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How to Testify like a Professional

Canine Terminology

Glossary of Terms often used in Police Canine Training, Deployments, Depositions, and Court Room Situations
The document is located in Canine Resources

Building a Bond with Your K9 Partner

The day a K9 officer meets his or her partner is a day a lifelong bond is formed. It isn’t hard to under­stand why—though they’ve got a badge and a set of crucial skills, at the end of the day, K9 officers are waggly-tailed, lovable companions that just so happen to be pretty big badasses, too. It’s for all of these reasons that K9s are growing in demand in police departments in the United States and throughout the world.

 Police dogs have a long history in law en­forcement, used since the Middle Ages. To­day, these brave officers are trained in vari­ous high-stakes police jobs, from protecting their handlers to sniffing out drugs, to identi­fying explosives. Of course, these dogs are also vital in searching for missing people, with German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois are among the most common breeds employed for human search applications.

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Planning for the Future

Do your plans include looking for a new dog, K9 Training, K9 Equipment, or the latest electronics for your training records or police vehicle? How about the latest in nutrition? We have the answers for you! Check out these sources for all your needs.

Basic School Selection

When selecting a school for initial canine training, make sure they offer everything you need for your agency. There are several options available for schools. They are, the handler goes through a course and is involved with all the training. Or you get a trained dog and attend several weeks working with the dog. It used to be all about the quality of the dog, and that is still important. Over time we have realized that handler knowledge is essential to a successful canine team. It is especially vital when your needs involve a patrol dog. The school curriculum must have enough time allotted to understand the training the dog has or will receive. Practical deployment training is also critical for the handler to see how their canine works in different contexts.

If you have questions, please contact me: [email protected]

Podcasts from K9s Talking Scents

Two Podcasts from K9s Talking Scents

Both have information that can help in your Training

Science of Working Dogs
The Great Podcast Mashup 

Go Here

Bridging the Gap by Ted Summers

Bridging the Gap
By Ted Summers

In February of 2013 the Supreme Court of The United States decided a landmark case specifically dealing with Police Service Dogs. The implications of that decision are far reaching enough that we may not have seen the full effects and may not for years. The initial case and decision dealt with narcotics detection, the training records of the K9 team, and the subsequent certifications of those teams.

In the Harris decision one question that was addressed was; what is required to establish that [a] dog is well trained? While this was specifically a detection case, it did issue a blueprint on a way to test every individual deployment of a canine, whether that be on a detection deployment to detect the odor of contraband or to track and finally apprehend a person suspected of committing a serious crime. The court did not rule out questioning the reliability where specific grounds exist. They took great care to determine what “well trained” meant. One Justice took aim directly at both training and testing standards. Justice Kagen went as far as to say;

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How your Dog's Nose Knows so Much

 

How Your Dog's Nose Knows So Much

Basic Police Working Dog Training Academy: Things That Should be Considered Before Making Your Choice

Basic Police Working Dog Training Academy: Things That Should Be Considered Before Making Your Choice 

Traditionally, basic police working dog training courses have been offered to police and sheriff’s departments in two different ways for dual purpose dogs:

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Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

What follows in this article teaches us what causes odor and scent to remain after the source has left or has been removed. It is chemical in nature, and therefore just knowing what happens is likely all you need. I included the whole article as there some other interesting facts. The reason for this article was a recent court case where the judge wanted to know how a narcotic odor could remain after the product was removed. 

Advances in the use of odor as forensic evidence through optimizing and standardizing instruments and canines

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My dog is Bored, What is the problem

I often hear handlers say their dog is bored when displaying less than enthusiastic interest when searching. One problem humans have when training dogs are, they may not understand what a dog is doing or misinterpreted the body language. Ask yourself, is a dog bored when they do not show interest or are they bored because of many deployments without receiving any stimulus or reward? An example of a dog that is disinterested while searching a vehicle might show a dog not searching the productive areas, just walking straight ahead. The only odor they will detect is what comes across their noses. We know that available odor depends on the packaging, vapor pressure, and air movement. It is possible for a dog that is not actively searching to have a high probability of a miss.

Likewise, we know that dogs will include the environment in which they work and train. This includes understanding patterns and places where they have had success and where they never find anything. An extraordinary example of this is an area where I observed dogs that searched hundreds of vehicles a day. Once during a dog's shift, a vehicle, the same type of vehicle and the same color each time, came through the search area or parked nearby. This vehicle contained an odor, and the dog was rewarded with a successful indication. This same pattern was presented every day to the dogs. The dogs soon realized that the only vehicle that they could receive their reward was that vehicle. They showed boredom or disinterest in every other vehicle. Additionally, every vehicle that came by that was the same type as the target one often produced an indication of odor. The dogs would give a final response where there was no odor.

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How Dogs Learn



Looking at how canines learn, we include routines, patterns, body language, and should also include context-specific and generalization as part of their learning process. The introduction of context and generalization should give each of you, thoughts on how your training is delivered and changes you should make.

Context-specific suggests that when you are training, your dog not only learns the desired task but incorporates the surroundings as part of the learning. Or, you could say the dog includes the environment in which the training takes place. Generalization is the ability to take lessons learned and transfer them to a variety of scenarios. Dogs are inferior at this and often fail deployment challenges when presented with a behavior learned only in a training environment.

How do context and generalization influence and change police canine training? We should think about how we transition from one environment to the next, knowing that dogs won’t automatically transfer an established behavioral pattern to a new practical context. Handlers must have a clear idea of what a finished dog should look like during deployments before training begins. Exposing your dog to all possible environments during training will erase most generalization issues.

Mck-9 Academies

Debate continues over the best and most efficient means of purchasing and training a police dog team. McK-9 Academies are springing up all over America, especially since September 11, 2001, when demand for dogs in law enforcement grew at historic rates. These 2 to 4 week wonder private academies or vendors that sell a department trained? Police dogs and provide all the training a handler needs in an accelerated program, are merely an extension of our desire to have things immediately. This is McDonaldization of Society as author George Ritzer has called it. With a department investment of 2 to 4 weeks, it is promised that the handler will learn how to work this dog, train this dog, problem-solve this dog, know all the rules, laws, tactical uses AND WILL certify them as a K-9 Team. These 2-week wonder dog teams start rolling off the Henry Ford like Model T assembly lines that are produced at these McK-9 Academies. More information

K-9 Units Are Public Safety Tool That Must Be Preserved

K-9 Units Are Public Safety Tool That Must Be Preserved

As cities debate police funding in the wake of coast-to-coast protests, municipalities should take great care to protect the one public safety tool that no community can do without — highly trained police K-9 units.

Put aside the myths and inaccuracies — there is little doubt highly trained police dogs are keeping American communities safe from terrorism, crime and are doing their part to protect precious freedoms. End or underfund the K-9 police units, and every community will be less safe and less secure.

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Why We Use Points in our Certifications

Why We Use Points in our Certification

The United States Police Canine Association believes that certifications are a first step in recognizing a canine team's capabilities for actual scenario-based deployment training. The second step is to transition the team into actual deployment training that their agency provides. Those may include specific applications of canine scent or odor detection. Like most police canine training, it is a step by step approach to becoming an operational canine team. Many canine handlers do not have a certified trainer close by but still require some validation for their training. We provide that validation using points to reflect a scale of performance on each exercise. Lower scores encourage the improvement of training and ideas. Our test requires seventy percent or higher to pass. What makes our tests seem difficult is not the test itself, but the fact you must earn it, we do not lower the bar. Lowering the requirements for a canine team gives them a false impression of what they have. While the handler may know they did not pass within a few weeks, they will act like they passed and not train to improve or correct the issues. Teams failing to certify will not immediately be given a second chance. Multiple tests of the same team will not be conducted. The team must undergo a period of retraining, documenting successful performance, before any attempt at re-certification. You may question why we do not immediately retest, and it would be a good question. Our job is to evaluate a canine team. Correcting mistakes on the field will not solve the fundamental errors and may leave a more profound problem. A more permanent solution is to go home and train or retrain over some time, modifying the training to resolve the issue.

When does drug dog odor become “residual”

When does drug dog odor become “residual”?
All too often, casual use of terms or casual testimony during a motion to suppress has led police K-9 officers into this troubling area

Canine officers often testify in front of judges who have little working knowledge of how a K-9 officer performs his duties, let alone how a dog is trained to alert to drug odor. Most judges’ frame of reference about how dogs work or perform is their current or childhood pets. The lack of foundational information about subject matter that is critical to the case over which the judge is presiding is clearly one of the causes of our problem. A “Dog Training 101” course is not offered as part of the law school curriculum. Handlers are questioned by lawyers who sometimes know even less than judges. Read more

Interprets

Interprets

The word or variation of the word interprets is most often used by canine handlers in reports, training records, and testimony. They describe how they interpreted behavior changes or a final response given by the dog upon sniffing a trained odor.

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