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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Attended a 4 hour long class on case law for K9 handlers at a nearby Police Department led by K9 Master Trainer.

One topic that came up was deployment of bite trained dogs for search operations. Most departments near us will NOT use a patrol dog for a missing person search and do NOT want sport (schutzhund) trained dogs.

This article explains some of the case law (this was not presented there but Deb Palman writes some good ones) and involves a discussion with T Fleck.

http://emainehosting.com/mesard/pdf_documents/Search%20and%20Rescue%20for%20Patrol%20K-9s.pdf

Now, the department's take is they know schutzhund, we know schuzhund but that a jury or an insurance company does not (and thinks "the dog was trained to bite!") and that as long as there are dogs, there is always some possibility of a bite and the case has arleady set precedent for their own dogs. They do not want to go there with our (SAR) dogs as they are accountable for deploying us. They even have their own dogs trained in narc and trailing that don't do bitework.

This officer told us we should also be adding face time with the public to our training records...i.e., how many human contacts has the dog had to help demonstrate non agressive behavior.

Melgar v Greene. 2010 4th Circuit Court of Appeals

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Not trying to spark controversy or saying that others cannot interpret t his differently, but saying this is something to consider with these types of discussions.
 

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Very interesting. It seems it is still up to the specific team right? At least that's what I have been told befor when I was looking into SAR. I was told that because my dog had "bite work" she could not do SAR. She was only four or five months at the time though. I don't think she had really had "bite work" haha. I was told to check with other teams as they may allow it.

Hope this makes sense. I am scatter brained today.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Some states have rules. Some police departments have rules. Some teams have rules. My point in this thread was to state this could explain why some of the departments who have called us want assurance our dogs are not bite trained in any way.

The case was 2010; decisions by SAR teams have been around much longer than this and were probably due to a concern of offleash out of sight control of bite trained dogs by some, insuarance and liability concerns by others, and and lack of understanding of schutzhund by others.
 

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Interesting read.

We all use a tug as a reward for our dogs in training. Could not then a clever attorney argue that SAR dogs are bite trained since they are working for a "tug reward" and this is biting??
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
With the way the world is going I sure hope not! I mean if the to require that dog in Montreal can't even accidentaly scratch you without risking euthanasia....seriously .....that is why he said we need to do everything to proove our dogs are consistently happy happy friendly dogs in our training records.

I guess it is better to let someone die than make the beancounters unhappy. Even in the case listed where the bite dog went out....there was real information to say this was an emergency and the kid might die. So, save the kid's life / get sued.

Of course, if you let the kid die, then you are negilgent. As a SAR handler there is no way I would work without being under a team or agency's liability coverage!.
 

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With the way the world is going I sure hope not! I mean if the to require that dog in Montreal can't even accidentaly scratch you without risking euthanasia....seriously .....that is why he said we need to do everything to proove our dogs are consistently happy happy friendly dogs in our training records.

I guess it is better to let someone die than make the beancounters unhappy. Even in the case listed where the bite dog went out....there was real information to say this was an emergency and the kid might die. So, save the kid's life / get sued.
And because we stand by and let it happen, it's happening. At what point do we say "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! Dog training doesn't work that way."

Instead, we let lawyers and lawmakers, that have no clue how a dog is worked, how a dog is build up and what Schutzhund or a real reward is about, make decisions for us and we are so scared that we go with it.

Seriously? Happy go lucky dogs, with no tug rewards?

Schutzhund dogs, the dangerous beast?

Show me one case where a titled Schutzhund dog was actually involved in a serious mauling and bite attack? Schutzhund dogs are the type of dogs that, most of the time, DON'T have to worry about.

I have yet to see one dog worked in Schutzhund and SAR to become a threat. As a matter of fact, I know Squads where these dogs are prefered because they already know how to work and have a good deal of Obedience on them.
 

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Damned if you do, and damned if you don't..

We do allow SchH trained dogs in my group, but it does depend on the individual dog. My wilderness dog is titled to a SchHII and is far more solid tempermanet vise then some other SAR dogs that I have encountered.

No agency that calls us out has ever asked about bite training (and most of our searches are in Maryland).
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Sandra ......... I am not arguing anything but trying to point out WHY certain requests have been made of us by departments.

Police Departments Follow Case Law

This was a case from the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals Regard a bite trained dog

Our local LE has taken this case into account when requiring that dogs with no bite training of any kind be allowed to search for missing people. They seem to have zero concern with tug dogs. Their concern is along the lines of jury and insurance because if any "official" dog bites anybody under any circumstance it is likely to wind up in court.

Which "we" should not let the supreme court rule on cases? Which "we" should not let LE apply those cases as they feel necessary to protect their liability?
 

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Our local LE has taken this case into account when requiring that dogs with no bite training of any kind be allowed to search for missing people. They seem to have zero concern with tug dogs. Their concern is along the lines of jury and insurance because if any "official" dog bites anybody under any circumstance it is likely to wind up in court.
Completely understandable. Just sad to see what lenghts even LE has to go to cover all bases.
 

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One more reason to quit!
The whole thing starts locally and it's spreading all over the country all the way to the top and the supreme court.

This officer told us we should also be adding face time with the public to our training records...i.e., how many human contacts has the dog had to help demonstrate non agressive behavior.
And I was told recently that wilderness dogs don't need that. Oh the irony...
 

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I completely understand why some agencies do not want the liability. My first SAR dog was an import KNPV PH I, IPO III, and had an OH patrol dog certificate. He went on to get his NASAR Area I and Tracking / trailing I.
We logged all his passive and non passive training, as well as call outs of course. I never had an agency that had a problem with using him, and we worked with many between NC, KY, GA, VA and TN. I would not have been upset if they had if that was their policy though.

I am a bit confused with the FEMA requirements, as they say they will not certify a dog that has done bitework, but there are several sport titled FEMA dogs. Guess it is who you know and what area you are in.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Well this is a local interpretation based on case law.
It may play out differently elsewhere.

There are enough people willing to do what needs to be done to play in the sandbox and there always will be. I see more and more teams raising, not lowering the bar in terms of performance expectations which is a good thing. In one respect, it is good for SAR volunteers because a department is less likely to use patrol dog resources for missing persons, and call on their volunteer resources [being very careful about who they call] because they simply do not have the cost/benefit argument to justify spending on training their own search or cadaver dogs. Hahahaha. I don't either but I am a SARNUT and its my own money.

Honestly the only SAR dog bite issue I remember hearing about was on a K9 SAR board and was posted by a member of a German team, who uses GSPs, not GSDs and it was a schutzhund trained dog biting the head of a child-this was alleged to have occurred in Germany. I know nothing more than that, it was posted in a forum, and it was several years ago.....Probably should find it if you do schutzhund because I imagine a defense lawyer might...I will search for it to see if this was a credible post..but it is a busy week / busier weekend.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I am a bit confused with the FEMA requirements, as they say they will not certify a dog that has done bitework, but there are several sport titled FEMA dogs. Guess it is who you know and what area you are in.
Well, you know, this could be a matter of interpretation because I specifically ASKED about Schtuzhund dogs. They are quite familair with dog sport--and that most sport dogs are equipment focused etc....They did not have a concern of their own. It was that a jury or insurance company could. I do not believe the NC SAR council has allowed bite trained dogs ever, and there is no SAR council in SC. For FEMA I have no experience/nothing to say.
 

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So what actually counts as "Bite Work Trained" dog?

Using a flirtpole is a common thing in bitework to trigger prey drive. Is going to a club and having your dog worked on a bitepillow enough to rule that dog out? Because that is something that we have done in SAR Training.

What and when should a dog be ruled out because it was "biteworked"?

Like Mina, seriously? Being told that afour month old dog can't do sar because she's been worked on a bitepillow? Then you might as well quit rewarding a dog with a tug all-together.

Than you can't use an imported puppy or young dog from Germany in SAR anymore because chances are, they might have done "bitework" already just to test them.

Neither Indra nor Nala should have been allowed on a team as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
I think this is over-reacting.....have you read the article......

This department (the one with the class I took) buys green dogs like every other department out there - Malinois and GSDs and you know they have had initial training and bite development. Some dogs are narcotics and tracking only or single purpose narcotics, other are narcotics and patrol. All come from the same stock. All have had initial bite development and tug. They would not put a patrol dog on a missing person but may a tracking dog.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thinking about the tug. When I use the tug as a reward I throw it, the dog gets it and comes back to me to play. The dog never makes a decision to come to me and grab the tug and is harshly corrected if it is that pushy. Even with a victim in training the dog must be allowed to grab the tug first, and might be we require it to be on the handler. Even to the point my dog knows if I hold the tug vertically it is off limits, if I hold horizonally and say "free" the game is on.

I do not have the experience with bitework to say where the decision is with the bite. I thought it was if the person runs from the blind the dog bites. Is a command required first or is that pattern training and the dog makes the decision based on the action (running) of the trainer?
 

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I think this is over-reacting.....have you read the article......

This department (the one with the class I took) buys green dogs like every other department out there - Malinois and GSDs and you know they have had initial training and bite development. Some dogs are narcotics and tracking only or single purpose narcotics, other are narcotics and patrol. All come from the same stock. All have had initial bite development and tug. They would not put a patrol dog on a missing person but may a tracking dog.
I have read the article. But it's already happening:

Very interesting. It seems it is still up to the specific team right? At least that's what I have been told befor when I was looking into SAR. I was told that because my dog had "bite work" she could not do SAR. She was only four or five months at the time though. I don't think she had really had "bite work" haha. I was told to check with other teams as they may allow it.
To deny a four or five month old dog to do SAR because they've been a couple of times at a Schutzhund Club doing "Bite Work" is an overreaction by the team in question.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
To deny a four or five month old dog to do SAR because they've been a couple of times at a Schutzhund Club doing "Bite Work" is an overreaction by the team in question.
I agree with you but I have been to many seminars over the years and have met any number of SAR folks and think that attitude is DEFINITELY the exception.......most folks want a tug or ball drive dog. That said the topic of schutzhund has always been more confrontationa. within the SAR community.
 

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I agree with you but I have been to many seminars over the years and have met any number of SAR folks and think that attitude is DEFINITELY the exception.......most folks want a tug or ball drive dog. That said the topic of schutzhund has always been more confrontationa. within the SAR community.
Most folks in this Area actually favor dogs with Schutzhund background and I know a couple of handlers from another team that are looking to do Schutzhund with their SAR dog, mainly for breeding and titling purposes.
 

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I think if your dog has ever bit a person, even wearing a sleeve, you are definitely a higher liability than a person who's dog has never done that. Think of it this way in the eyes of a jury you have praised your dog for biting a human being. When I got renter's insurance, I was asked if my dog was ever trained in any kind of bite work (he wasn't). Any time you train your dog to bite a human (even one wearing protection) you are opening yourself up to a lot of liability if that dog does bite someone without just cause.

Remember, dog owners are a minority, dog owners that understand dog training are an even smaller minority, and dog owners that work their dogs are almost non-existent lol. I can definitely see something going wrong in a SAR situation, where a dog bites for some reason, and even though it finds said person, that person or that family sues for that bite. I know that Schutzhund dogs are amazingly trained, and they don't just bite, but what if, that 1 time it does, because the victim hits the dog or does something else out of fear of said dog, that one time might not just put the team out of commission, but will cause the police department that called them in a lot more problems than they ever wanted to have.

Again, from a normal person point of view, a tug toy isn't a bite. But once I think that dog has connected biting a human and it being fun, that's what I would consider bite work or at least being trained to bite.
 
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