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Perfecting Failure with the Police K9 Team

Many handlers find themselves training with their police k9 on a regular basis, weekly and even daily, only to find that their police dog does not perform as well as should be expected in the field. They work diligently and put in countless hours only to find out that they are simply “perfecting failure”. There are a number of reasons that dogs perform well in training only to fail miserably later in the field, most of which can be resolved by simply reevaluating the processes and techniques that we employ during training.

Complacency Has No Place in Training the Police K9 Team

police k9 team trainingFar too often, handlers become somewhat complacent in their training with their Police K9. Having a decoy run across a field wearing a sleeve or suit and simply sending the Police KL9 to bite them is likely not doing much to further your training in a way that will later pay off. When fleeing from police, especially police K9 teams, suspects rarely run away in a straight line across a soccer field. To get more from this training exercise, have the “suspect” run down an alley and make quick turns in an attempt to evade the police dog. If you have the confidence in your dog, set up a similar scenario, where your police dog is chasing the “suspect” down an alley where an innocent bystander is present or where the suspect jumps and hides in a dumpster.

Another area where complacency sets in is when training the police k9 for tracking or trailing exercises. This is often a result of helpers or tracklayers not wanting to hide too long, get wet, or walk or run too far. Therefore, the Police K9 team is limited by the willingness of the person helping them. This often creates a situation where training is not challenging or realistic and often conditions the dog to complete short trails or to always find their “suspect” quickly.

Preparing the Police K9 Team for Challenging Field Environments

Police K9 teams find themselves working in some relatively demanding field environments. Unfortunately, this is not always mimicked in training. Dog teams often train in environments where they are comfortable. As a former K9 handler and supervisor, I know how difficult it can be, at times, to find new venues for training police dog teams. Gaining access to new places can be a challenge, but is definitely worth the extra effort. Scouting out new places for training can sometimes feel like a full time job. Police K9 teams need the variety of new places and environments in order to proof skills like obedience, apprehensions, tracking, etc. These training venues should also closely mimic those environments where the Police K9 team works on a regular basis.

Highland Canine Training offers a variety of programs and services for police k9 teams. We offer police dog sales and training, including seminars, handler training as well as Police K9 Instructor Courses for those wanting to learn more and hone their skills with the Police K9. For more information about our programs and courses, feel free to contact us at or by calling 704.498.7907