I read the post about the pit bull and the officers with NKW and I saw a few things that I wanted to make sure dog owners understood. I'm not a big fan of Pit Bulls, but I've had "bully breed" dogs and with proper training I've always had well behaved puppers. So I wanted to bring up some things that every responsible dog owner should know in my opinion.
*Treating dogs as a weapon - all dogs should be treated as a weapon, even the little ankle biters. This means you acknowledge that they can and will bite people if not properly trained and socialized. Invest in obedience classes at your local pet adoption center, they're fairly priced.
*My dog doesn't know the the difference between a bad guy and a cop - they should. To officer train your dog is very simple, it's just consistency like all other dog training. It should start from day one when you get them home. Buy the dog a toy, such as a ball or rope, one specific that he'll only get when he's having a good interaction with a police officer. Put him in the car, and find an officer that isn't busy. Ask the officer if they have a minute for a bit of dog training. They may be suspicious of why you'd need their help, so be prepared to explain your intentions. It's been my experience most men turn into big kids with a puppy and ladies turn all gooey. Ask the officer to turn up their radio, and let the puppy get all in their business, ask the officer to make sure and let the dog sniff their mace pocket, firearm, radio and their upper torso. When the puppy is done exploring all these new smells, ask the officer to hand him the toy and let them "play/socialize". When they're done, thank the officer. Take that dog EVERYWHERE with you so they know what is normal activity and every time you see an officer repeat the above. Eventually the dog will pick up an officer's scent and will look to you for the specific toy you give them when dealing with an officer, this is a time to reward them like they just did a trick that landed you on the Tonight Show.
You've just taught your dog that a person with the combined scents of kevlar, mace, firearm, and a squawking annoying radio is not a threat.
The alternative from your dog's view if you do not properly socialize your dog:
Guy with very powerful scent (when animals are a threat to a dog they start to sweat, making their scent more detectable).
Guy has a challenging stance that is not normal for human interaction they've seen. (Officers have a commanding presence, making them a threat to a dog)
Loud and annoying noises ("Cop voice" and radio)
These are the big sins to dogs, they will see an officer as a threat, even your nice family dog. They will act like a dog and probably bite. When they do, it is their nature to have "prey drive" meaning they'll bite whatever is moving. That, unfortunately, is an officer's gun hand. You're dog is dead, and you've just put someone's livelihood at risk. There isn't much you can do as a LEO with a non functioning gun hand.
Long post, I know, but a reminder that dogs are smart, you just have to talk in their language :)