Dogs & LEOs

This is a discussion on Dogs & LEOs within the Law Enforcement, Military & Homeland Security Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; 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 ...

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Thread: Dogs & LEOs

  1. #1
    New Member Array RevolverLady's Avatar
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    Dogs & LEOs

    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 :)

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    Member Array Josephus's Avatar
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    It is nice to see people that love their animals too. Thanks for the post.
    Everyone ought to worship God according to his own inclinations, and not to be constrained by force.
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    VIP Member Array wmhawth's Avatar
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    Good post. Welcome to the forum RevolverLady.

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    Some of the more "revved up" guard breeds simply don't work like that. They're protective of their house/yard, regardless of socialization and or training. My doberman is the most loving, gentlest dog, even with strangers when I have him out and about on a leash. He just wants to play with everyone. Take the same stranger and have him open my front door without being invited in, and it's like flicking a switch. The happy go lucky dog gives his "kill bark" and bee lines for the door with very bad intentions.

    The other thing that got me thinking about your post is that from my experience, it's not so much the clothes and sounds that a person makes, but the smells, voices, and looks of a person that my dogs recognize. Socializing with random LEO's might work if they happen to be the ones coming onto the property/into the house, but otherwise, I can't see it making much of a difference.

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    New Member Array RevolverLady's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sobered View Post
    Some of the more "revved up" guard breeds simply don't work like that. They're protective of their house/yard, regardless of socialization and or training. My doberman is the most loving, gentlest dog, even with strangers when I have him out and about on a leash. He just wants to play with everyone. Take the same stranger and have him open my front door without being invited in, and it's like flicking a switch. The happy go lucky dog gives his "kill bark" and bee lines for the door with very bad intentions.
    Dealt with Dobes, Rotties, GSDs, Neos, and a slew of others. If your dog reacts in an unpredictable matter, you've missed something in the training.

    DOOR TRAINING: I use a rope for just about all socializing except for the special toy that only comes out with officers. The rope gets hung right next to the door on the side that opens. When someone knocks at the door and it's someone that gets into the house, I immediately give them the rope and invite the person in so the dog and the visitor get to play. If it's someone that isn't allowed into the house, the rope stays on the wall. You've already conditioned your dog that when they hear a knock, they get the toy. So their attention is on you. Now you're going to teach them to watch the door. Open the door part way and talk to the person at the door, watch your pup out of the corner of your eye. If his focus changes from you, reach towards the rope until their attention is back on you, then pull your hand away. Do this as many times as needed while you are at the door, once the visitor has left then reward your dog, don't reward them by giving them the rope but by petting them and telling them what a good dog they are. You've just taught your dog to watch the door. No bee-lining, he's got a job to do.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sobered View Post
    The other thing that got me thinking about your post is that from my experience, it's not so much the clothes and sounds that a person makes, but the smells, voices, and looks of a person that my dogs recognize. Socializing with random LEO's might work if they happen to be the ones coming onto the property/into the house, but otherwise, I can't see it making much of a difference.
    You're not teaching your dog to recognize a particular person's scent. You're teaching them that when they detect the combined scents of kevlar, firearm, mace, and they hear a loud squawking noise, that it's a normal person rather than a threat. While you're socializing your dog you probably will come across someone who is carrying mace, the dog could look to you to get that special toy, but they don't get that toy because the person isn't an officer. Therefore, no reward. Someone could be carrying a gun, the dog will look to you for the toy, but they don't get it. Then they pick up the combined scents that only officers have, they get the toy and rewarded for picking up the combined scents.

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    Member Array Deuce130's Avatar
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    It would be wonderful if all dog owners treated and trained their dogs like you do. Unfortunately, they don't. It's small consolation to the parents of a small child mauled by a Pit Bull or the children of an elderly dog attack victim that the dog's owners just "weren't good doggie parents." Simple fact is that a small number of breeds account for the vast majority of dog attack fatalities. You and yours can do as you wish. As for my two little girls, I won't let them within 50 feet of Pits, Rotts, CPs, Dobermans, or their mixes. Why take a chance that they'll get their beautiful little faces bitten off?

    To be fair, my wife has a wicked little scar on her face that was given to her by wiener dog when she was little. The difference is that she wasn't killed or permanently maimed. BTW, I'm predicting thread closure in the not too distant future :)

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    Distinguished Member Array 21bubba's Avatar
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    Ma'am first of all welcome to the forum. Second of all I just did a mental head count of all the dogs I've had the pleasure of having through out my life. I came up with 10. all have been large breed dogs,all have been fairly well socialized. All of them were and are now very protective of "their" people. There have been a few that weren't the brightest and some that have been scary smart. One thing that none of them has ever been able to determine is who is a LEO and who isn't. They simply see right and wrong.

    If they see someone who by circumstance doesn't fit, they will do any and everything necessary to protect their flock. Maybe in your experiences you have conditioned a dog to recognize a certain person as a "friend" and that person happens to be a LEO but the dog is not going to associate "good guy" to every one who might smell or look like a LEO.

    As much as some would like to give our canine companions "Hollywood" abilities, this is just not going to happen.


    P.S. What would a LEO smell like? Once again welcome to the party.

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    Senior Member Array Tala's Avatar
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    Ditto what Sobered said. I know very well how my dog thinks. I worked hard socializing her for the first year+ of her life. When other people were socializing their dogs to cars, I was taking my puppy on walks by the RR tracks. She's not "bombproof" but close enough for my purposes.
    For a protectively wired dog, A dog out in public is a totally different dog than one who is guarding his home.

    I can take my Chow dog anywhere I please, she knows how to behave. For one thing, it's not her territory and there's no need to defend it. Another is that I've made it clear to her that when I'm in control that she is not to try to get involved with strangers on the street unless I give the OK. Period. Dogs should not be allowed to decide when it's ok to fight, that's the alpha's choice to make. Mine.

    When we are walking, we pass strangers and it's not a big deal. When we are home, strangers ARE a big deal. She knows the difference. When we are out she is not to bark unless something goes bad wrong, when we are home she is not supposed to stop barking unless I say it's OK. She is supposed to take her cues from me (the boss) and if I'm cool, she's cool.

    I do NOT want my dog focusing on a toy when they should be making a stranger think twice about my place. How many times have you heard of a "door to door salesman" really being a BG casing the house for tomorrow night's break in? If it's truly a stranger at the door, just DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR and let the dog charge it all he wants. They'll go away eventually.
    If a LEO makes an announced visit (aka knocks on my door) then I will either leash or crate the dogs so I can focus on the LEOs. When I make a move like that, it tells the dogs that I'm IN CONTROL and they take a hint.
    You seem to forget that LEOs are still strangers and I still want my dogs to bark when they show up.
    I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted, I won't be laid a hand on. I don't do these things to other people and I expect the same from them. -- John Wayne as John B. Books in "The Shootist"

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    New Member Array RevolverLady's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deuce130 View Post
    As for my two little girls, I won't let them within 50 feet of Pits, Rotts, CPs, Dobermans, or their mixes. Why take a chance that they'll get their beautiful little faces bitten off? To be fair, my wife has a wicked little scar on her face that was given to her by wiener dog when she was little. The difference is that she wasn't killed or permanently maimed. BTW, I'm predicting thread closure in the not too distant future :)
    I wouldn't thwart anyone from keeping their kids safe, ever. So, I understand that you wouldn't allow your children near those breeds. I'm not trying to crusade for certain breeds of dogs, I'm saying all dogs need training, whether they're bully breed or not.
    Quote Originally Posted by 21bubba
    One thing that none of them has ever been able to determine is who is a LEO and who isn't...
    As much as some would like to give our canine companions "Hollywood" abilities, this is just not going to happen.


    P.S. What would a LEO smell like? Once again welcome to the party.
    Did you train them to?
    It's not a Hollywood trick, it's pretty simple. Those combined smells mean, not a threat lol. The dog doesn't know "Hey! That's a cop!" The dog picks up the three combined scents and they've been taught that those scents are someone that isn't a threat. They're an acceptable person. They have no idea the social stature, or the job of an officer. All they know is that those combined scents mean if they play nice, they get a toy. I think you're reading way too much into this ... it's really that simple.
    What does a LEO smell like? Well as I've said they smell heavily of gun powder, mace, and sweat mixed in with kevlar fibers.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tala
    I do NOT want my dog focusing on a toy when they should be making a stranger think twice about my place. How many times have you heard of a "door to door salesman" really being a BG casing the house for tomorrow night's break in? If it's truly a stranger at the door, just DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR and let the dog charge it all he wants. They'll go away eventually.
    If a LEO makes an announced visit (aka knocks on my door) then I will either leash or crate the dogs so I can focus on the LEOs. When I make a move like that, it tells the dogs that I'm IN CONTROL and they take a hint.
    You seem to forget that LEOs are still strangers and I still want my dogs to bark when they show up.
    The dog won't be focused on the toy forever, that's why he doesn't get the toy after a stranger interaction. The more you do it, the more the dog understands, "My job is to watch that door." The older he gets, the more confident he gets and he'll become aggressive if that person tries to push through the door. Not answering the door is also an option, but if you order pizza, have packages delivered, or live in an area where churches, girl/boy scouts and school often do fundraisers you'll want to consider door training your dog.
    Dogs bark when people they know arrive at your house, they'll still bark if an LEO arrives as well.

    I realize that this forum isn't about dogs or LEOs, but I try not get crappy or rude with folks and always try to explain myself and most other folks do as well ... So I hope the thread doesn't get closed down, as someone else mentioned.

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    Senior Moderator
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    So I hope the thread doesn't get closed down, as someone else mentioned.
    As long as the discussion remains civil and respect for each others view and opinions is shown, it will remain open.

    We have learned to pay attention to dog threads because both sides get heated and they usaully get shut down. So far its all good. Lets see how long it remains so.
    I would rather stand against the cannons of the wicked than against the prayers of the righteous.


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    Quote Originally Posted by 21bubba View Post


    P.S. What would a LEO smell like?
    Bacon.





    Sorry, I had too. Plus I've earned the right to crack stupid, over used LEO jokes.
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    New Member Array RevolverLady's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SIXTO View Post
    Bacon.
    I was wondering when that would come up

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    Senior Moderator
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    Bacon.
    You "Pigs" might smell like bacon up north.

    Here in the south it's more like biscuits and gravy...
    I would rather stand against the cannons of the wicked than against the prayers of the righteous.


    AR. CHL Instr. 07/02 FFL
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    Senior Member Array Tala's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RevolverLady View Post
    The dog won't be focused on the toy forever, that's why he doesn't get the toy after a stranger interaction. The more you do it, the more the dog understands, "My job is to watch that door." The older he gets, the more confident he gets and he'll become aggressive if that person tries to push through the door. Not answering the door is also an option, but if you order pizza, have packages delivered, or live in an area where churches, girl/boy scouts and school often do fundraisers you'll want to consider door training your dog.
    My dog is very well trained.

    I'm ALL FOR training your dog. But what you described for training would have ABSOLUTELY NO EFFECT on my dog.
    You can't cover in one post what others have devoted thousands of pages to.
    When I first got my puppy I spent hours learning how to interact with her and communicate with her. One training method (like the rope thing) does not work for all types of dogs, but once you "speak the language" you can work with almost any dog. I talk differently to my FIL than I do to my Boss, than I do to my mom, than I do to my sister - even though we all speak English. Know what I mean?? I treat my Chow mix a lot different than my Lab mix.
    I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted, I won't be laid a hand on. I don't do these things to other people and I expect the same from them. -- John Wayne as John B. Books in "The Shootist"

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    New Member Array RevolverLady's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tala View Post
    My dog is very well trained.

    I'm ALL FOR training your dog. But what you described for training would have ABSOLUTELY NO EFFECT on my dog.
    You can't cover in one post what others have devoted thousands of pages to.
    When I first got my puppy I spent hours learning how to interact with her and communicate with her. One training method (like the rope thing) does not work for all types of dogs, but once you "speak the language" you can work with almost any dog. I talk differently to my FIL than I do to my Boss, than I do to my mom, than I do to my sister - even though we all speak English. Know what I mean?? I treat my Chow mix a lot different than my Lab mix.
    Ah, I'm not a person that would say, "If you don't train your dog the way I tell you to, then your dog isn't trained right." There are several approaches when working with a dog and the training can differ for personalities and breeds. I would not door train a chihuahua in this manner, for example. Both training methods I described above are not fail safes. I wish I had a fail safe method of training dogs, I don't. What the above methods will do is make it less likely your dog will bite a LEO, who get bit almost as much as utility workers and mail carriers. They don't get bit at just warrants either. I have family in law enforcement and here's the usual story I get:
    Officer at front door: Hello there, I was just wanting to ask if you heard or saw anything earlier this morning, your neighbor got their car broken into.
    Person: I did see a guy, come on in
    Officer eying family dog: Does he/she bite?
    Person: Oh no, he/she is harmless.
    The LEO steps in the house and the dog starts to eye them and snaps. Hopefully they don't make contact but sometimes they do. The dog only sees someone that has all these powerful scents, with a commanding presence, and now they're in the dog's domain, hence they react. The above training will help the dog understand that it's normal because they've seen those type of people before. And I am of the opinion that all dogs should be officer trained so that they don't see LEOs as natural enemies (loud, commanding presence, and strong odors), but I can't, nor would I want to force anyone to train their dog in a particular manner. What it won't do is stop your dog from being aggressive if a warrant is served and the officers are kicking down your door, nor will it allow an officer in your back yard without you present.

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