem to understand that "command" means action before the stimulus from the perp. Any thoughts that may help on this?
Training passive suspect is not a big problem when its done properly.
It begins with the basics of biting on command. This goes back to working with young dogs biting on a tug on a cord and/or ball on a string. I have a new video titled Building Drive Focus and Grip with Bernhard Flinks. I show the first stages of it in this tape.
I go into a lot of detail on passive suspects in my Building Search video. You can put your dog on a tie out - have the helper approach and lie down - just out of reach of the helper. If the dog needs it he can stimulate him and then lay down. Then release your dog (on leash) and let him take a bite. It does not take long for the dg to be brought to a training spot and finds a suspect lying down and he will bite the suspect. Then the locations are changed. There are a number of additional training steps that can be used.
I'm a deputy in a small town in Kansas. Just this last week we found a suspect under a trailer house. The K-9 failed to bark and hold on command on a passive suspect. He recalled on command but made me feel unsure of if I sent him to bite if he would. Any suggestions? I am doing muzzle with Tom at this time.
Haskell County S. O.
Dont feel bad this is not that uncommon.
Lets assume that you have a proper selection tested dog (maybe you dont but I will assume the dogs nature is correct).
A dog needs to be trained to engage passive suspects. I go into detail on this in my training video on Building Searches, (I recommend that you get it). I would like to be able to explain everything in this tape in an email but I cannot.
The training is started in a bite suit, though. The dog is back tied and the helper comes up stimulates then lays down flat on the ground the dog gets a chance to bite this progresses through training steps to the point where the helper is laying down when the dog is brought in to engage him. This is all done on a training field. When the dog is perfect on the field he can be moved from location to location.
The B&H is too much to talk about in a email. I have a video on that too.
I have a three year old black German Shepherd. He came from Belgium Germany to a trainer in the states. I am a new handler and have been assigned this K-9 for about a year. He has a excellent temperament and does great in bite training. He shows no sign of any fear during training and has a good bite.
The problem I have been experiencing is during real life scenarios on the street. During one instance I was backing up a fellow officer in the middle of the roadway taking a person into custody who was resisting arrest and trying to flee. I exited my patrol unit with K-9 and approached the suspect.At this point I had decided to down my K-9 on the road and make physical contact with the suspect to place under arrest. As I took hold of the suspect and wrestled him to the ground my K-9 got up and ran away with his tail between his legs. He ran in circles around us as I commanded his to come to me with no success. He then seen the patrol car door was still open and fled to the car and got inside and stayed there. During this I'm calling him to return and also trying to handcuff and fight the suspect at the same time.
This made me very frustrated with him and I'm not sure what to do with him.(more training or take him out of service)We paid $8,000.00 for him and I am very attached to him and would like to keep him and correct the problem. Is this a correctable problem? Would should I do? Any advise would be GREATLY appreciated .Thanks.
Well this certainly does not sound good.
While it could be a training issue it sounds like it may be a selection testing problem.
Without knowing anything about this (other than what you have written here) it would only be speculation to guess at what is going on. I know one thing – I would start by talking to the vendor that sold you the dog. Then I would be setting up different real life scenarios and testing the dog to see how he does. Your training has not been good. If it were you would not be learning things like this on the street when the shit hits the fan. This is something that should have come up in training.
While training may help – it will not make up for weak genetics.
I understand that people become emotionally attached to their dogs but unfortunately if your dog cannot do the job it has to go be a pet or a sport dog someplace. Your life may depend on this someday.
We have a police dog in our small town. My question is: Every time the police car drives around the corner of the intersection or is waiting for the red light to change the police dog is barking furiously at cars or people around him. Also we walk our two little dogs. One day the police car was parked across the street from where we were walking and the police dog started barking aggressively. Is this proper behavior in any of the cases?
Yes a lot of dogs do this. Barking does not hurt anything – biting hurts. As long as the dog is confined and secure then the only problem is that the officer may get sick of the barking. I know I did not like it.
But do not forget this saying that K9 handlers tell each other “WHEN PEOPLE NEED HELP THEY CALL THE POLICE – WHEN THE POLICE NEED HELP THEY CALL K9”
You sound critical of this dog here and I suggest that you take a different approach to this dog. I would suggest that if a burglar did a home invasion on your home you would be very happy to have the barking police dog show up at your door.
Dear Mr Frawley,
I am quite disturbed about a training technique that my police K-9 unit is using with their K-9's. To fairly evaluate my decision I attempted to search for articles regarding this but have found none so I am writing to ask for your opinion. I learned that the agitator will regularly use a cattle prod or shock stick on the dog's testicles to increase agitation or get him to out/off the sleeve. I am not an Officer but work with the police Dept. and have watched some training but never saw that technique used. It seems exceptionally cruel! When I asked another Officer about it he said " Oh, I thought that too the first time I was told to do it. The dogs don't feel it like we do, it's not the same, it doesn't really hurt them." Now, he did say he doesn't recall having to use it with the Shepherd as much as the Malinois(which is all they use now). I would like to understand this but I can't. I am a psych nurse for the police dept and assist with their 5150's, I feel I do have an understanding of behavior/psychology and I am open to
hearing other ideas and opinions. I would greatly appreciate any info or referral to articles regarding this.
Respectfully yours, jdotson
It is an example of trainers who do not fully understand the concepts of training. This is an indication that the handlers not the dogs need training.
Is there a certain age where you should stop allowing people to approach and pet your puppy if you want this dog for police work or personal protection. My puppy just turned 6 months. I am not sure if you should continue to allow people to pet him and play with him. Thank you very much for your time. I have purchased 6 or 7 videos from you and they are very educational.
If you are raising a working puppy that does not show any fear in meeting strangers (it does not matter if it is a police service dog or a sport Schutzhund dog) you should not allow anyone to pet or play with your puppy. Not your wife, not your kids not your partner not one single person. The dog should look to you as the only human on earth.
This does not mean you should keep your puppy away from people. It means that you should tell the people that the dog comes in contact with to ignore your puppy. They should not adopt the "OH ISN"T THIS A CUTE LITTLE PUP" and bend over to pet and play with it. People cannot even pet my pup. They ignore it.
The only exception to this rule is if a puppy is a little stand-offish to people. If the pup has a slight nerve issue then you need to do something differently. In these cases you need to have people become hot dog machines when they meet the pup. This means that people give the pup treats. But this only continues until the pup no longer shows concern over meeting strangers.
The bottom line is a handler needs to be the center of a working bloodline puppies life. I will be doing a short training video explaining how to raise a working puppy. You do not do it the same way you raise a pet for the home.
I am a five year K-9 handler and just started working my second police k-9. I received my first K-9 when he was three years old and he never had an outing problem. I received my second K-9 when he was 18 months old. He is now two and I am having an outing problem with him. Sometimes he will out clean and quickly, and sometimes he will not. I have tried to stay on top of this problem and not let him get away with it. During training when I see that he is being difficult we do a series of tie backs with the decoy correcting him into the sleeve. It seems that he know the game because he will out clean and quickly every time as long as he is tied back. After doing a series of tie backs he will out fine for the rest of the training that night, but he will go back to his old ways the next day. Is there something else that I should try or is this just the nature of a puppy going through his maturing process.
Thank you in advance for any guidance that you can give me.
The OUT is a rank issue with the handler. I am not a fan for the helper doing the OUT work – there are places for it but the average helper is not experienced enough and the problem is the dog only learns to OUT off of that helper. If he suspects a new helper is weak the problems come back.
The issue begins on the dog OUTing the tennis ball, or tug. If, after the command the dog does not OUT the ball or tug the Handler ALWAYS DOES A FOLLOW UP WITH A LOUD NO NO NO !!! OUT. You have to let the dog know that he screwed up – this means NO NO NO !! OUT – and you correct the snot out of him. Then the second he OUTS you praise him and immediately kick the ball or tug and the play goes on.
This proceeds to the helper – only here the dog must OUT the slipped sleeve – if he does not it's NO NO NO OUT!!
When it comes to the OUT on the helper – when he does not OUT the handler begins by NO NO NO – OUT and he runs to his dog and HE THE HANDLER physically corrects the dog – as I do it – I am saying NO NO NO !!!!! YOU OUT – in the beginning it can help if the helper has two sleeves on – the instant he OUTS he gets a second bite. The dog learns the fight does go on after the OUT.
I also would be using the electric collar on this dog when I start to work him at a distance (the other work can be close work) The key to the electric collar is the dog MUST KNOW THE SHOCK COMES FROM YOU – so you never shock him unless you give a NO COMMAND FIRST.
So the key to all this is the dog must first respect you as a strong pack leader – if you cannot out him from the ball, tug or slipped sleeve then he does not respect you enough.
I am a police officer in South Carolina. I am in the early stages of training my K-9 with the assistance of an experienced K-9 handler. My question is, can I work my dog on the street before he is certified by a certified instructor. The reason I ask is I was told hte state of SC does not require the dog to be certified. Also, could you email me a list of German commands for training my younger 4 month old pup.
If you use a dog on the street you had better have the training records to indicate the dogs capabilities and effectiveness. If you do not have certification everything will fall on the training records. If you want to fail the quickest way is to screw up, get sued and lose because you did not do your job properly (i.e. not train your dog well enough or long enough).
My question is if you mate a black German Shepard ( female ) and a white German Shepard both AKC would there be any negative results? Also Some shows do not allow white shephard's and why?.... In my order to you I also wanted to know if you could give me some advice on how to prepare my 8 week shepard for police/patrol duty as I am in LEO school now and in three years I would like to be a K9 Deputy. Our Department does not have K9s as of now, however as our county grows maybe in three years they would give us a chance...
There is no white GSD anywhere that can even come close to doing police service work. So why would a potential police officer want to screw up a litter of pups by breeding to a white dog. The working ability has been bred right out of the white dogs, in fact it has been bred out of ALL OF THE AMERICAN BLOODLINE DOGS. If you want to start or get into a program you will need to get working bloodlines and there are no working American bloodlines. Read the articles on my web site and go into the archives of my web discussion board and read about these issues.
K9 work is a rewarding part of law enforcement but you need to have the right dog – you would not go out on patrol with a BB gun – the same applies to American bloodline or WORSE white dogs.
I have a 2 year old non neutered belgian malinois. He is 95 pounds and is very over aggressive. He is 75% narcotic trained. He just bit a child, not a sight I would ever want to have seen. Luckily he didn't break any skin, however he has become aggressive to a maximum. I don't want to get rid of him, but I have no choice. The only other option I have is to send him to some doggy boot camp. He follows my commands all the time, except we he is aggressive. The only way I would keep him is if I could put a baby on him back and the baby would not get killed.
Please help--Can you recommend someone in NY to speak to or do you know of such a doggy boot camp?
You are out of your league.
1- You are also 100% unrealistic. This dog is never going to be able to have a baby on its back. This is a little crazy to even think someone is going to do something to this dog to allow this to happen. If you get some do-gooder at a “doggy Day-Care or DOGGY BOOT CAMP” that tells you this – get it in writing and ask for a copy of their insurance policy because you are going to need it. Also make sure your insurance policy is paid and in effect. People who run these kinds of places don’t have a clue how to deal with this kind of aggression.
2- It is hard enough to deal with handler aggression without having to add a child factor into it. This can be done but my guess is that it is beyond your skill level – even if I explained the process.
I'm a police officer new to the K-9 unit with a new dog. I am having difficulty in getting my dog to feel comfortable in buildings, although it would be nice to say I'm still in patrol school, unfortunately I'm on patrol with a "work in progress" in this area. I am seeking all the help I can get; references, articles, etc. please. I have watched your tracking videos and found them to be very informative. I work in urban areas and have doubts as to a dogs' ability under adverse conditions; slippery floors, dark corridors, etc. cause him to be noticeably hesitant. He is a very high pretty dog otherwise. How do I overcome this?
I have a training video on teaching the Building Search - but I am afraid that is not going to help.
I am going to produce a video on selection testing police service dogs. I am afraid your dog would probably fail. There are a lot of dogs out on the street that should not be police service dogs but are - DO NOT TRUST YOUR DOG WITH YOUR LIFE. When you search do it tactically and DO NOT RELY ON THIS DOG.
Document every single training session in detail. Make sure you write down every time he looks nervous. Then take it to your superior and tell them the dog needs to be replaced.
I have thoroughly enjoyed looking at your web site and reading the articles... I have been selected to our department's K9 unit, and have been a handler for approximately 3 months. I have been given a 3 1/2 year old Malinois that has been KNPV trained and is PH1 titled. My issue is this, our department supplies the food for our dogs, but since I got him approximately 3 months ago, it has been an all out fight to get him to eat. I'm not sure if he is still adjusting or just picky. I have tried just about all I know and been told, to get him on a normal schedule.
While I was at the training facility we were given dry dog food, and this is when my problems were noticed. After 8 days of minimal eating, I was instructed to mix wet food with the dry. He began eating, but I didn't know if it was because he liked the wet and dry, or just plain hungry. When I returned home, my problems continued. I've tried the 20 minute feeding routine, and for an example, after 3 full days, he ate about 2 cups of dry food, and this was only after a lot of cheerleading.
I have tried numerous brands of dry and wet, but it seems like my Mal really likes human food. All the other Mal's in the unit are eating about 6 cups of dry a day, and my Mal on his best day might eat 1-1/2 cans of wet food. I've tried the gravy type, enticing the dry with cottage cheese,, etc.... I know he is hungry, but he will not attack the food bowl. He will lay down with his back towards it, which shows me a pretty strong body language that he will not eat it. I pick it up, and he is done. After this display of non eating, my wife says he must be full, but if get a hot dog, stand back, he will consume it in a heartbeat... The feeding issue has gotten very frustrating, and I have consulted my Vet. Samples have been taken with negative results. Basically the issue is, he eats what is smell appealing, but if he doesn't want it, he will walk away after smelling it, it is getting really hard to keep weight on this police K9, and I'm worried his performance will soon suffer. I didn't know if this is just the dog or if it is part of the training he received regarding eating. Even with his Dutch eat command, it is a fight.
My Mal is also handler aggressive, and I have been bitten numerous times, because he does not like being corrected. When I firmly correct him (while in a pinch collar) he immediately does "an alligator roll" and will continue to roll until the leash is given slack, then he will roll out of it. It is an obvious way to get out of a correction. He also bites toward the correction and my leash is just about worn out due to him biting it during a correction. On a few different training scenarios I have attempted to "hard out" him from his reward or the bite, and been bit. I have started using e-collars, for outing and other corrections, and they seem to working well on him. My Mal is a very strong-willed dog, that seems to need constant reminding of who is in charge. Do you have any suggestions for me on theses two subjects, your knowledge and expertise will strongly be appreciated,,,,,,,, FYI he is crossed/dual trained for EOD work and patrol.
I would recommend that you switch this dog to the all-natural diet. You can read about this on my web site and on my web discussion board (it has 4500 registered members). There is no question that this is the best way to feed a dog. Its much healthier and the fact is its not difficult. http://leerburg.com/diet.htm You can go to Wal-Mart and buy 10 pound bags of chicken leg quarters for 37 cents per pound. You don’t need to start with all the veggies. Start with meat.
In your case I would do what you are doing – use an e-collar. There are so many training steps to doing this properly I don’t have the time to write them in this email. Sorry – keep an eye on the table of contents of my web site for when the tape is finished that I am producing on training with and e-collar. You will see when its finished. I always announce new videos there.
You also need to deal with the handler aggression in this dog. I would use the dominant dog collar we sell. There is a protocol for this. My memory is that I have written about this in the Q&A section on my web site. You will need to do some research to find it. I need to run this morning.
I hope your department lets you switch to the raw diet. You will find the dog is healthier, they live longer and they have more energy.
I work for a Sheriff's Office in Utah as a K9 handler and I have great Malinois with plenty of drive. My problem with him is he tends to be handler sensitive and at times I struggle with getting him to range out and search without coming right back. Do you have any books, video, dvd, articles, etc.. that deal with this problem. I looked on your website, but I was unable to find what I was looking for.
A difficult question without seeing the dog and knowing the temperament. If it's a training issue then that's easy - just set up your finds then repeat them at a further distance.
The dog has to learn (through training) that there is ALWAYS someone out there. If he was properly selection tested he will do the work.
When you categorize your dog as being a soft dog - I don't think you are using the correct description for SOFT. A soft dog is a dog that does not recover quickly from a correction. I have seen handler soft dogs that are tough as nails.
The fact that your dog will not range out really is not a softness issue - there is something else wrong.
I would like to get your opinion on the issue of my dog biting. I am a dog handler for a security company and have a four year old, unneutered, German Shepherd ( who is my K9 partner). I have been handling and training him for about a year and a half now. His obedience is good as well as him protection work. He is not Sch titled. He comes from excellent lines, but is somewhat "sharp". He has in the past suddenly gone after several
people. What the provocation was on those occasions - I don't know. I have been working on his prey drive a lot and I don't know if that is the cause. It starts off almost as playing and then quickly escalates into biting. I probably make the situation worse by getting excited when this happens with a family member or friend. (I don't have the same problem when he is biting the bad guy.)
The situation is as follows: I went out of town for a few days and my wife took the dog to her mothers home while I was gone (I know- this was the biggest mistake). But the dog has been there many times without issue - he has been friendly with all of the family members. When guests arrive, my wife will put the dog away in the truck (with an enclosed canopy). While my wife was putting the dog away, one of her niece's startled the dog. The niece thought this was funny and may have intentionally startled the dog a second time. The dog then managed to get away form my wife, jumped out of the pick up truck and went after the niece. She was bitten several times before my wife could get the dog to out. There has never been an issue between the dog and the niece before and she was able to play with him without problem in the past.
I understand he has been trained to be aggressive, and that as a working dog his personality has to reflect that.
My question is:
1. Is there a balance that can be achieved between keeping the dog sharp for work, and sociable with family? If so, where do I start? Can he recognize family members and not be aggressive with them?
2. Or does it have to be one or the other?
3. If required, can I retrain the dog (or de-train) to be just sociable as a
I realize you will probably say "this is a dog handler problem - not a dog problem."
I appreciate your time and look forward to your response.
This is not a dog problem. It's a handling problem - it could be called a wife problem but in fact it's a problem you have created. You have a working dog not a pet. You don't have correct training or you would not have allowed this to happen.
If you don't get sued here you just dodged a huge bullet.
Frankly this is unbelievable. You had better change the way you live with this dog and accept that it is a service dog and not a family pet or you run the risk of losing your job when a more serious incident happens.
If this happened to K9 officer and I was his supervisor I would take the dog away from him and move him out of K9.
I know that this is not what you wanted to hear but I guarantee you it's the right answer.
I have a four year old GSD. He is a dual purpose police k9 dog. We train every sunday. When we are working a scene he will not work with multiple or strange people around in the area. Also if you can believe this he seems to be afraid of the dark somewhat. It seems that during times of need he gets performance anxiety. On training days he is quite the opposite and is nearly perfect. Also if this makes a difference, he supposedly has bad hips. I discovered this when he was two years old. He tracks with a harness and is car possessive. What I mean by ar possessive is that he is the baddest dog on the planet in the car. When outside he is untrustworthy. He likes to nip sometimes. These are his worst characteristics.
The only question that I really need answered is the working performance. Please tell me that there is hope for my partner. I'm guessing that it is in his drive? If it is how would I correct this problem?
It sounds like this dog does not have the qualities needed to be a police service dog. If it were me I would be looking for a replacement.
Next time – x-ray the next dog's hips, elbows and spine before training and then do a better job selection testing the dog.
The reason the dog works on training days is that it's probably working in prey drive. The reason it has problems performing is it has weak nerves (which is the reason its sharp in the vehicle).
Just ordered your dominant dog collar and orbee ball. Headed off to K-9 school at IL. State Police Academy day after labor day. My dept. gave me a chain link kennel 4' x 12'. Have a dominant Malinois and was wondering if the steel mesh kennel would be better as he is pulling at the chain link on the gate. Also which is better 5' x 15' or 10' by 10'?
Your dominant dog video was great!
Thanks as always,
You need to stop this kennel chewing or the dog will break his teeth off. The problem is this can be difficult to do and force is usually the last option.
If you want to make a service dog out of him you are going to need to establish pack structure with the dog. Read the free eBook I wrote on how to do this. My web site has a large number of FREE eBooks that I have written. Go to the main directory for eBooks.
In my opinion the size of the kennel you now have is not good – its too narrow. The 10x10 is a better option. I can't tell you that this will stop the chain link biting. It may by it may not. I can tell you it’s a better way for the dog to live.
I would make sure the dog got plenty of exercise. If you run – then run with the dog – never off leash. If handler aggression is an issue, wear one of our wire basket muzzles – a tired dog is not going to have these kinds of behavioral problems.
You can also give the dog a large cows knuckle bone in the kennel – order them from the butcher. These take hours to chew on. Be careful not to use other bones and especially not cooked bones (IE steak bones, they splinter and can kill your dog).
We also have a number of different types of toys to leave with dogs that can be packed with crème cheese or peanut butter. I normally don’t recommend leaving toys with dogs but the risk of breaking teeth is too great here.
If this were my dog it would live in a dog crate and not a dog kennel. If it tried to chew a normal dog crate it would live in one of the aluminum crates we sell.
I would also recommend that you get my Basic Dog Obedience DVD and start to study this. There is a ton of information that and it all applies to you. It will make you a better trainer and handler.
Thanks for your great site.
I am busy training two dogs for patrol dog and have some questions about the "out" command. I've taught the two dogs according to your dvd, building drive and focus. The dogs will not release the tug until I command them to do so. I have started them on the body bite suit and they bite the arms and do transfers to the legs. I'm going to teach them on the find and bite system.
My questions are:
When the dogs are on the body bite suit, what training steps must I follow to teach the out?
Must I back tie the dog and when he won't out, must I correct into the sleeve or can I simply put him on the long line with a prong collar and correct him back? Must the corrections be one hard jerk or a few jerks?
When the dog out, must the dog re-bite immediately for reward and as he progresses must the dog wait longer before the re-bite and then eventually be taught to sit before the re-bite?
Instead of using the prong collar, can I use a remote trainer?
Once the dogs are working good on close range, how do I keep them clean on a longer distance?
Thank you for the good quality products that you sell.
I have discussed the OUT in my Q&A section for police dogs on my web site.
In my opinion the OUT command is 100% a pack structure issue. It has a foundation that is built on leadership and gradually done under higher and high distraction. With the highest distraction being the helper fighting in the suit.
Immediate re-bites are part of the learning process. I prefer to use the remote collar but it needs to be introduced on the tug with the handler and not at the time it refuses to OUT off the helper. That ways it becomes clear to the dog – again an immediate re-bite helps. But the dog has to have 100% clear pack structure – he has to understand that the toys (tugs, sleeves, bite suite) are the owners toys and not the dogs toys. I just did a dvd http://leerburg.com/302.htm
So this work is a process.
Trouble shooting means backing up the steps – and in serous OUT problems need to start at the highest level of stimulation.
At some point I need to do a training DVD on the OUT.
Hello! My name is Court. I am a small county Deputy Sheriff and am attempting to train a K-9 on my own budget and time to reduce start up costs, for a k-9 program to pitch to my Sheriff.
I am and have been searching for narcotic scent permeated dog toys to work on scent detection. Do you or you company/business have or know where I can find such an item?
If you know of any contacts or leads please let me know.
While your motives are excellent you are not going to be successful at this unless you go someplace to get the training. There is simply too much to learn.
You not only have to learn how to select a dog, motivate a dog train a dog but you need to understand the laws of using a police service dog. By simply asking for narcotic scented toys indicated how very little you know (no insult intended here - it's a simple fact).
You would be better advised to get permission to go out and fund raise to get the money to purchases a selection tested dog and then go through a school someplace.
I know this is not what you wanted to hear but it happens to be the truth.
I am writing you because you understand police K-9s and I want to know if my fears are ungrounded.
I have a 4-1/2-month-old bijon-peke and I live next door to a police officer with a German Shepherd police K-9. He has had the dog 3 years. I have seldom seen the dog because it has been trained not to bark and I don't know when it is out in their yard. However, since we got our first puppy, I've been in our backyard more often than before playing with the puppy and have heard the K-9 breathing hard at the fence. My puppy is very vivacious and runs around quite a lot. I sometimes think that the police dog may think my puppy is a prey toy.
Recently, I was talking to the policeman's fiancée who lives with him and she opened the door to her house and the K-9 was at the door. I had been taking my puppy for a walk and quickly picked it up. The woman told the dog to sit, but it didn't listen to her until the third time she said it. That was last week.
Today, I was talking to the woman again and she opened her door and the K-9 bounded out. I just had time to pick up my puppy. She told her dog to stop and sit, but it did not listen to her. The K-9 dog came to me and smelled my puppy that I was holding. Because the K-9 was not listening to her, I became afraid and I was sure the dog must be able to sense that. The police officer called to the dog from inside the house to come, but the K-9 did not listen the first time. The police officer called to the dog again and finally the dog went inside.
My puppy is super friendly to all people, especially children, and likes other dogs if the other dog is not a barker. So my puppy was wriggling to get out of my arms and play with the K-9.
I had thought from reading your website that police K-9s were highly trained and so I wasn't afraid of my neighbor's K-9, because I thought it would respond very quickly to commands from the police officer or his fiancée. The fact that the K-9 did not respond very well makes me very nervous. I'm not sure that my puppy nor myself was safe with an unleashed police K-9 darting from the next door house even though the dog did not seem interested in me and did nothing more than smell my puppy. The police officer has said that his dog is not "prey driven," but very "play driven." I didn't bother to tell him that that was the same thing really. He said his K-9 went to kindergartens and such because it was not an "aggressive" police dog although it is trained to attack people. He said his dog lived with two cats without hurting the cats. However, I know from reading your site that another dog is different from cats. Pack behavior drives dogs and if the police dog decided my dog was a threat to his rank or was invading his territory, he might attack her.
Was I right to be afraid of the neighbor's police dog? Can the police officer really control the animal? Do K-9s only attack when told to attack? Am I over-reacting in thinking it might attack my puppy?
I can't comment on this specific dog – not with the information you have provided. But I can say that I get the sense that it’s a nice dog. Most police dogs are not animal aggressive. How could they be? A police service dog cannot stop working every time it sees another dog.
My advice would be for you to continue to educate yourself on dog training and pack structure. Here are the DVDs I always recommend to people like yourself:
The truth is small dogs bite 3 or 4 times more people than large dogs. The reason for this is that owners don’t establish pack structure or train their dogs. While puppies are often very, very friendly – as they mature into adults the develop behavioral issues if they have not had the proper work done with them.
I actually have a few questions about the bonding phase for a newly appointed police K9 handler and the PSD. I recently picked up my PSD from the vendor and I will start handler school in two weeks. During those two weeks my PSD has been kenneled for the majority of the time. I take him out of the kennel in the morning for approximately two hours to play, bond and eat. He then goes back into the kennel until the night where he will come out again for the same thing. I don’t give commands, corrections, or discipline with my PSD. I just spend quiet time with him and allow him to gain his trust for me. He allows me to pet him whenever (to include during feeding) and even on his underside (he has already turned over on his back to allow me to massage his stomach area).
I limited his socialization to people, but I have allowed department members to see him and even pet him while being on a leash and closely monitored. I have done the same thing for my wife and other handlers.
1. What I have explained to you, can you see any problems with what I am doing during the bonding phase? My goal is not to create bad habits before training.
2. I allow the PSD to play with a Kong ball and Kong bone when I am present, is this ok?
3. The PSD tends to keep the toy until I distract him to get it way. I try not to fight with him to get the toy away, but I usually have to force the toy out of his mouth (he never shows any aggression towards me when doing so). Should I stop giving him the toy until training?
4. The PSD has been defecating in his kennel. When I take him out for that bonding time, all he wants to do is bond and play. I try to encourage and praise him when I see him go outside the kennel. Is there any recommendations?
5. My PSD is starting to show some hesitation in wanting to go back in his kennel. I usually have to grab his collar and guide him into the kennel. The PSD has no problem with going in the create or patrol unit. He actually is eager to go inside the create and unit. Once in the kennel I praise him. Any recommendation or wrong doing on my part?
I know there are a lot of questions, but if you can give me your help and guidance, your time and expertise will be much appreciated.
Thanks in advance,
I don’t have a lot of time and I can’t address all of these right now. I will tell you a few things and maybe you will rethink what you are doing.
First and foremost – dogs are pack animals. Pack issues are hard wired into their system and how they live their lives.
When a new member comes into a pack – rank issues are ALWAYS settled first. Rank issues are ALWAYS settled before play. To initiate play with a dog before he accepts you as his leader is a sign of “WEAKNESS” in the pack world.
Allowing anyone near your dog is a huge huge mistake. A great way to get out of K9 in an instant. I just had a female Mal at my kennel for a month that had been taken away from a law enforcement officer after he was kicked out of K9 because he allowed people to do what YOU ARE DOING and the female bit a Sgt in the face that had bent down to pet her.
My experience is the police K9 programs don’t have a clue about pack structure. They don’t teach it and that probably because they don’t understand it. They think that correcting the SNOT out of a dog to the point of submission is “establishing leadership.” You're making mistakes here. I don’t know who is your trainer but you need to be careful.
I don’t have time to train you through emails. If you want to learn – get a few of my DVD’s. Start with Establish Pack Structure with the Family Pet. This program was developed as a result of the experience I gained over the past 30 plus years doing what your doing but with truly dangerous dogs. Dogs that would have eaten your lunch had you made the mistakes you have made with this dog.
Just wanted to thank you for the great information on your level 1 tracking dvd for police. My Malinois has always had a problem lifting his nose on tracks, and if they weren't under 400 yards, I often didn't find the guy. Come to find out it was the way he was trained (three times in the Illinois State Police K9 Course). We always started off with scent pads, tracks only aged up to 15 minutes, under 400 yds, one turn and mostly tracked from downwind. I have started over and hope to see some improvements on his tracks. His biggest distraction I need to overcome, is every time he sees a building, he wants to go in and search it. He is a bite monster (Malinois... of course) I plan on getting your 2nd tracking dvd after I get him back on course and then am really interested in the building search video and the muzzle fighting video. I plan on doing more muzzle fighting than bite work. He hits so hard that he broke one of his k9 teeth when he hit the last decoy in the shoulder. Do you think that this is a good idea?
Sounds like a very nice dog.
If my dog had this problem with the tracking I would set up training tracks where the query was hiding close to (by not next to) buildings where the dog learns the suspect does not have to be in their to get a bite. This will take a lot of tracks but it can work. Gradually increase the distances from buildings.
They can also be near buildings he has had these problems before. The issue here is not a long track. It is to not be distracted by buildings. So in the beginning they can be short tracks. In reality you don’t have a tracking problem you have a focus problem.
You will need the information in these two other dvd’s – but in reality if you can’t track a guy your not going to bite him. So focus on this right now.
How are you doing sir? I am currently deployed to Baghdad, Iraq (VBC). I have a two and a half year old dutch shephard named Barry. We picked him up straight out of Lackland AFB in San Antonio this past August. He is a very high drive dog. He is a fear biter and he is pan aggressive. I have tried to socialize him with people here but for some reason he gets all excited (happy), then just snaps. When we were in Texas (at my home base) this was not an issue but since we have got to Iraq he has changed, not towards me but towards other people. The way I look at it is it's his job to be defensive. Am I looking at this situation in the right way? If I am wrong please let me know. The other issue is his heel. I have tried everything I could possibly think of to get him to walk in the heel of leash and heel to me from my rear (when I am standing in front of him). Your knowledge and expertise in this would be greatly appreciated. Unfortunately I am a rather young dog handler and Barry is a young dog. There is not a lot of experienced handlers here at the moment and I would really like to get these deficiencies corrected. Everything else he does in patrol, detection, and obedience is great. Thank you for taking the time to read this sir and thank you for all your knowledge that you share so dog trainers and handlers can be more successful. Take care and God Bless.
P.S I was just going to mention (you probably already knew this) but the Navy does not allow electric collar nor pinch collar training. Only choke chain.
Sometimes when a dog changes environments it can trigger new behaviors. This can especially be true with Mals and Dutch Shepherds. Sounds like this is what happened here.
It is not uncommon that a dog can have high prey drive and still be very sharp.
In fact a dog can have high prey drive and have shitty nerves - these type of dogs can go into avoidance when it's time to bite and become fear bitters.
Just because your dog lights up on someone because he has elevates defense does not make him a fear biter.
Frankly it's impossible for me to make a judgment without seeing the dog so I am generalizing and you need to pick what fits.
In your case the correct approach would be to handle the dog with this in mind. Handle him like he will bit any and everyone. If you do this then you should be OK. The bottom line is you are the pack leader and it's the pack leaders job to make sure lower ranking members of the pack have their needs taken care of. In this case the dogs needs are to be left alone. When he sees you preventing strangers from getting close to him he will relax more because he will understand that you will take care of business.
I wrote an article on my web site titled WHO PETS MY PUPPY - it's in an eBook form and on a podcast. The same concept applies to you and your dog.
If you want to get your dog to heel better try "marker training the position" Learn to use food in your work. I wrote an article on marker training (also on a podcast and in a eBook) . Go to my food treats page (not that your going to buy treats from me - you are not but you will glean a few ideas from the streaming video)
Use high value meat treats - ask your cooks for scraps.
Start the marker program from scratch. Teach in these steps:
1- ID the value of the work "YES"
2- Mark the site behavior without a command
3- Add the command
4- mark eye contact
5- Add the command "Look" or Watch me" or whatever
6- mark the position of sit by your side
7- let that be the recall position or just name it what you want - IE "PLACE"
8- keep the food in your left hand and LURE the dog into taking 1 step before you reward (no command here)
9 - then two steps before you reward. (no command here)
10- Then 3 steps - then 10 steps (no heel command)
During this hold the food in the left hand out in front of the nose and in a position that will insure the dog is where you want him.
This is a slow process and take a zillion repetitions. It takes handler patience but it's the foundation to a good heel.
The reason the Navy doesn't allow remote collars and prong collars is because the people who make the decisions either don't trust their handlers, or they don't understand the work or they don't have the people who can train the handlers.
Bottom line is if you do the foundation correctly you may not need a remote.
But I hate to say it but low level stimulation to enforce the work after it's learned goes a long way. In your case I recommend starting very very very slow - don't expect miracles overnight and have patience patience patience.
Good luck and stay safe. My son is a Sgt in the 82nd. Has done a tour in Baghdad - and has now been in the mountains of Afghanistan for 13 months - home in May.
Hi, my name is Tracy. I am a new police K-9 handler. I have a great german shepherd, who is doing an outstanding job in narcotics, tracking and bite work. I have run into a small problem and I really need some help. The only problem I have is that my K-9 will not out the reward (rolled up towel) after a positive alert for narcotics. It has become a real problem. I really need some direction to get him to give up the towel upon command. I don't understand why he will not out when working narcotics, but will out on command when he is on the sleeve. Please help!!!!!!!
Looking forward to hearing from you,
The “OUT” in bite work is 100% a pack structure issue as it relates to rank.
There are a couple of approaches you can try here. The easiest is to offer to trade the dog with a really good food treat. This often times will not work or it could be a temporary fix. But with that said – it does work with some dogs.
If that doesn’t work then you have to use a remote collar. The key to this is for you to learn how to train with low level stimulation. I did a training DVD on this on my web site. REMOTE COLLAR TRAINING FOR THE PET OWNER. Even though your dog is not a pet the same concepts apply. I use a DOGTRA 1900 on my personal dog.