K9 Training: 3 Do’s And Don’ts

By Tom •  Updated: 09/04/22 •  5 min read
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K9 Training: 3 Do's And Don'ts

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Law enforcement officers do particular tasks that not everyone can do. They’re trained individuals whose duty is to uphold safety and security in a place and enforce the law. And it’s the same principle with police dogs.

Police dogs, commonly known as K9 units, come from an impressive generation of dogs. They are breeds recognized for their loyalty and working ability and trained to perform complex tasks and assist officers in their operations, like helping catch criminals and protecting citizens, to name a few. 

The most popular breeds in the K9 unit are German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois, Bloodhounds, Dutch Shepherds, and Labrador Retrievers. The common denominator for these breeds is their high intelligence, exemplary work ethic, stamina, and capacity to fight criminals. Indeed, police dogs are highly beneficial in apprehension against threats and danger, detection of bombs and illegal drugs, and search and rescue operations.

However, despite their genetic capabilities to work, their knowledge of police operations isn’t automatic. That’s why it’s essential for them to be trained by professionals to help unleash their full potential and enable them to play their role in law enforcement.

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In this article, we’ll explore the do’s and don’ts in training a K9 dog. Knowing such information can help you train one and make them the best version of themselves. 

Do’s

These breeds are undoubtedly intelligent, but considering how complex and advanced their training will be, it’d be helpful to know the right things to do. That said, here are the things to keep in mind as you train a K9 dog: 

Location is critical in effective K9 training. This is a must, especially for dogs that have never been into training before. Because of their keen senses, they can get distracted easily. And so, it’s best to pick a distraction-free training location. Such an environment can help your dog focus better and learn. As the dog learns the command, you can start incorporating distractions gradually. 

If you don’t have a good location for training, dog bootcamps could be the solution to this problem. You can check out reputable facilities in your area. A bootcamp program like allbreeds.biz helps you train your dog in an ideal environment.

As you train your dog, ensure to teach not just verbal instructions but also incorporate hand cues. Them knowing such signals can be helpful in situations when their hearing may be impaired while on site. Keep in mind that K9s in the field are exposed to various threats and accidents, which can put them at risk of hearing loss. It could be due to excessive noises like gunshots and bomb explosions. You can still command your dog with hand cues when this incident happens.

Much like with anything in life, consistency is key. This can also be applied to canine companions. Training your K9 can be a complex and tedious process, especially since it involves advanced lessons to help them be familiar with law enforcement. And with this in mind, it’s critical to go through the process consistently.

Aside from helping build a routine for your K9 to follow and slowly adjust to, doing so can also instill discipline and control, allowing them to grasp the commands you’re teaching them. And as you go along with the training, you can introduce more challenges to stimulate their brain and improve their focusing abilities.

Dont’s

Aside from knowing what to do, there are also things that you should not do as a trainer. This includes:

When it comes to training police dogs, note that the reward system is always preferable to the punishment system. Punishing them for not being able to follow a command or do what’s expected of them can be counterintuitive. It can trigger fear and anxiety and, in some cases, aggression in them. 

On the other hand, by using positive reinforcement, you can encourage more effective and enjoyable learning for your K9 and even gain their trust and loyalty. You can use treats and toys as a reward for any improvements you’ve noticed during your training sessions.

While dog breeds for K9s are generally intelligent and athletic, there may be instances wherein they may not understand and get your commands in one go. This can be frustrating at times, but the key is to be patient and persistent. Continue teaching them the commands you want them to learn until they get the hang of it before moving to another lesson. 

On the other hand, there may be cases wherein you may notice some patterns of misbehaviour, like excessive barking or being too difficult to control. Once you’ve encountered these patterns, disrupt them right away and correct these habits.

Training your K9 is a great way to develop and strengthen your bond. However, don’t hesitate to seek a professional trainer’s help when things seem to go in the wrong direction. Remember, your will to train isn’t the only thing needed in training. You must also have the proper knowledge and portray the right actions to gain that control and train your K9.

Conclusion

Learning the right things to do in training your dog is crucial. And since police dog breeds have high-level confidence, they need to be taught the right way to produce admirable results and help them adjust to their role in law enforcement.

With the do’s and don’ts in K9 training discussed above, you can be guided on how to proceed with the process. But to help you in this journey, don’t hesitate to reach out to professionals and seek assistance in training your K9.

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Tom

Tom has always loved to write since he was little - he wanted to be either a writer or a veterinary doctor, but he ended up being a professional writer while most of his works are based on animals. He was born in San Francisco but later moved to Texas to continue his job as a writer. He graduated from the University of San Francisco where he studied biotechnology. He is happily married and a soon to be father!
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