Day Handler/K9 Orientation Period
William Nott Jr.
the selection of the handler by the police administration, the unit
trainer will select a suitable police canine. The canine will be tested
in all areas of the patrol function. Upon successfully completing the
field-testing the canine will be assigned to the handler for a 30-day
During this period the canine will be allowed on patrol with the officer
but must remain on leash and under the officer's control at all times.
The canine can be exercised on a long line in a controlled environment,
such as a tennis court, ball field or other "ENCLOSED" area.
CRUISER ORIENTATION: The
police canine will be monitored for carsickness or aversion to audible
devices. The canine's ability to ride at normal and high speeds will be
monitored. The canine's willingness to mount and dismount from the
cruiser will also be monitored. Any aversion to the police cruiser or
equipment shall be reported to the unit trainer.
MUZZLE ORIENTATION: The
police canine will be assigned a muzzle that will be used during the
basic training program. The officer will be provided a handout from the
department's canine training manual, section 11, use of the agitation
the muzzle. The officer will follow the procedures in this section to
introduce the muzzle to the dog. Any continued aversion to the muzzle
shall be reported to the unit trainer.
HOME ORIENTATION: The canine
shall be introduced to the officer's home and family (if applicable)
during this orientation period. It is paramount that the canine feels
comfortable in its home and interacts well with the officer in this
environment. It is our goal to have a police canine that interacts well
with both adults and children. Uncontrolled aggression is not
acceptable. In the event there are other animals in the residence, the
unit trainer should supervise the initial interaction and provide
guidance to the handler. Any behavior problems displayed by the canine
shall be reported to the unit trainer.
VETERINARIAN ORIENTATION: The
police canine should make several visits to the veterinarian hospital.
This allows the veterinarian and techs to interact with the dog and to
view the behavior of the dog.
EQUIPMENT AND HANDGUN ORIENTATION:
The police canine will be introduced to
the officer's duty weapon, impact weapon, portable radio and handcuffs
in a manner that is not intrusive or that causes an adverse reaction to
the equipment. This is one of the most important phases of orientation
for the canine. Following this guide will assist in making the tactical
training and passive gunfire response training, a success.
portion of the orientation requires the officer make his duty weapon
safe and empty all magazines. NO AMMUNITION IN THE MAGAZINES or DUTY
WEAPON. Check and recheck!!!!!!!!
Because the officer will be required to be ready for an on duty armed
confrontation; it is best to perform this part of orientation off duty
or during a period where you are least likely to be interrupted. Obtain
three extra duty magazines from the firearms unit. Utilize these empty
magazines for orientation.
The purpose of this
orientation is to detect adverse reactions to specific equipment carried
by the officer. The unit trainer will make an assessment of any adverse
reactions and determine if the canine's behavior can be modified through
The goal of this orientation is to make the equipment on the officer’s
belt "neutral" to the dog. The dog should not expect or be "triggered"
by the deployment of specific equipment on the officer's duty belt.
officer will be provided a handout from the training manual under
Section 9, "Passive Gunfire Response". This section will outline what
steps the handler will take in neutralizing the dog to his/her duty
The basic training program is very stressful on the police canine. The
orientation period is very important and assists us in identifying
behavioral problems or adverse reaction to stimulus that may become a
training issue. We may be able to modify or correct them prior to the
start of basic training. If we identify a behavioral problem that cannot
be corrected, our investment is minimal and we can replace the canine
prior to the start of training.
Master Trainer, N.A.P.W.D.A.