What It Takes to Train a Police Dog

Delta Police
British Columbia Emergency Photography / Foter / CC BY-NC

Police dogs, commonly referred to as “K9,” usually undergo a specialized training to help the police in enforcing the law. Great care is taken when training these dogs. Police dog training basically focuses on instilling an instinct for protection. The most popular dog breeds for police training are Belgian Malinois and German Shepherd since they are strong enough to endure intense training. This article highlights how dogs are trained to work in law enforcement.

Police Dog Training Tips
Obedience Training
Obedience training is the first step in police dog training. A dog must be trained to follow every command given by the handler before continuing with further training. In fact, this would make the subsequent training steps easier. Some of the commands that a dog is required to follow are “sit,” “come,” “heel,” and “stay.” Obedience training is usually undertaken in both isolation and with distractions.
Agility and Strength Training
Agility and endurance training are an important part of training police dogs. As a matter of fact, police dogs should be stronger and more agile compared to other dogs. Police dogs are required to climb stairs or jump over walls and other related obstacles they may encounter. To undertake such activities, the dog should be agile and strong.
Training the Dog to Attack
Attack training requires an “agitator” and a trainer. The agitator acts as the target that a dog should attack. This training involves arousing and channeling the dog’s inherent aggression to perform the following activities effectively.

Chasing: The agitator provokes the dog to attack him and this stimulates the dog’s inner aggression. On the other hand, the trainer incites the dog to attack the agitator. If the dog responds to the command by chasing the agitator, it is praised for the action. However, the agitator stops teasing the canine when it becomes too aggressive. This training basically focuses on teaching the canine how to chase people and not how to attack.
Biting: This training focuses on driving the dog to attack the target. The trainer encourages the dog to attack and bite the arm guard worn by the agitator. The dog should follow all the commands of the trainer. The dog should stop the attack immediately when it is commanded to do so.
Chasing and Biting: This involves training the dog to chase and bite at the same time. To avoid getting hurt during this training, the agitator puts on padded clothing. At this point, the dog has already learned to follow the commands of the trainer. Therefore, it would be easier to control its behavior during this dangerous but important stage.
Exposure to different situations
The dog is trained to socialize with different people in different situations. Police dogs usually work in crowded places, hence they should not feel nervous and intimidated in the presence of many strangers. It must be accustomed to distractions, such as gunfire sounds, to make it tougher. In real life, police dogs usually encounter multiple distractions. The dog should be trained to sniff out bombs, drugs, and other illegal substances. With all of these characteristics in mind, one can see that the achievement needed in the training of police dogs is very high indeed.

K9 'Bodie'
kenjonbro / Foter / CC BY-NC