Detailed Look

Basic Canine Officer Training: A Closer Look

Our Basic Canine Officer Training Program is an intensive one, with a foundation including canine obedience, officer preparedness and canine team confidence. Working with expert canine trainer Alex Rothacker and Program Director David Knouse, Retired K-9 Officer, Northbrook IL Police Department, students complete our program able to successfully function under almost all stressful and non-stressful law enforcement conditions.

In all phases of the course, a certified canine is used to demonstrate procedures. Additionally, our staff will evaluate both the handler and the canine from the first day of class, to make sure that the team is compatible. In the event of a conflict, the coordinator and trainer reserve the right to replace the canine. If, in our opinion, the handler is not suited to canine training, that handler's agency will be notified. Before any agency is notified, we will make every effort to solve this problem.

As with patrol officers, canine teams require time to reach optimum efficiency. Handlers should realize that canine partners are not like uniforms which hang in a closet; they become members of the family and require attention. A conscious effort to reinforce lessons learned in training must be implemented daily, away from the formal training basis. A canine which receives no regular training will not perform efficiently, and the department will lose the usefulness of the canine team.

Introduction, Familiarization, Safety, Program Overview, Canine Psychology, Written Exam, Proficiency Exams, Course Review

40 class hours

By the time each team completes our training program, they will understand-

  • how the entire program functions relative to canine team street work.
  • what is necessary to be a complete canine team.
  • the basic mentality of a canine in relation to police work.
  • all safety aspects to be followed both during and after completion of the training course, while in the performance of the police function.

Medical Care, Feeding, Equipment & Kenneling

2 class hours

By the time each team completes our training program, they will-

  • demonstrate how to give first aid to a canine.
  • properly care for and groom the canine.
  • demonstrate the use of the canine equipment.

Court, Legal Aspects, Reports, Training Logs, Use of Force

12 class hours

By the time each team completes our training program, they will-

  • write a complete, factual report on canine use.
  • be able to testify in court relative to canine use and background.
  • keep a complete training log (patrol and narcotics), as well as a "canine use" log.
  • explain how a canine is considered reliable.
  • understand and implement the use of case law in using a canine for narcotic searches, as well as the legal ramifications of the 4th Amendment on searches.

Crowd Control

1 class hour, 6 field hours

By the time each team completes our training program, they will know-

  • when canine use for crowd control is appropriate, and when agency approval is required.
  • the proper method of utilizing canine teams in controlling aggressive, unruly crowds.
  • the procedures to follow in non-aggressive situations.
  • how the student's canine will react under stressful and non-stressful situations.

Obedience

1 class hour, 25 field hours

By the time each team completes our training program, they will-

  • understand why obedience is the basis for all other training.
  • know and be able to demonstrate the commands of Heel, Sit, Down, Stay, Come, Stand: both verbally and by hand signal.
  • be able to perform obedience exercises at various distances.
  • be able to work in group and individual obedience exercises.
  • understand proper correction procedures.
  • understand that, after obedience exercises, the canine must receive praise and reward.

Tracking

2 class hours, 37 field hours

By the time each team completes our training program, they will-

  • be competent to track on gravel, asphalt, concrete, dirt, grass and through woods.
  • know the various sequences of events relative to air currents, terrain, ground disturbance and human body scent when tracking a human subject.
  • know how to keep the canine interested in the task of tracking.
  • know how to re-direct the canine if the scent or canine interest is lost.
  • know how to recognize that the canine is indicating on an article on the track (down position) and the canine body language which indicates the subject has been located.
  • know how and when to use the various length leads for a track depending on the type of area.

Obstacles

21 field hours

By the time each team completes our training program, they will-

  • know how to assist the canine to safely negotiate all 58 obstacles.
  • understand that the canine's confidence and safety must be of utmost importance in the handler's mind.
  • realize that it might take some canines longer to perform or learn an obstacle, and to not become negative or discouraged with the canine.
  • teach the canine to negotiate all obstacles slowly.
  • have patience with the canine.

Apprehension Control, Handler Protection, Traffic Stops, Gunfire

2 class hours, 51 field hours

By the time each team completes our training program, they will-

  • know when and how to use canine aggressiveness.
  • know when and how to control canine aggressiveness.
  • be able to know when the canine is about to become aggressive without being commanded, and how to correct this situation.
  • teach the canine to focus on a specific subject using the directive "watch him," and to not be deterred from that focus until released; teach the canine to bark using the command "speak."

Article Search

1 class hour, 16 field hours

By the time each team completes our training program, they will-

  • know how geography and weather affect an area to be searched.
  • know how to use any present wind to the team's best advantage.
  • be able to recognize the canine indications that he has scented or found an article.
  • know how to systematically dissect a large search area to ensure complete coverage.

Area/Field Search

1 class hour, 24 field hours

By the time each team completes our training program, they will-

  • know how geography and weather affect an area to be searched.
  • know how to use any present wind to the team's best advantage.
  • know how to direct assisting officers to contain the area to be searched, and how backup officers may be deployed.
  • know how to systematically dissect a large area to ensure complete coverage.
  • encourage the canine to indicate his finding of a suspect by barking, jumping, or apprehending if appropriate.
  • know what safety factors to follow depending on the area or situation.

Building Search

10 class hours, 26 field hours

By the time each team completes our training program, they will-

  • know the legal and safety aspects of searching a building.
  • understand how weather, temperature, air currents, and building configuration affect a building search.
  • know how to tactically practice officer safety during a search.
  • be able to understand how the canine indicates the presence of a human subject and the different "alerts" the canine may give.
  • understand the systematic approach to building searching.

Narcotics

5 class hours, 42 field hours

By the time each team completes our training program, they will-

  • know how to properly and systematically search both indoors and outdoors of any area or vehicle for narcotic odor.
  • understand how the effects of air currents and their configuration affect the search.
  • know the canine indications when searching for narcotics.
  • know the difference between false and real indications.
  • be able to search effectively under any and all adverse conditions.

Night Practical Application

60 Field Hours

By the time each team completes our training program, they will-

  • deploy the canine in varied situations.
  • experience as many practical situations as possible.
  • learn from working canine teams.

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TOPS KENNELS, 1460 EAST BELVIDERE RD., GRAYSLAKE, IL 60030
PHONE 847-223-2822  FAX 847-223-1537

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