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Thread: Vacaville, CA officer separated from K9 after punching dog during training

  1. #1
    Site Supporter 0ddl0t's Avatar
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    Vacaville, CA officer separated from K9 after punching dog during training

    A short clip posted on Facebook last Monday shows an officer with the dog pinned between his legs near a warehouse on Vaca Valley Parkway. At one point, he reaches back and strikes the dog. According to witness Robert Palomino, the officer punched the dog repeatedly before he caught the incident on camera.

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    Not enough information here to form an opinion. I have "souvenirs" from more than one canine that thought he could beat the handler. Don't misunderstand me... I have worked more than a few dogs as a decoy, and as a trainer. The dogs recruited into police work tend to be very hard and very sharp, unless you get a really, really great dog. Then they can separate training from deployment, and demo from 'work'. My old agency does demos to elementary school aged kids with their carefully selected and trained canines where the kids are tugging on tails and ears.

    Canine work is complex. Not only involving dogs and handlers, but dogs and handlers and decoys and non-involved folks. It is very easy to anthropomorphize these fantastic animals, and thus sell them short.



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    To the Certified K9 operators and/or those with firsthand experience in this realm as a LEO/MIL/GOVT/Breeder etc. on the forum:

    Care to comment. Understand if you do not. I am interested in hearing from those with the education/training/experience in this realm.

    Blessings to you all.

    I am not your attorney. I am not giving legal advice. Any and all opinions expressed are personal and my own and are not those of any employer-past, present or future.

  4. #4
    I don't care if all the K9 experts say that behavior is okay, or necessary, or whatever... the handler in that video is a cowardly oxygen thief and I hope he's fired for cause. I'd have charged him with animal cruelty if it was my decision to make. It's not the 1940's anymore and we know training a dog doesn't require pain or violence. I'm betting the handler has complaints from citizens too - he appears to lack the temperament to be in LE.

  5. #5
    Site Supporter Robert Mitchum's Avatar
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    ďIt is better to have less thunder in the mouth and more lightning in the hand.Ē Ė Apache

  6. #6
    There's a scene like this in the movie The Mustang.

    It stars Matthias Schoenaerts, and it's worth watching (if you haven't already).

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    I think a lot of K-9 trainers are still using a dominance type of training. I watched the video and it looked pretty normal for a hard dog being a knuckle head. Itís a lot like watching people spank their kids in Walmart. I used dominance training on my bull terrier but that was over 25 years ago. Once while playing with my bull terrier with a large rope he re bit and got my hand and the rope. One fang got my hand thankfully between the bones in my palm. He sank that fang all the way in. Thank god I trained him to release on command. My hand swelled up so much I couldnít bend my fingers not to mention the large hole.
    Now the positive reinforcement training is all the rage. (I still miss that dog) I donít know if the soft training would be effective on a hard dog. Large hard dogs are dangerous. Iím of the opinion if you canít or wonít train your large dog you shouldnít have the dog. I had to remove a Rottweiler from a home because the family never trained the dog at all and once the dog figured out it could jump the five foot back fence the dog tried to kill the mailman a few times.
    Iím training our new dog the new soft way. But she is a small twenty lb dog that is a sweetheart and works for Cheerios . I talked to many schutzhund trainers over the years. 50 years ago the problem was getting dog that would bite a human. Now the problem is getting the dog to stop biting. K-9 dogs are not pets; they are working dogs. They are a very specialized tool and a great one is worth their weight in gold. A bad dog and or a bad handler is dangerous. Usually itís the handler. If the handler is lazy the dog is worthless. Sometimes departments go cheap or expect too much from the dog. Donít expect the dog to work for anybody. Donít change handlers. Donít expect the dog to be super dog. If you want a patrol dog, drug dog or bomb dog. Pick one dog for each or if you have to do patrol plus one other. Personally i think bomb dogs should be dedicated to just bombs. Itís not the odds; itís the stakes. Try and clear your local high school with a drug/ bomb dog. Good luck. Actually I prefer a bomb robot over a bomb dog. But thatís a whole other subject
    Last edited by Poconnor; 01-04-2021 at 05:01 PM.

  8. #8
    Site Supporter Coyotesfan97's Avatar
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    This is my opinion. I donít know any of the details in this incident other than third hand information.

    This might be a long post. I was never a trainer but just being a handler you learn things. The analogy Iíve heard and like is breeders/trainers are like car manufacturers. They ďbuildĒ the product. Police K9 trainers are like auto mechanics. They fix problems. Handlers are the end users or the drivers. Sometimes ďdriversĒ take things to far and do stuff the ďmechanicsĒ never intended.

    Frankly punching is a stupid way to discipline a dog. From what I understand the trainer involved uses ďAlpha RollsĒ to establish dominance over the dog. The thinking is if your partner challenges you you physically dominate him until he submits. Police Dogs will try to challenge you because they are high drive dogs that are bred and trained to do things that most dogs would never consider. The thing is if you are doing alpha rolls you better be picking your battles and making sure itís worth it.

    One of the problems is it has to be pretty calculated with a police dog because you run the risk of fight or flight. You really donít want to push a police dog to the point where he says fuck it if I donít run Iíll die. Heís broken now. You just trained him to flee during a fight. The other problem is you push far enough that he decides heís got to fight or Iíll die. Now youíve got a berserker on your hands.

    From the video and what Iíve heard the dog didnít want to give up his toy during training and came up the leash on the handler. Yep thatís a bad day and thatís something you canít let go unchallenged. The dog is trying to be the alpha and if he senses fear heís got your number and heíll keep challenging you. I donít know what happened to cause that. I donít know how the handler was trying to get the toy back but the dog decided fuck you and tried to bite him. Unless he put holes in you and isnít actively trying to bite you put him back in the car and take it to the trainer to fix.

    The dog not wanting to out the toy is a problem you take to the trainer and you both work on fixing it. I wonít go into the various methods other than one method might be a second toy. When he outs the toy he gets the second one and you play with him. Rinse and repeat and hopefully it gets into his little pea brain that if I give up my toy I get another and good things happen. Does that mean he gets a second toy during detection training or deployments? No but Iím means heíll out because he thinks heíll get another toy. He does his work again and gets rewarded. It sounds simple. Command, mark the behavior, and reward or correct depending on the outcome. If youíre giving a dog a command he knows then heís got to make the right decision. Letting go is a learned decision. He knows what youíre telling him.

    Another way is corrections whether itís leash or e-collar. The out command is given. If he outs he gets rewarded with good boy. If he doesnít he gets a correction. Eventually it gets through to him he does what you tell him and he gets a good boy or he doesnít and he gets a correction.

    The parking lot of a fire station probably isnít the place you want to do that. If youíre doing alpha rolls you can generally induce the same behavior you want to fix on the training field in a controlled environment with the dog muzzled. Yep muzzled because if your physically controlling a bite trained dog youíre going to get bit. I donít know if the handler in the video was bitten but punching a bite trained dog usually gets you a hand bite.

    A police dog that becomes handler aggressive is a pretty scary thing. If youíve got a dog on lead with the leash attached to the live ring you have a chance at catching him and correcting him. If itís on the dead ring less of a chance and if itís on a harness yeah itís a pretty much a sure thing youíre getting extra holes. One of the most scary things I saw in my career was a handler aggressive dog go after one of our handler/trainers. One of the best trainers Iíve worked with. He had a new dog that had already bitten a handler. Something triggered that dog and he turned on him and was actively trying to seriously bite him. The trainer got him to miss twice but the third time he got a bad arm bite. Luckily it was on the training field and we could get the dog off right away.

    If you play with bite trained dogs youíre going to be bit. Itís a fact. Itís the first thing I tell people who want to do K9. We require going through an agitation/decoy school to test for K9. It washes people out.

    Like Pat said Police K9 work is a complex in depth field. Dogs donít think like we do and we donít think like dogs. Dogs are brilliant at reading us and are capable of training us. Youíre dealing with genetics and specifically bred dogs that are trained to find and bite, if needed, humans. The dogs we use are the professional athletes of the canine world. Malinois are the smartest dumbest dogs youíll ever meet. They are highly trained but have the impulse control of a toddler. It takes a special (take that either way you want) person to handle a dog. Itís a lifestyle change to go to K9. It was the best job I ever had.

    I liked the video Robert Mitchum. I enjoyed watching it.
    The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it.* Thucydides 471BC

    "Hey! Let's be careful out there." Sgt Phil Esterhaus played by Michael Conrad

  9. #9
    Site Supporter Oldherkpilot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by El Cid View Post
    I don't care if all the K9 experts say that behavior is okay, or necessary, or whatever... the handler in that video is a cowardly oxygen thief and I hope he's fired for cause. I'd have charged him with animal cruelty if it was my decision to make. It's not the 1940's anymore and we know training a dog doesn't require pain or violence. I'm betting the handler has complaints from citizens too - he appears to lack the temperament to be in LE.

    You got all that from a 1 minute video?

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Oldherkpilot View Post

    You got all that from a 1 minute video?
    Yep. People who hurt animals are in their own category. And if he treats his partner that way, how will he treat subjects?

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