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Canine Terminology

Glossary of Terms often used in Police Canine Training, Deployments, Depositions, and Court Room Situations
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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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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

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.

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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Dog issues with release of Toys

Does Your Dog Refuse to Release the Toy Reward?

Many handlers have issues with this. While it might drive you crazy, this is also what makes the dog work harder when detecting substances. To the dog, this reward is a high-value item, and to get it, they must find what they have been trained to locate. Once they get the reward, they want to possess it and not give it back. They have worked hard and want to satisfy themselves with it.

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Making a good K9 Handler or Trainer

Making a good K9 Handler or Trainer

 

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