Mankind has a long history of training dogs to help us do many different things, and in so doing we’ve strengthened our relationship with these animals. From the early hunter-gatherers who trained dogs for hunting and protection to the police dogs of today, we’ve continually found new and more innovative ways to train them and use their abilities. Detection dog training is the way many dogs have saved lives and prevented dangerous crimes.
Dogs that have been trained in these detecting skills can and do save lives and prevent crimes every day. Law enforcement officers use their police dogs to sniff out drugs, explosives, and other dangerous and illegal things like weapons. Search and rescue teams are able to locate missing people, often thanks to their search dogs that are able to pick up on a particular human scent.
Some of the training techniques are very simple, and owners can train their own dogs this useful skill. It’s a great way to spend some time with your special companion and strengthen your relationship. There are a number of different detection ‘jobs’ that dogs can learn from the same basic techniques.
It’s important for dogs sniffing out a scent to have freedom to move their neck and head around. That’s why law enforcement canines wear harnesses instead of collars. Owners might have a hard time letting the animal lead at first, as it’s usually the owner who leads when going out on regular walks.
While many dogs can learn these detecting skills, it takes an animal of a particular temperament to be suited for k9 law enforcement. It’s important for him or her to have an energetic personality, and also to have previous experience in obedience. If the animal is big on treats that helps too because food works well as incentive.
Parks or baseball fields are the best places for dogs to practice these exercises, but any wide open area with a lot of grass will do. It is important for there to be few or no people around, as it may compromise the scent or cause distractions. The best time is early in the morning, before the grass has been walked on by very many different people.
It might be helpful when going through detection dog training to remember that the goal of these exercises isn’t to create any new ability in the animal; picking up on scents is an innate ability in all dogs. All these exercises are designed to do is direct this ability to achieve a particular goal. If you make it fun for the animal by being enthusiastic and using a variety of methods, he or she will have an easier time concentrating.
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