Are You Interested in Training Dogs to Become Police Dogs?
Police dogs are regarded as fully-fledged members of the team and seen as partners in the force. This means that they have to be exceptionally well trained. They may not be eligible for a police association, however they are no less an important part of the police force.
It’s important that you understand what’s involved in training these dogs so that you can prepare your puppy to enter that life.
The basic training that a police dog requires is obedience training. It curbs the dog’s natural aggression and enables the handler to control how much force the dog engages against a suspect.
They must also pass endurance and agility-training tests. The dogs must be able to climb stairs and jump over walls. Dogs also have to be used to city-life and they can’t get nervous around sudden noises or people.
So, what can you do to train the dog initially?
1. Make it Fun
All training must be fun. A dog that enjoys training will learn to do what they’re asked. So, the rewards need to be valuable to the dog.
2. Motivate Your Dog
You can motivate your dog through a positive, affirming attitude, with strong boundaries. Reward in the form of hugs, treats or toys. Even playtime can be a reward. It doesn’t always have to be food.
3. Reward Small Changes
Watch for small reactions to commands. Make sure you reward them for even the slightest changes. It helps them to know they’re doing the right things and helps motivate them.
4. Watch Out For Routine Patterns
Nobody likes to get into a rut. Not even dogs. So, watch for any routine or habit that doesn’t fit with that of a police dog. If you find some, make sure you introduce changes to keep the dog alert and inquisitive.
Relax and Work
You need both work and play, and so does your dog. Ensure you spend considerable time playing with them, as well as working with them. They need time with you that isn’t about learning new things or about practicing the old.
5. Introduce Challenges
You know how much your brain needs to be stimulated. So does a dogs’. Keep raising the difficulty level, or ask your dog to do a certain task for longer.
6. Be Consistent
Training times, commands, and rewards need to be consistent. Your dog needs some level of routine (without getting into a rut).
7. Take Breaks
Training is hard work. Make sure you include breaks in your routine, just like any person working in an office would need to stay alert and enjoy the day. Shorter sessions with less effort may still bring the results you want.
8. Consider Your Dog’s Energy Needs
Dogs are just like people—some more energetic than others. Ensure that you work according to your dog’s energy needs. Slow down and rest for those with lower energy and give more tasks to energetic dogs.
9. Always End on a Positive Note
Training should always end on a positive note. It needn’t only be about rewards. You can give them easy commands that they have learnt long ago. Let them leave each session feeling happy.
Types of Training
There are specific types of work that dogs will go into, and they’re trained differently according to the goal set for them. This can be one of the following:
- Dogs that search for drugs
- Those that sniff out drugs or bombs
- Canines that seek out missing persons or suspects
The dog will have a favourite toy which is coated with the scent of various drugs. When they search for drugs, they’re actually looking for their favourite toy.
Often, a white towel will be used, which their trainer will use in a tug-of-war. After the dog is used to it, a bag of a specific drug will be rolled up inside the towel.
The dog will associate this favourite toy with the smell of whatever the drug is. The handler then hides the towel in different places, and the dog will try and get at the towel by scratching, whining and digging.
Once he or she finds the drugged towel, the dog is rewarded with a game of tug-of-war. Soon, other drugs replace the first.
The same procedure is used for bomb-sniffing training, just with chemicals. It would be dangerous for a dog to touch a potential bomb so this time, the dog isn’t allowed to scratch or sniff. They simply have to sit down once they’ve found the chemical.
Dogs trained to hunt people are given similar training to the above – simply with human scents. They’re also trained how to bring down a suspect without harming them with their powerful jaws.
Often, confrontation is avoided when dogs are present, because criminals recognise they’re at a disadvantage with a dog.
Note: Most dogs are cross-trained, meaning they can sniff out, for instance, drugs and human suspects. This means they can find the drugs and the people that have been hiding them.
Police dogs require very special training. They’re highly specialised, and can do more than humans can do in certain tasks. This means that they’re highly regarded in the team, and are even protected by law. Training a police dog requires commitment and dedication, but is very rewarding in the long term.