On The Scent Dog Training, Suffolk

Out & About - On The Scent, On Location!

On The Scent at the Suffolk Police Dog Section Training Day

On 26th June 2008 Teresa and I spent the day with the ‘Police Dog Section’ at Suffolk Police Headquarters near Ipswich.  We had glorious weather and were both made very welcome by the dog handling team and their police dog training instructor.

The aim of the day was for Teresa and me to learn more about how police dogs are trained for their work in the force and to further broaden our training knowledge for the KCAI Scheme we are both currently involved in.

The training carried out was based on positive reinforcement with play, food, praise and petting and voice correction.  The dogs were clearly enjoying themselves as too the handlers.

The following photographs show some of the training exercises we watched with a brief description, however, there were two exercises we were able to play a small part in but these are not pictured; the tracking (as it shows how unfit we both are!) and a drug training exercise out on location. The full descriptions are underneath the gallery.

We had the most wonderful time and are looking forward to returning in the not too distant future.

Thank you to all the Police dog handlers, their instructor and of course all the dogs for making our visit both enjoyable and interesting.

Sophia & Teresa.

  • Suffolk Police Dog Section
  • Suffolk Police Dog Section
  • Suffolk Police Dog Section
  • Suffolk Police Dog Section
  • Suffolk Police Dog Section
  • Suffolk Police Dog Section
  • Suffolk Police Dog Section
  • Suffolk Police Dog Section
  • Suffolk Police Dog Section
  • Suffolk Police Dog Section
  • Suffolk Police Dog Section
  • Suffolk Police Dog Section
  • Suffolk Police Dog Section
  • Suffolk Police Dog Section
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The first four photographs are of the Police Dog Handlers, their dogs and their Instructor, with Teresa and I in the frame as well! This was taken after the ‘tracking exercise’, where the dogs are trained to follow a track with several articles to find on the way.  The dogs go at speed on a tracking harness with nose to the ground to find the various articles on the way and at the end receive their reward.  On a police job it would be a person or a group of people.

Photographs five, six & seven are part of the ‘criminal training’ exercises which teach the dogs to scale walls/fences or go through windows or jump across ditches etc.  Again it is all trained in a fun way and each training exercise only lasts a few minutes before the dogs have a break and a play with their handler. We watched some general obedience, which like all the training exercises are regularly assessed to keep both dog and handler up to a high standard.

Photograph eight is a ‘drug search’ training exercise in woodland.

Photographs nine to thirteen are of the ‘Bite work’ training exercises where one police handler wears a ‘sleeve’ and carries a stick and acts as the villain by  running and making intimidating noises and the dog handler with their dog on the lead shouts for the villain to stop and stand still or the dog will be released, if the villain does not obey the request then the dog is released and runs to the villain and grabs and bites the arm and will not let go until the police dog handler gives a release command.  IF, however the villain chooses to stop and stand still AFTER the dog has been released then the police dog handler will stop the dog in its tracks and this is called a ‘stand off’ which is very impressive to watch.

The final photograph, number fourteen, is of the dog being called off the handler from ‘the bite work’ exercise.  This was instant. What was amazing was how the dogs are trained to switch on and off, from ‘bite work’ to relaxed mode or ’tracking’ to relax mode.  The training of these dogs takes a lot of time, dedication and the correct balance of fair correction and reward.