During my time as being involved in the working dog arena, I saw canine gunfire training sessions that were paired with a bite from a person in a suit/sleeve. The last thing any police canine handler or a home protection canine owner wants is a canine that associates agitation with gunfire. Why?
- When your canine wants to engage, by pulling on the leash or hip lead it should not be the time when you are attempting to aim a sidearm.
- During gunfire if your canine cannot engage or is restrained from engaging its target, the canine could engage the handler.
- Canine could focus on the pistol and in turn, bite your weapon system (refer to video below).
I do not believe canines are engaging because of the noise. I believe there is a disconnect in training. Gunfire training should include what is expected of the canine during gunfire. I see trainers giving their canine a bite reward during gunfire because they think the canine needs to be rewarded. Canines are simple minded, if gunfire training is end result is a bite they learn to expect it. Handlers will argue, “its only once and it’s at that end”. Whatever happened to verbal “attaboy” praises?
Canines should always remain neutral during gunfire because this is the time where the handler is doing all the work and it is crucial that the canine remain calm. Gunfire training is not about stuffing cotton balls in your canine’s ear canals; it is not about using extra light noise blanks because it may hurt your canine’s ears; and it is not about throwing 100 live fire rounds every other day at the range…
It is about dry fire, dry fire, dry fire…..over and over and over to the point of boredom (refer to pic below),
along with proper obedience as in every application.
In conclusion, it is important to understand how your canine will react in a stressful situation.
If you were never trained in gunfire as a home protection canine owner or even shown a video on how your canine should react during gunfire, or if you are a police canine handler and every gunfire training session consists of bite work, maybe its time to think about a different direction in training. Canine Tactical offers a gunfire course for canine teams and home protection canine owners. Courses range from one week to two weeks. With proper training methods, you can go from this:
To this: (same dog)
Next week blog I go into safety when you have an asset like a Working Dog, it is important that you protect your dog as much as he protects you.