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Our rescue occasionally gets applications from individuals who claim to be police dog trainers or K-9 handlers/trainers. Unfortunately we had very bad experience with two who ended up adopting our dogs. Both dogs were returned in bad state (emotional and physical). The person who claimed to be a K-9 trainer fo a NY PD said the dog was not trainable. Two of our foster homes and the pet-people who adopted her after the police officer had no problems with her. The second police officer almost ended up shooting a really nice dog that is doing beautifully in her new home (after recovering from the abuse she was subjected to by the man who wanted to shoot her).

We have another applicant who says he was a K-9 trainer. The dog he is interested in is said to have killed some chickens. The applicant made a claim that if the dog was aggressive with chickens he would be aggressive with people too. I would somehow expect that someone who has trained a narcotics dog would know something about drives. He also said that he did aggression training with his K-9. Is the term aggression trainig used by police dog trainers?

What questions should we ask to verify if the person is a real police dog trainer? I am surprised by some of the comments of the most recent applicant and I wonder about his understanding of dogs. I guess my question is how much dog knowledge these people are supposed to have and how we should screen them best (to avoid bringing another nice dog into a situation of nearly getting shot)?

Thanks for any suggestions you can offer.
 

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I've been fortunate enough to obtain several dogs from rescues in our local area. We've taken the time to get to know them, show the the behaviors we are looking for and spent time with the rescues, and animal shelters in the area. We provide them a request for the dog, on our offical letterhead, if they ask. They also know, that if for some reason we take a dog, and it doesn't work out, we find it a suitable home and do not return them to shelters. All officers and department personel carry departmental ID's. If an agency is in doubt, make them show it.

DFrost
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks.

These two dogs I mentioned were adopted as personal pets by the police officers (after they retired from active duty) so we cannot really require any formal paperwork from them (or more paperwork than we require from our other applicants). I would have expected that they could handle a dog that our volunteers were able to handle with ease, but it was not the case. All adopters are required by the adoption contract to return the dog to us if they are unwilling/unable to keep it. Most of the applicants we deal with don't own a gun, so the danger of shooting the dog when they have a bad day is minimal, unlike with these current and former police officers. I have to admit that am surprised that these three don't have more dog-knowledge as police dog trainers. Or am I missing something? I do believe thay are with the police, I wonder about the dog trainer part of the story and how to verify it.
 

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<<<<I wonder about the dog trainer part of the story and how to verify it. >>>

Call the department and ask.

Re your comment about: <<<<Most of the applicants we deal with don't own a gun, so the danger of shooting the dog when they have a bad day is minimal, unlike with these current and former police officers.>>>>

We, meaning the police officers and trainers I've met over the past 40 years, are not in the habit of shooting dogs because we or the dog has had a bad day. That comment just doesn't make sense to me. As for the skill level of a police trainer that could range from a new handler that has completed 2 to 10 weeks of school, to someone that has been dealing with police dogs for many years. The best source for an individual is from them, verified by the department.

DFrost
 

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"If an agency is in doubt, make them show it."

We have a couple of those buying dogs for k9 work south of our area. A few years ago, we had to pull dogs from one of them and had to get them all fully vetted and took 3 weeks to get back to normal weight. No certifications, train on pseudo (they can not get real - no DEA license that takes a bit of work to get, but not impossible unless there is a reason).

Ask for proof, certification, results. "Assocation" with people does not count. "Large" facilities (that the dogs are not worked at) does not count.
 

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The term "trainer" is kind of relative. some of these folks might be wannabe vendors too. Ask for referrences. Agencies that these folks have trained police k9s for. Call them. Contact the head of you local police k9 unit and ask if they have heard of them etc. Do a little research /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/01_smile.gif
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks.

In the past the gun issue never crossed my mind. Then one evening I received a call from one of the two adopters I mentioned. He told me that he would shoot the dog if I don't come and pick it up immediately. I could not help being concerned about my own safety going to this man's house. I managed to convince him to meet him at a gas station near his house - at least it was a public place.

Since then I have a knot in my stomach thinking of placing a dog with someone who I know owns a gun (dogs can be frustrating at times). Dealing with situations like this goes beyond what my idea is of volunteering for the dogs. We probably had some bad luck that two out of two people turned out to have violence issues. It makes me uncomfortable.

We'll do some more research about our current applicant, I just don't have the impression that he is that knowledgeable about dogs (for having trained a tracking, patrol, narcotics dog). He seems nice, but so did the other two initially.
 

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<<<Since then I have a knot in my stomach thinking of placing a dog with someone who I know owns a gun >>>


And that's happened ONCE? I'm there are thousands of people that adopt dogs that have guns. The US is the largest civilaian gun owning country in the world. If I concerned about something that has happened one time, I'd never drive again. nearly 30,000 people a year are killed in automobiles and there are something like 2 cars for every person in the US. That just doesn't make sense.

Both Ladylaw and I gave you suggestions on how to determine if the person is a police trainer, a potential vendor etc. I can tell you from experience, a dog that is rescued by a law enforcement department and put into service as a working dog, will have a better home than a majority of pets, regardless of how they were obtained.

DFrost
 

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42 million households in the US possessed at least one firearm in 2004

http://injuryprevention.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/13/1/15


- There are approximately 68,000,000 owned dogs in the United States.
- Four in ten households own at least one dog.

Source: American Pet Products Manufacturers Association (APPMA)
2001-2002 National Pet Owners Survey and the HSUS
 

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38% according to the link, of households have weapons and 40 % of households have dogs. According to the information provided there are more guns than dogs. I'm not exactly sure what all that means, but that seems to be the bottom line.

DFrost
 

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[ QUOTE ]
Since then I have a knot in my stomach thinking of placing a dog with someone who I know owns a gun (dogs can be frustrating at times).

[/ QUOTE ]

That just struck me as a very strange statement.

Of course, first I have to wonder how you could possibly know whether the applicants you're interviewing own guns, or have permits to carry said guns? Just because someone is a retired police officer does not mean he automatically owns a gun, and just because someone works at the grocery store does not mean they don't.

I don't think it is legal for a rescue to ask applicants whether they own guns or not, and I think it's very unfair to assume that people who do own guns or who have permits to carry guns, are likely to shoot a dog if they get frustrated with the dog. I get frustrated plenty with my dog, but I have not yet felt an overwhelming urge to take her out back and shoot her. And I *do* own guns. I also have a permit to carry concealed. However, that is nobody's business but my own.
 

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If someone claims that they are a K-9 trainer and have trained police dogs for (insert dept. here), ask for contact information/reference for that department's K-9 unit - simple as that.
 

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I know what you mean. I am a sworn officer and don't need permit to carry a gun. I've been training dogs for 40 years, and have carried a gun the whole time. I've yet to shoot the first one because I was angry, upset or frustrated. It was a strange comment in my mind as well.

DFrost
 

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I think if you contact the police yourself and see the officer in his office and in a squad car and in uniform you will know that this is a k9 police dog trainer. Other than that how can you know. I have been talking with a sheriff about my rescue and he is going to come look at him. If someone just made the claim how can anyone know they are for real.
 

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Ask to see their departmental commission card, identification, etc. Call the department and ask them who is your dog trainer. It's not rocket science.

DFrost
 
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And just another thought as I know several people who've responded already can say the same thing - I don't need a gun to be lethal if that's my intention. I am fully trained in unarmed combat and if I was to run amok you couldn't take my arms and legs away from me very well could you? So if we got rid of all the people with guns would we then have to lockup everybody with an understanding of the martial arts, etc.? Having or not having a gun makes no difference. What makes a difference is the brain (or lack there of) behind it.
 

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And as always...there are good K9 handlers/trainers and bad ones...be more critical than with a normal person. If they're respectable people, they won't mind and they'll appreciate your efforts. I hate hearing all K9 trainers being put in the same "bad" category. I had someone put her foot in her mouth with me the other day when I told her dh was one after she just bashed "them all."
 
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