Police K9 Testing Process

K9 InformationK9 GuaranteeK9 Policy • K9 Testing • K9 Training ProgramsStates

We follow a very strict system that covers some of the following areas:

Complete Health Screening - International Importation and International Health and Breed standards:

     

    Police K9, Law Enforcement K9, Military K9 and Security K9 Services

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Blood Work: CBC
  • X-rays: Hips, Elbows & Spine
  • Teeth & Jaw
  • Heart & Lungs
  • Limbs & Joints
  • Skin & Coat
  • Nervous System
  • Etc

Complete Temperament Testing:

  • Detection Testing - The canine will be utilized in various detection fields.  To comply with the training protocols utilized the canine shall exhibit an obsession to play with objects, have stable character, be gun-sure and willing to surmount difficult obstacles. The canine should prefer to play with objects more than having food, water, or the attention of its handler. No commands will be given for the canine to retrieve.

    Listed below are several tests that provide insight into a candidate's suitability in the detection field.

          a. Stable Character Test -The canine will be brought around several people to judge how it responds. It should not be afraid or act aggressively toward anyone who approaches it. A happy, social attitude should be seen in its behavior. The canine will be walked on smooth tile floors to see if it is sure-footed. The canine should display no fear or discomfort. While the canine is standing or walking on leash in a passive state, an umbrella will be opened suddenly in its face. The canine may show a slight startled reaction but should recover quickly. The canine will be tested for gun sureness with several unusually loud gunshots fired from about 50 feet behind it in which the canine should show little or no reaction. The canine will be taken into tight places to see how it responds. It should confidently enter and investigate these areas without hesitation. In addition to the above tests, a search of a vehicle with the engine running may be performed at the discretion of the K9WDI Director of Training.

          b. Retrieve/Prey Drive Test -The canine will be evaluated to see if it will pursue not only objects it is familiar with, but also strange, hard and soft objects. This test will be conducted in a ravine or on a hill. The canine, handler, and evaluator will stand downhill and the handler will throw each object uphill and out-of-sight. With each object, the canine will be held on-line and will be released with no command. One by one, several objects, familiar and strange, will be thrown uphill for the canine to pursue. The canine will be judged on its alertness, speed, hunt and grab of each object. The purpose is to determine if the canine will hunt for and play with strange objects while being physically stressed. Examples of strange objects are: a piece of PVC pipe, a block of wood, a piece of metal pipe, etc.  The canine’s behavior in this test will be assessed against the following ideal behavior:

        1. Alert -The canine should show undistracted interest when presented with each object and pull hard against the leash as the object is being thrown.
        2. Speed -Upon being released, the canine should demonstrate extreme physical effort in running to the area where the object fell.
        3. Hunt -Upon reaching the area, the canine must show effective use of its olfactory senses in locating the object.
        4. Grab -Upon locating the object, the canine should immediately grab it in its mouth and show a desire and satisfaction in playing with the object.

          c. Perseverance Test -The canine will be pre-stimulated with an object that will then be placed under a heavy object (cement block, tire, etc.). The canine will then be released. The canine will be evaluated on its drive and desire to work out the problem and obtain the object. The purpose is to determine whether the canine possesses a sufficient desire to work to obtain the object and to determine the canine's natural indication behavior (passive/aggressive). Ideal behavior for this test is, upon reaching the location of the object, the canine immediately engages in frantic biting and scratching behavior in an effort to dig and obtain the object, or a frozen stare at the location of the object.

          d. Water Conflict Test -After the retrieve/prey test, the canine will be taken to a location where there will be a small pond, stream or container of water. The canine will be shown the water and pre-stimulated with the object that will be thrown beyond the water. The canine will then be released. The ideal behavior is that the canine goes directly to the object without stopping to take a drink.

          e. Food Conflict Test -A test similar to the water conflict will be conducted with food. The canine will be pre-stimulated with the object that is then thrown downwind of the food. The canine will then be released. The desired behavior is that the canine disregards the food and pursues the object.

          f. Handler/Object Conflict Test -The canine will be brought to a location where there will be a six-foot high chain link fence or an overturned milk crate or like item. The canine will be pre-stimulated with an object that will be placed behind the fence or under the milk crate. The canine will then be released and the handler will walk out of sight. The canine should go to the object, show keen interest and remain unaffected by the absence of the handler.  

          g. Hunt Drive Test -The canine will be brought to a location where there will be a high degree of grass or brush. The canine will be pre-stimulated with an object which will be thrown deep (over 40 yards) into the grass or brush. The purpose is to determine the level of the canine's hardness in pushing through the brush and if the canine will search for an extended period of time without losing interest. The ideal behavior for this test is that the canine crash through the brush with maximum physical effort. Once in the brush, the canine must exhibit concentrated and frantic hunting behavior utilizing its olfactory senses. The canine is expected to maintain this behavior for an extended period (4 to 5 minutes) without any assistance from the handler until such time as it locates the object. Upon locating the object, the canine should immediately grab the object in its mouth and demonstrate satisfaction in playing with it.

          h. On-line Search Test -The canine will be brought to a search area (shelves, vehicles, building, etc.). The canine will then be pre-stimulated with an object that will be placed out of sight in the search area at a location above ground level. The canine will then be directed through a systematic search of the area on a leash. Included in this search will be several areas above waist level. The purpose is to determine the degree of trainability and handler sensitivity in the canine. Ideal behavior for this test is that the canine will follow all directional commands and signals made by the handler. The canine must demonstrate effective use of its olfactory senses in searching the area where it is directed. Upon reaching the hidden object, the canine should show quick recognition of the object's odor and display an undistracted desire to follow this odor and obtain the object.  

    Apprehension Testing - The canine will also be trained to search for, detain, and when necessary physically apprehend non compliant subjects.  To be effective in this task the canine must exhibit strong desire to hunt for people and an unwavering ability to engage in physical combat with a violent subject.

    Listed below are five tests that will be utilized to evaluate the candidate’s suitability in this field.  In these descriptions the person handling the canine through testing is referred to as the “handler” and the person who will engage in physical combat with the canine is referred to as the “decoy”.  In all but the last test (Test 5), the canine will be placed in a secure muzzle designed for the purpose of apprehension training. Canine Center El Paso (CCEP) staff instructors will approve all equipment utilized for testing, act as decoys, and perform all tests.

          a. Test 1, Run-Away Out-Of-Sight – The handler brings the canine to a spot designated by the evaluator.  The decoy emerges from a concealed location approximately seventy-five yards in front of the handler and canine.  While the handler holds the canine on leash, the decoy makes threatening gestures and turns and runs back out of sight.  Once out of sight of the canine and handler, the decoy runs to a location approximately thirty yards away and up wind.  Once there, the decoy stands motionless for the rest of the test.  The evaluator will instruct the handler to release the canine approximately ten seconds after the decoy first goes out of sight.  The handler is to remain at this starting point until the evaluator determines that the test is completed.  The canine’s behavior in this test will be assessed against the following ideal behavior:

        1. Alert – The canine should show an undistracted intense interest in the decoy while he makes threatening gestures and runs away.
        2. Speed - Upon being released, the canine should demonstrate extreme physical effort in running to the area where the decoy was last seen.
        3. Hunt - Upon reaching the area, the canine must show effective use of its olfactory senses in locating the decoy.
        4. Guard – Upon locating the decoy, the canine must show unwavering and undistracted desire to solicit combat from the decoy, either actively striking, or intensely barking at, the decoy.  The canine must demonstrate this behavior for a period of not less than sixty seconds.

          b. Test 2, Straight Run-Away - The handler brings the canine to a spot designated by the evaluator.  The decoy emerges from a concealed location approximately forty yards in front of the handler and canine.  While the handler holds the canine on leash, the decoy makes threatening gestures and turns and runs away.  At this point the evaluator instructs the handler to release the canine. For the duration of the test the decoy continues to flee and provide no further stimulation to the canine and the handler remains at the starting point. The canine’s behavior in this test will be assessed against the following ideal behavior:

        1. Alert - The canine should show an undistracted intense interest in the decoy while he makes threatening gestures and runs away.
        2. Speed - Upon being released, the canine should demonstrate extreme physical effort in pursuing the decoy.
        3. Hit – Upon catching up to the decoy, the canine should launch with a firm muzzle strike that is placed high in the center of the back of the decoy.
        4. Fight – With the decoy only continuing the run, the canine continues to actively engage and fight the decoy with multiple muzzle strikes.

          c. Test 3, Courage Test - The handler brings the canine to a spot designated by the evaluator.  The decoy emerges from a concealed location approximately forty yards in front of the handler and canine.  While the handler holds the canine on leash, the decoy makes threatening gestures and turns and runs away.  At this point the evaluator instructs the handler to release the canine.  The handler remains at the starting point for the duration of the test.  When the canine is approximately halfway to the decoy he will turn and charge the canine, making threatening gestures and yelling.  As the canine gets close, the decoy will then throw light material (i.e. leaves, grass) at the canine. After the initial contact with the canine the decoy engages in active physical combat with strong threatening behavior.  The canine’s behavior in this test will be assessed against the following ideal behavior:

        1. Alert - The canine should show an undistracted intense interest in the decoy while he makes threatening gestures and runs away.
        2. Speed - Upon being released, the canine should demonstrate extreme physical effort in the pursuit and not slow or deviate his path when approaching the charging decoy.
        3. Hit – The canine should ignore the thrown material and immediately launch with a firm muzzle strike placed high in the chest of the decoy.
        4. Fight – With the decoy providing strong threatening behavior, the canine continues to actively engage and fight the decoy with multiple muzzle strikes.

          d. Test 4, Handler Protection – The handler is instructed to walk in a certain direction with the canine on leash at the handler’s left side.  The decoy has been pre placed in a concealed location along the route on the handler’s right side.  When the handler and canine are even with the decoy’s location, the decoy suddenly becomes visible and simulates an attack on the handler, displaying threatening behavior and yelling.  The handler drops the leash at this point and remains quiet for the duration of the test.  Following the initial contact with the canine, the decoy engages in active physical combat and administers two strikes with a flexible agitation stick across the canine’s shoulders.  The canine’s behavior in this test will be assessed against the following ideal behavior:

        1. Control – The canine demonstrates calm yet alert behavior when walking on leash.
        2. Protection – Upon being suddenly confronted with the threatening decoy, the canine immediately lunges across the handler’s body and strikes the decoy high in the chest.
        3.  Fight - With the decoy providing strong threatening behavior, the canine continues to actively engage and fight the decoy with multiple muzzle strikes.
        4.  Stick Hits – When being struck with the agitation stick, the canine disregards the blows and continues to fight.

          e. Test 5, Cable Bite – The un-muzzled canine is staked out to a stationary object utilizing a six to ten foot cable or line.  With the handler out of sight, the decoy approaches the canine wearing a protective exposed bite sleeve.  When directed by the evaluator, the decoy displays threatening behavior and delivers the sleeve within range of the canine.  Once the canine bites the sleeve, the decoy engages in active physical combat and administers two strikes with a flexible agitation stick across the canine’s shoulders.  At the direction of the evaluator, the decoy then slips the protective sleeve off of his arm and continues to display threatening behavior.  The canine’s behavior in this test will be assessed against the following ideal behavior:

        1. Alert - The canine should show an undistracted intense interest in the decoy from the time he first becomes visible and demonstrates threatening gestures.
        2. Bite – The canine immediately bites the sleeve when it comes into range utilizing all of his mouth and demonstrates confidant body language with extreme bite pressure.
        3.  Fight - With the decoy providing strong threatening behavior, the canine continues to actively engage and fight the decoy while maintaining the initial firm bite.
        4.  Stick Hits – When being struck with the agitation stick, the canine disregards the blows and continues to fight with no weakening of bite pressure.
        5. Sleeve – When the decoy slips off the protective sleeve and displays threatening behavior, the canine immediately releases the sleeve and demonstrates undistracted intense interest in the decoy.

    TEMPERAMENT AND GENETIC DRIVES

    Throughout the selection phase, the canine must show that it possesses the temperament and genetic drives to work within a working environment based on the following criteria:

          a. Socialization – The canine must possess a sound temperament that will allow it to be approached by and work around groups of people without showing fear, distraction, or reacting aggressively.

          b.  Courage/Confidence – The canine must display lack of fear and not be distracted by the following situations and environments:

                1.  Unsure footing (slick floors, rubble, etc.)

                2.  Tightly enclosed spaces

                3.  Moving vehicles

                4.  Loud noises (weapons fire, etc.)

                5. Other live animals and their odors

        6.  Startling situations (unforeseen events which the canine perceives a   danger)

          c.  Drives – The canine shall possess, in varying degrees, the following genetic drives (drives are defined as subconscious impulses to react to stimuli):

        1. Hunt -(high degree required) -The drive to search for thrown objects utilizing all senses.
        2. Air Scent -(high degree required) -The drive to use its olfactory capability to search for and locate thrown or hidden objects.
        3. Fight – (high degree required) – The drive to measure physical prowess with rivals.
        4. Prey -(required in the absence of retrieve) -The drive to chase, pick up and play with all thrown objects (hard or soft).
        5. Retrieve -(required in the absence of prey) -The drive to bring thrown object back to the handler.
        6. Activity -(some degree required) -The drive to be constantly in motion, engaged in activity and possessing abundant energy (commonly referred to as "hyper").
        7. Trainability -(some degree required) -Happily and willingly follows handler directions.

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