Police Dog Training

The police dog is not a breed of dog. The term printer is a term denoting employment and not nationality. So the term police dog does not denote the breed but the use to which a dog is put.

Popular usage of the term has been almost wholly in connection with the German shepherd dog. This breed officially is called Alsatian in Canada and France, Alsatian shepherd in England, German shepherd (Deutsches schaferhund) in Germany, and German shepherd in the United States. This dog is not to be confused with the  farmer’s shepherd collie in America, the English shepherd (sometimes termed border collie), or the collie proper.

A dog of a breed neither too large nor too small, active, alert, hardy, strong, fearless, not grouchy, of keen sense of smell, distrustful of strangers is the type needed for police work.

Perhaps sixty percent of all dogs trained for police work are shepherds and thirty percent dobermans, but only a small percent of these breeds are actual police dogs. Only dogs that have the degree P. H., polizeihund, or police dog, a degree conferred by specialty clubs after careful tests, can be termed police dogs. No such degree is awarded in America. The U. D. degree more nearly approaches to it.

Airedales, boxers and great danes also are adapted to police training. Any large-sized breed that is active, hardy and intelligent may be trained for the work. The bloodhound is excellent for trailing but of too sluggish nature to be used for general police work.

About the year 1902 dogs were first used officially as police dogs; these were dogs made use of in Germany. Since then not a few German towns and cities have one or more dogs attached to the police force for trailing, guarding and detection. In only a few instances have any dogs been attached officially to the police force in the United States. The city of Berkeley, Calif., uses dobermans regularly as an auxiliary of its police force.

With Lieutenant Most as the pioneer, the doberman was the first to be used in Germany for police work. In 1912, every sixth police officer had a trained dog. Four hundred police branches bad thirteen hundred dogs, three hundred and sixty being dobermans. In addition to police work, the dogs were employed as guards by the Imperial Administration and by the German Customs Department for trailing smugglers.

It would be well for every police auto to carry a police dog. Every jail and penitentiary should have a number of police dogs. One guard and one dog can be used for patrol where formerly two guards were needed.

A policeman and one dog can do the work of two policemen. The dog is useful in giving warning of the presence of criminals, thus avoiding sudden attack upon the policeman.

The dog can enter into dark places and under buildings where the officer could not enter or would enter at great risk of life. The dog also can catch and detail a criminal until the officer arrives and can aid him in bolding the man until further help is obtained.

The training divides into three groups,–obedience, protection and detection. The obedience training is nothing other than much of what we have discust in Section C.

In truth, police training is not a mysterious thing-simply the usual training as set forth in this book, plus the man work described in this chapter.

The protection work consists of guarding a prisoner during the absence of the officer, holding the prisoner if he seeks to escape, retrieving objects let fall slyly by the prisoner, fearlessness of shots and of blows with sticks or things thrown.

The detective work is that work described in the chapter on trailing. A police dog is not to bite or fight a man he has come upon. His work is to give tongue, to bark, and hold the man a prisoner until the police arrive. Thus in training, when the dog, trailing, comes upon the training prisoner, he should be called away when within about six feet; he must not be permitted to touch the prisoner. As the training prisoner is taken back with the trainer, he should drop such objects as papers, pistol and the like. The dog should be sent to retrieve these.

It is well for the training prisoner to be in a box or up a tree so that if the dog does not bark when he finds the prisoner, the prisoner may taunt him safely, and thus cause him to bark.

The training prisoner should wear a padded suit and as he is being led away, should escape. The dog is to run and detain him, not bite him, but drag him down and bold him down.

We must take issue with practically the entire system of police training. The essence of the training is the man work or man attack. My views in this regard are exactly contrary to those held by practically all German and American trainers.

The police dog, that is a dog trained for police work, whatever the breed, should be owned only by police or other public officials. icials. The police dog should not be owned as a pet or in the household or by private parties.

The police dog is too intent upon attack, is too aggressive, is inclined to be vicious. If his constant trainer is not at hand or if some irresponsible person gives the attack command, somebody is bitten, damages result and the dog and its breed have a bad name.

For this reason the shepherd dog, the breed most commonly used, came upon a decidedly unfavorably reputation for viciousness. The public associated criminals, biting and wolfishness with the breed and with police training.

Our ideas regarding correct police training will lessen much of this. We hope that the practice of giving exhibitions at shows, wherein the criminal is padded and swelled until he looks like a constipated frog, and wherein the dog attacks, bites and drags the criminal, will end.

The padded suit should be done away with entirely except on the training ground. Its ugly appearance and the biting of it by the dog, only makes the spectator shudder and vow secretly that he wouldn’t own such a dangerous biting dog.

A method we prefer is that used in some training schools where the criminal, that is, the person playing the part, wears only ordinary civilian clothes. His only equipment is one or two sticks.

The purpose is to teach the dog not to bite or attack the man but to circle around the criminal constantly, bark loudly and detain the criminal in this way until the trainer or police arrive. The sticks can be done away with after the dog is partly trained.

When the criminal is taken and if then he tries to escape, the dog encircles him and runs between his legs, barking, and detaining the criminal or prisoner in every way. There is only one time when the dog actually attacks—should the criminal fire a gun, the dog leaps upon him and holds him by the clothing.

This method is superior to the present method. We speak frankly when we say that much of the present police work is almost a farce. The dog trained to attack the padded criminal, can not recognize an actual criminal. He sees no balloon dummy and so he thinks there is no criminal.

Further, our suggestion is preferable when lost, wounded, drunken, apoplectic, or fainting persons are come upon. The dog acts similarly as with a criminal; he encircles them and barks to call his handler. If our system prevails in time, the owning of police-trained dogs by private persons would not be objectionable.