Police dogs or K9s are trained to do two things – find objects and bite people.
The type of dog breeds that the police use to protect the community tend to be genetically more aggressive. Breeds such as the Belgian Malinois are popular for apprehending criminals as they are easy to handle, have more endurance, and are fast and powerful into the bargain.
To keep police dogs from getting injured or killed in the line of duty, training equipment and accessories need to be tough and durable.
To train a police dog it must go through:
- Obedience training
- Agility training
- Protection training
- Scent detection
Police Dog Training Supplies
When obedience training a dog, behavior is reinforced using a reward/punish system. This type of training typically starts off with a type of bait such as a ball or food. Trainers will often use verbal cues which lead to a reward. Clickers also allow the trainer to indicate to the dog the correct eye and head position.
A lot of heeling training involves walking a dog on a loose leash to the left. This type of training controls aggression in a dog as they are allowed to look around as long as they hold the same position. Loose leash training requires extra long leads so you can send your dog off but still keep hold of them.
Head collars go on the dog’s head much like a horse’s bridle. It works by applying a little pressure to the dog’s nose. Once the dog is desensitized to the head collar, it can be highly effective for obedience training.
E-collars are electronic collars that allow the remote training of dogs. E-collars administer a type of shock to the dog in the form of vibration or a tone. Sometimes called shock collars, these collars can be used for both positive and negative reinforcement, and can be manipulated by a remote control.
When training dogs to apprehend criminals, decoys wear bite suits to protect them from the dog’s powerful jaws. Dogs will go for any body part such as forearms, legs, armpits and groin. The decoy needs to be able to move around as if they were dressed normally.
There are three main types of bite suit – a Dutch training suit, a Belgian ring suit and a kimono bite suit.
A Dutch training suit is usually is made of leather with a jute suit placed over the top. The Dutch training suit doesn’t offer as much mobility as other styles of bite suit.
The Belgian ring suit mainly provides protection to forearms and shins so there’s precious little padding apart from in these areas.
US police tend to use kimono style bite suits which have extra padding in the shoulders, arms, and biceps. Some trainers feel that kimono suits don’t train dogs fully and teach them to become clothes rippers as the dog doesn’t get to bite the decoy, it only bites the suit.
Police dog training decoys also wear bite jackets allowing the dog to bite any part of the upper body.
A range of hand protection is used when training police dogs.
Basic Leather Gloves
Leather and Kevlar gloves provide only puncture resistance but are better than nothing.
To protect hands and forearms in training sessions, trainers wear padded gloves. Some gloves feature a leather flap called a deflector covering the glove so the dog can sometimes hang onto that rather than your fingers.
Some leather gloves are padded with Spectra which is the last line of defense. While it won’t get fully punctured by a dog’s teeth, it can still scrape the skin and cut the hand. Some gloves incorporate a bite bar along the forearm area which disperses some of the pressure from a dog bite.
Some gloves are made in two parts. The outer is made of leather and the inner one is made of fabric. This type of glove doesn’t allow much dexterity but it does have padding for upper arm protection.
Gauntlets protect the forearm from a dog’s bite. These can be made of Kevlar or leather. It is best to use gauntlets in conjunction with gloves for more protection. Neoprene gauntlets are similar to wetsuit material. They should be used underneath a stronger bite jacket.
No matter what kind of glove you use it’s important to keep your hands closed in a fist.
Dog training aprons protect your clothes from dirt, wetness and scratches from your dog as you play and train them. They are padded and often made from tough durable nylon fabric.
Bloodhounds and search dogs are used to find missing criminals and people. To help dogs find people, scent kits enable police to gather microscopic skin cells and keeps them contained like evidence. A small piece of gauze is rubbed on the skin of the person to capture the person’s scent and placed in a sealed bag in a freezer for up to a year.
Bullet-Proof Dog Vests
With the surge in gun crime, police dogs are being kitted out with bullet proof vests that protect them from bullet and stab wounds. Vested Interest in K9s, Inc is a charity that provides this type of vests to police dogs in the US. Each vest costs $90 and they weigh around 5 pounds.
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