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Are You Too Close to the Target?

Setting Realistic and Reachable Goals in Police K9 Training

Most everyone would agree that hitting our target each time is a gratifying experience.  However, we often find that many dog teams are “hitting their target” each time they go training because they are simply too close to the target.  For example, many K9 teams will establish training problems that they have successfully completed before, in areas where they have previously worked, simply for the sake of clocking training hours and walking away successful.

Challenge Your Limits

Police K9 training should be challengingFar too often, K9 teams are consistently successful in training only finding themselves experiencing failure in the field.  This situation is a frustrating one that can easily be resolved with planning and initiative.  By challenging ourselves and our K9 partner during each session we will gain valuable insight about our abilities and limitations.  We should seek out our deficiencies in training to ensure that we can create training programs and problems that will help to improve and eliminate these deficiencies altogether.  I understand that most people do not want their deficiencies exploited on a regular basis, but without doing so, we rarely see improvement.

Ensure that Your Goals are Attainable

When deficiencies are recognized, we must understand that they did not likely develop overnight.  Therefore, we are typically not going to realistically resolve them overnight, either.  Utilize successive approximations (breaking down complex behaviors into smaller segments and teaching each segment individually to complete the behavior) and proper planning to gradually resolve deficiencies.  Lofty goals are rarely met quickly and patience will be key.

Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail

detection dog trainingIn order to be successful in increasing our proficiency in any area, we must first have a comprehensive and well thought out plan.  I often recommend creating a thoroughly written plan for setting goals and completing them.  Plan out each step for increasing your performance over time and stick to it.  As each step is accomplished, check it off the list.  These small successes will clearly demonstrate your accomplishments.  Map our areas where you wish to increase performance, such as, longer searches, dealing with multiple suspects in building searches, more difficult trails, etc. and create a plan to accomplish these goals individually.

We offer a variety of seminars, training courses and consulting services to help you accomplish more with existing K9 teams.  If you have questions or need more information, feel free to contact us at 800.406.3243 or at