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Hello all,

Just wondering how everyone is training their K9 partners to alert when locating narcotics on a vehicle or in a building. My department uses the aggressive alert, but I see a lot more departments going to the passive alert. Is this because of avoiding damage, handler preferences or another reason? Just curious to hear everyones opinion.
 

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Passive primarily to avoid damages. As an MWD handler late 70s early 80
s twice my partner MWD Lucifer aggressively alerted on vehicles causing damage once to a dash board and once scratching down the passengers front door. Both times the government reimbursed the owners although we knew for sure the dash board and the rest of the interior had the smell of MJ on it. The military started going to passive response in the very early 80s and have not changed it until this day. As a civilian trainer I will only train passive response for that very same reason.
 

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I've switched all our dogs to passive alerting and a "lock and hold." Aggressive alerting dogs cause too much damage and too much paper work. I find that passive alerting dogs go to source better and I will never train another aggressive alerting dog again. I find it much more relaxing, enjoyable and have less stress with a passive alerting dog. I've had both, trained both and see no benefits to active or aggressive alerting dogs verse a passive dog.
 

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What is the difference between passive alerting and aggressive alerting?
 

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Passive primarily to avoid damages. As an MWD handler late 70s early 80
s twice my partner MWD Lucifer aggressively alerted on vehicles causing damage once to a dash board and once scratching down the passengers front door. Both times the government reimbursed the owners although we knew for sure the dash board and the rest of the interior had the smell of MJ on it. The military started going to passive response in the very early 80s and have not changed it until this day. As a civilian trainer I will only train passive response for that very same reason.
You knew it with no proof other than the dog, who can't tell you what they smelled. The crusade against marijuana is wonderful for those sorts of things.
 

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Marijuana preferences and/or biases aside, aggressive alerts have no useful benefits over passive. Either way, it's clear the dog found something...And as Slam said, "Aggressive alerting dogs cause too much damage and too much paper work."
 

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Sabs was trained and used periodically for narcotics detection. I liked her alert and I don't even know how or if I taught it. It seemed like she learned what I wanted her to do and then figured out the alert part on her own. She would poke/point and then look at me and then back at what she indicated. It was super useful when we were on access control because she could move through a line up quickly and quietly with support pulling indicated persons out behind us. Also since she would point at a pocket/purse/bag/hand etc, we did not waste much time looking. With vehicle searches we had no damage concerns and again because the indication was quiet we could get the dog in and out with minimal disruption or attracting attention.

I would guess that police departments would have similar needs and if anyone can tell me HOW to get a passive alert trained I would be appreciative. It sucks having only handled trained dogs and one that did most of the work for me.
 

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I can see where an active indication could be useful (diabetic alert dog for example). My scentwork instructor has a diabetic alert dog with two active indicators- one for high sugar and one for low. He had to train the dog around those for the sport since he didn't want the dog pawing a nice car's paintjob or destroying a container during the trial.

I don't do narcotic detection, but I do NACSW and AKC Scentwork. I trained two passive alerts for ease of recognizing when my dog found the hide in my earlier stages of the sport. One for high (sit) and one for low (down). I'm getting better at noticing when the dog is working odor now though.
 

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You knew it with no proof other than the dog, who can't tell you what they smelled. The crusade against marijuana is wonderful for those sorts of things.
The dog's alert does provide probable cause for a search of a vehicle, per the SCOTUS. Marijuana is still illegal in the majority of the United States. This topic is not a debate about the legality of Marijuana and it will not become one. I recommend that you keep your comments on topic. If you have something to add to this thread, remember the topic is passive vs aggressive alerting dogs.

I am extremely well versed on Search and Seizure, the Fourth Amendment and canine Case Law, as well as the training and working of LE detection dogs. I am not inclined to argue or debate personal opinions.
 

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What is the difference between passive alerting and aggressive alerting?
Basically, passive dogs are trained to sit, down or lock and stare at the source of the odor. Active or aggressive alerting dogs are trained to scratch at the source of the odor. Aggressive alerting dogs may also bite at the source of the odor.

All Explosive detection dogs are passively trained for obvious reasons. narcotics dogs can be trained to do either.
 

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I was speaking with someone who trains pups for narcotics/scent work (explosives, bed bugs, medical- some really cool applications there). Anyway, she said they train using a very unique odor that is not replicated anywhere else. There was an acronym I can't remember at the moment. This allows the dog to transition to whatever they are worked in easily. They teach them how to search, alert, and all the rest using this unique odor.

Just curious, Slam or anyone who trains detection dogs- do you also use this before the dog is specialized on an odor? I'd never heard of it before... but it seems like an interesting concept. Sorry to divert from the topic a bit, but I hope this question fits.
 

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I was speaking with someone who trains pups for narcotics/scent work (explosives, bed bugs, medical- some really cool applications there). Anyway, she said they train using a very unique odor that is not replicated anywhere else. There was an acronym I can't remember at the moment. This allows the dog to transition to whatever they are worked in easily. They teach them how to search, alert, and all the rest using this unique odor.

Just curious, Slam or anyone who trains detection dogs- do you also use this before the dog is specialized on an odor? I'd never heard of it before... but it seems like an interesting concept. Sorry to divert from the topic a bit, but I hope this question fits.
No, we only use the actual target odor. We train our narcotics dogs on the odor of marijuana, cocaine (including crack), Heroin, Meth and MDMA or ecstasy. We have access to the actual narcotics and train wth that. We do no use Pseudo or anything else as we have the real thing readily available to us.

I'm not sure what the person you were speaking uses for a target odor. Sounds interesting.
 

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****Deleted by Moderator****

I suppose you missed the point of my previous post to stay on topic. I have no intention of going down this rabbit hole with you. Again, please refrain from any further off topic posts on this thread.

If you have an issue you can PM me or any other Admin or Moderator. I am very serious that members stay on topic on this thread.

This is a thread about training detection dogs. There are many members that do nose work or scent work that could potentially benefit from this thread and discussion if it stays on topic of nose work for canines.
 

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Since nobody else answered this, check out

Indication / Alert
Basically, passive dogs are trained to sit, down or lock and stare at the source of the odor. Active or aggressive alerting dogs are trained to scratch at the source of the odor. Aggressive alerting dogs may also bite at the source of the odor.

All Explosive detection dogs are passively trained for obvious reasons. narcotics dogs can be trained to do either.

Thank you for your responses and the information.
 

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We've had a lot of issues with fentanyl around here. I know it can kill first responders including dogs. I would guess that is an odor you would want the dog to alert to as far away as possible?

I'll try to get the name of that synthetic odor. It does seem like a cool concept. I'll talk with the trainer again this weekend. I'm going to start my 11 week old on scent work, so am trying to get him going right, to hopefully transition to a working dual or single purpose K9 at 12-18 months.
 
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