German Shepherd Service Police Dog

Police Dogs

Dogs have been used in law-enforcement for hundreds of years, the earliest records date back to between the 5th and fifteenth centuries. Bloodhounds were used for tracking outlaws in England. During the reign of Henry I a constable was placed in charge of the Royal Palaces stables, kennels and mews.

In Scotland, Bloodhounds were known as Slough Dogs or detective dogs, the word “Sleuth” derived from this.

However it wasn’t until the early 1900’s that a more organized form of police dog training came about. Led primarily by an increase in law and disorder, in London England, private associations were recruited to help maintain the law. These guards often employed the use of dogs to help protect them from the criminals.

Europe began to use police dogs on a larger scale, Paris used dogs to guard against criminals roaming the streets at night.

However, Belgium was the first to introduce the official police dog service program in 1899. After this the idea spread across Europe with the German’s opting to train German Shepherd’s as their primary police service dogs.

In 1920 a dog training school officially opened in Greenheide Germany where the dogs were trained in obedience, tracking, protecting officers and attacking criminals.

Other breeds of service dogs included the Labrador Retriever, The Doberman Pinscher and the GSD’s.

Today, the USA uses police dogs in all major law enforcement agencies, thy refer to the police dog as a K-9.

In a small town in California, they celebrate a dog’s graduation from police training with a public display of his exceptional characteristics and temperament.

Dogs are introduced to the public who are allowed to greet and pet the dogs. They are then put through their paces to demonstrate their training in protect, attack and holding suspects.

From a gentle, good natured dog to a fearsome beast in just a few minute sis indeed a sight to behold. However, the GSD is quick to release the :bad guy: on command and revert to his happy usual self.

This is the unique training these dogs go through. They are trained to work and also to have fun and play but never at the same time.

A trained police service dog will help end a criminals escape, after all the dog can run a heck of a lot faster than we can! Also, if an police officer shouts. “Stop or I’ll shoot” not all criminals stop, they take their chances and continue the chase.

This isn’t the case when they shout, “Stop or I’ll release the K-9” Criminals generally stop dead in their tracks! And, having seen a police dog in action, I can’t blame them!

High Standards for Canine Police Dogs

Many dogs undergo police dog training however, only a small percentage pass through. On average just 3 out of every 20 dogs enrolled will graduate as K-9’s.

Dogs begin with normal obedience training. They are then progressed to doing things our family dog will probably shudder at such as climbing ladders, jumping through windows, walk along narrow ledges… all the while totally ignoring distractions that are put in their way.

Once he and his handler are comfortable the dog obeys every command without hesitation, the dog is then put through agitation training.

This is complex training that gets more and more advanced as the dog progresses.

Dogs are taught to attack viciously full-on so to speak on command, however if an abort attack command is given before he has begun his attack he is to immediately obey that command! This is incredibly difficult to imagine building himself up to a fury and then have it fizzle out on command.

These service dogs are also trained not to attack a suspect if he is standing still yet the instant he moves he is allowed to attack.

If someone attacks the handler/police officer, the dog is trained to immediately attack the suspect without any commands at all. If this suspect runs away the dog is trained to chase him down and stand guard on him until he is securely handcuffed. If he moves he is attacked…

As you can see there is an awful lot of detail that goes into training police dogs. The dog has to be highly intelligent and capable of thinking on his own when the situation arises.

I have a tremendous respect for the dog trainers and the amazing work carried out by police dogs all over the world.

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