Define Realistic: Resembling or simulating real life
Define Sustainment: To keep up or keep going, as an action or process
I’ve read articles recently on ‘realistic training’. A common theme across the board were scenarios given of a guy running away from a scene with a hidden sleeve. Keep in mind the canine, in a split-second, was fed the hidden sleeve.
“If the decoy is wearing any protective gear, it’s called sustainment training”
If I were a bad a guy I wouldn’t look back and feed your canine my arm. I would run fast as hell and not look back. As a handler, I would expect my canine to respond in the manner taught, separate from standard certification.
My past real world experiences have defined my training today. To all handlers, real world isn’t pretty, it never seems to go as planned, it’s chaotic, and feels sloppy at times. Realistic training should be designed to: push handlers to their limit, handlers making decisions based on their canine’s behavior, canines pushed to their limit so that handlers can see firsthand and fully understand, their canine’s capabilities.
I see a lot of the training scenarios in the following two examples, as well as, in standard certifications and feel most canine teams can relate:
Example #1: A guy in a bite suit is shooting a pistol and the canine is released to engage.
What would your canine do in a realistic scenario? Put a muzzle on your canine (muzzle check)…have a suspect stand without agitation…shooting a blank pistol…release your canine…and see what happens.
Example #2: Put muzzle on your canine (muzzle check)…get into a fight with a suspect…without a suit…open vehicle door (via door popper)…and watch your canine become confused.
Example #3: Put muzzle on your canine (muzzle check) and have suspect lay down inside room (passive), the decoy at no time responds to the canine engagement.
What does your canine do in these scenarios? Engage and stay engaged, Engages and then becomes disinterested and moves on, or avoids decoy completely.
“Equipment (bite suit/sleeve) masks the true reaction of your canine”
I understand the importance of certification training, but it shouldn’t drive the direction of realistic training. I use this ratio to help maintain the high “fight drive” in my canines- 5:1 ratio. I do 5 muzzle scenarios/evolutions …decoy = no equipment….to one suit evolution. Canines with high “fight drive” should not have any issues with realistic training. But, if handlers continue to only train with equipment, equipment fixation or targeting will occur and for some canines it’s a point of no return.
Please understand, just because your canine may display some confusion during these evolutions doesn’t mean your canine would not engage a suspect or shouldn’t be a PWC (Police Working Canine). It takes proper ongoing training to develop and master these skills and deploy with confidence. It is important for handlers to have confidence in themselves as a handler and confidence in their canine going into the field, so that no matter what scenario you find yourselves in, you move forward with a “roger that” mindset instead of giving multiple excuses not to deploy your canine.
Tip of the Month (Morton Method): Problems with your canine during live gun fire? What do fire arm instructors tell students who anticipate the noise/shock of gunfire? They say “dry fire”. Try displaying your weapon randomly throughout a training day in a relaxed state. Your canine will become accustomed to seeing it and not go off.
CANINE TACTICAL NEWS UPDATE
- SUSPECTS CAUGHT: THERE HAS BEEN GATORADES PLACED THROUGHOUT THE FACILITY HALF DRANK, OPEN DOORS THAT SHOULD BE CLOSED, MARKINGS ON THE WALLS. AT FIRST I THOUGHT IT WAS THE TRAINING GODS, BUT THEY ONLY DRINK WHISKEY, THEN I WAS THINKING THE MICE, BUT THEY ONLY LIKE STARBURST. I WAS SIFTING THRU TRAINING VIDEOS THIS WEEKEND AND BOOM!