Police K-9 Attacks also Show Dogs Ignoring "Out" Commands
Richard Bailey Jr. was attacked in the neck by a Lafayette police K-9 on May 9.
Lafayette, IN - In 2014, our nonprofit began collecting police K-9 attacks of innocent bystanders, non-threatening suspects and low-level offenders. We began doing so after reviewing lawsuits filed in the Pacific Northwest and how the "bite and hold" method of training was being tested in the courts. Later that year, Canadian-based Pivot Legal Society released a study that concluded police K-9s were the leading cause of injury by RCMP and municipal forces in British Columbia.
Collecting the volume of K-9 attacks on undeserving people, including attacks on their own handlers, quickly overwhelmed us. No state or federal agency is in charge of tracking police K-9 bite data either. As we collected more cases, it became difficult to ignore the many videos of police being unable to call their K-9s off people -- in one case the officer screamed "Off" 18 times to no avail -- as well as the dogs being used as a proxy for excessive force (see unblurred version).1
"If you can't control your dog, you're a liability. You are no longer an asset to your agency. You are a liability magnet. You are going to get sued. You're going to hurt people and your agency is going to write checks." - K-9 expert, Dr. Charlie Meloh
As we delve into this post, which contains violent and disturbing imagery, it is important to know three things. One, the use of police and military dogs -- the attack dog industry -- exploded after 9-11, which impacted the breeding and training of these dogs. Two, when it comes to police "brutality" in K-9 attacks, it is often a "mentality." Lastly, the "partnership relationship" between an officer and K-9 are rarely seen in videos today. This NPR video provides instructive background.
The best example we could find of an ideal "partnership relationship" between an officer and K-9 occurred in February. Montgomery County Officer D. Richardson and his partner, Axel, responded to a bank robbery. The dynamic partnership and Richardson's control over his K-9 is stunning. After Axel jumped through a broken window (while leashed), Axel waited for Richardson to follow. The two proceeded into a potentially highly confrontational scenario, where no bite event occurs.
The primary goals of a police K-9 are to decrease escalation (as the case of K-9 Axel shows), to assist officers in apprehension and to immobilize suspects who resist arrest by biting and holding one of the suspect's extremities. Remain mindful of these goals while examining the principal video in this post -- the Lafayette, Indiana police K-9 attack of Richard Bailey that was released in July -- along with the other videos that we link to, where these goals have been forgotten.
Workings Dogs & Fatalities
In 2014, a titled protection trained rottweiler (level 2 IPO) attacked a 7-year old boy in the head and neck, killing him. The dog belonged to the child's stepfather, who was the director of Vohne Liche Kennels Executive and Family Protection. Indiana-based Vohne Liche Kennels is a top provider of "social police dogs" to K-9 units across the country.2 Alexandra Semyonova wrote a special report for our post explaining bite work (Schutzhund), the basis of police K-9 training.
In 2015, Semyonova offered more insights into the attack dog industry, including the dark side of commercial sellers of "pre-trained" law enforcement dogs, of which Vohne Liche is one, who she believes are not producing reliable dogs. They participate in a "testosterone-driven culture and a hunt for cash markets," she said. Recently, Vohne Liche was forced to pay $1.35 million to the U.S. Department of Defense for fraudulently submitting claims for labor hours for trainers.3
“We will not tolerate dishonest contractors who seek to enrich themselves at the expense of federal taxpayers.” - United States Attorney Thomas L. Kirsch II.
In 2016, another dog trained in apprehension and bite work, a retired police K-9, attacked two people, killing one in San Luis Obispo County, California. We also dedicated substantial time to that case, documenting the preliminary hearing and final trial, where former officer Alex Geiger was acquitted. "Due to this verdict, a 'retired' police K-9 can now breakout of its property and savagely attack and kill an innocent person without criminal culpability," we wrote after the trial.
Tracking Police K-9 Disasters
We continued tracking individual cases and regional investigations into police K-9 units often rifled with poor training, unstable dogs and excessive force.4 In North Port, Florida, "cowboy" handlers were commanding their dogs to attack unarmed citizens without sufficient evidence to charge a crime. In St. Paul, Minnesota, three high-profile police K-9 attacks were captured on video (2016, 2017 and 2018), including two innocent bystanders and two K-9s ignoring "Out" commands.
North Port paid out $1.4 million in claims and St. Paul $2.6 million. "A Star Tribune review of six years worth of St. Paul police dog bite reports showed that officers lost control of their K-9s on occasion, dogs regularly apprehended people with no instruction from handlers and that some bystanders were attacked while officers were following common practices." Prior to these settlements, North Port and St. Paul bragged about having "awarding winning" police K-9 units.
In 2018, Joseph Pettaway was killed by a police K-9 after the bites ruptured his femoral artery. Deaths are a rare event in K-9 maulings because police are present to call the dog off, stop bleeding, and call for an ambulance. Deaths are also rare because the dogs are trained to attack the arms and legs -- not the head and neck. In another rare fatality, in 2013, Hayward police shelled out $1.5 million for not warning the victim they had deployed the dog in his backyard.
Police K-9 Facial Attacks Rise
In 2019, we started seeing more facial attacks by police K-9s. In the case of Carlos Balli, he was unarmed, but not a low-level offender. The dog attacked his face for 32 seconds and destroyed it (see body cam video).5 The goal of a K-9's training is to render the subject immobile by targeting the arms and legs. Those can be significant injuries too, but are vastly different than a police K-9 targeting the head and neck region, an act of potentially killing, not an attempt to immobilize.
Then the case of Spencer Erickson, 26, in Lakewood, Colorado emerged. That lawsuit alleges police K-9 Finn bit his neck repeatedly leaving him with deep and potentially fatal cuts near his jugular vein.6 Erickson was not a perfect victim, but he was a low-level offender -- he had crawled into an attic and was consuming alcohol and smoking pot. Erickson also had outstanding warrants for a DUI and mischief cases. The K-9 attack resulted in these bites, which could have been fatal.
Two years earlier, K-9 Finn had attacked an officer during a training exercise, biting him on the face and neck. The dog remained on active duty afterward. If you start to follow these cases, you will find these K-9s are rarely taken off the force even when a previous bite has resulted in a lawsuit.
Evaluating Lafayette Video
Before we show you the 16-minute video released by the Lafayette Police Department in July that shows another insidious "neck attack" by a police K-9 to an unarmed suspect, watch how this K-9 immobilized this man. Watch where the dog is biting him. There is debate in the Prescott Valley case that officers did not follow protocol, but there is no debate about the dog's performance -- it did exactly as it was trained to. The dog appears to perform a clean "Out" too (see full video).
In the Prescott Valley video, police at the scene assess the man's bite injuries. The suspect has an upper left arm bite (3:52), where the dog immobilized him, and bites to his hip through his jeans. That dog's training performed an excellent outcome. What you will see in the Lafayette video is profoundly different and disturbing. We encourage you to watch the full 16-minutes to understand the whole context. Also know that the dog involved, K-9 Boyka, was a Vohne Liche Kennels dog.
The confrontation starts at 6:28. officer Saxton enters at 7:58. K-9 Boyka was released in a "door pop" at 8:24. "Here, here, here!" is heard, alerting the dog to its target. The attack begins at 8:28.
In the video, K-9 Boyka attacks Bailey's neck area for 30 seconds (see left side of screen), while an officer handcuffed him. Bailey's arms and a leg are exposed, but the dog targets his neck. Bailey's doctor described his wounds as a punctured trachea, cut carotid artery, damaged tissue in his neck, injuries to his shoulder and a broken finger. Bailey's injuries resulted in him being in a medically induced coma for six days and hospitalized for 11 days, according to his attorneys.
At 8:52, Saxton snaps a leash onto the dog. Officers say to Bailey, "Stop fighting the dog, stop moving," while the dog is still latched onto his neck. At 9:00, the K-9 breaks off, and at 9:04, the dog redirects onto Saxton. As Saxton leads the dog back to his cruiser, he continues to say, "Stop, stop" to the dog. By 9:38 the dog is inside the cruiser. By 9:49, officers are saying "We need medics now!" Though initially conscious, Bailey will later be placed into a medically induced coma.
On June 11, before the release of this video on July 25, the Tippecanoe County prosecutor requested a special prosecutor to investigate three Lafayette officers -- K-9 handler, Sgt. Josh Saxton, Officers Nicholas Klimek and Victor Sikorski for possible crimes. Indiana State Police confirmed they were investigating the officers for possible excessive force in the arrest of Richard Bailey Jr., during which Saxton's police K-9 mauled Bailey's neck, causing life-threatening injuries.
On June 30, and while he was under investigation, Officer Joshua Saxton was promoted to Sergeant and K-9 Boyka was retired under the auspices that a "supervisor" cannot also be a K-9 handler. Saxton was given sole ownership of this dog -- removing any future liability to the city.
On August 15, the members of the board of the Greater Lafayette ACLU penned an editorial and stated in part: "The body cam video shows that the officers permitted the dog to maul Mr. Bailey in the neck. It is not usual police or K-9 training to point a dog at anything but the extremities." They added that a "murder" while in police custody -- referring to George Floyd -- "very nearly did" happen here. As of September 18, the investigation by the special prosecutor remains pending.
In July, Lafayette Police Chief Patrick Flannelly denied a request from the Journal & Courier to inspect the bite records for Boyka during its nearly six years of service with the department. That is a very strong indicator this K-9 has a history of inappropriate bites, as we would expect a "neck biter" to have. Police will eventually be forced to hand over these records to Bailey's attorneys.
Working Dog Trainer Feed Back
We sent the video to a working dog trainer, who provided insight into Eastern Bloc K-9s. "Non NATO/UN countries sell these dogs the cheapest," she said. "There are no human rights in these countries, which could influence the training style to skew towards a high level of aggression/lethal bite targeting of head and neck." She also believes that a belligerent drunk on a moped "does not authorize a straight up door pop," when the dog flies out of the vehicle without a handler.
"CRAZY DOMINANT POSSESSIVE Eastern Bloc dog with no respect of his handler ... dog redirected on the cop. And that dog had access to arms and legs and targeted the neck. They crank the dogs way too high in training while not practicing any control whatsoever ... and this is how it all goes sideways.
That dog could have just as easily targeted the other officer. It is NOT OK to loose a dog like that unless it is truly life and death. A belligerent drunk man on a moped does not authorize a straight up door pop because you cannot influence the dog at all in such a scenario, dog just comes out teeth first and brains last. This dog clearly had very bad training, and I’d be willing to bet it’s like we discussed, cops get the dog and do "too hot" scenario training all the time, no control, choke off, no outs, no frustration tolerance, which is why the dog ate up the cop on the choke off. Macho boys playing with macho toys without having any idea what they are awakening.
I am seeing a connection between Schutzhund going down the tubes (internationally) and all these psycho, out of control malinois in police forces. Vohne Liche Kennels does not account for thin nerves, or dogs with extreme levels of dominance, or those “relationship” dogs that are held in balance by play and genuine affection in addition to respecting the strong dog ... knowing what hill you wish to die on, and what you don’t. These assholes will buy point and shoot dogs from people that don’t speak a word of English.
So that’s one fatality and one very close call from Vohne Liche Kennels. That we know of anyway! What are the odds? The last police dog importer that racked up that many serious mismatches (California K-9 Academy) went out of business after multiple lawsuits. I’m pretty sure Howie, the owner, did a LOT of scenario training as well. He did these big flashy demos before selling crap dogs to Brittney Spears for $50,000 a piece. Or a police dog for $20,000.
Vohne Liche is doing a huge business with some pretty huge disasters without any reflection on their overall reputation. How do they do it?"
[This trainer also pointed us to videos showing solid K-9 take downs and clean Outs. These dogs are assisting officers in apprehension and immobilizing suspects.]
In comments, we would like your feedback on the Lafayette Police Department K-9 neck attack involving Sgt. Josh Saxton, police K-9 Boyka and Richard Bailey Jr. The confrontation starts at 6:28. The attack begins at 8:28 and lasts until 9:00. Was this dog properly deployed on Bailey? Was this excessive force? Should the officer have been promoted two months after the attack?
Our nonprofit began investigating the issue of police K-9 attacks on undeserving people six years ago. These dogs are increasingly being used as a proxy for violence and being deployed on unarmed and low-level offenders, subjecting them to life-long debilitating injuries. The head and neck attacks are increasing as well, subjecting these suspects to potential death. That is not supposed to be the intent of police K-9s; the intent is to immobilize "dangerous" offenders.
The attacks in this report portray white, Black and Latino suspects -- some were never classified as a "defendant" since they were never charged with a crime after the mauling. The Lafayette police K-9 "neck attack" fell squarely within worldwide protests due to the disproportionate police violence inflicted on Black men. Even the ACLU emphasized in this case, referring to police, "Such conduct does not contribute to social peace; in fact, it only allows distrust of police to fester."
Failure to employ correct K-9 techniques and a lack of training in de-escalation techniques is already placing entire K-9 departments at risk.
As we were writing this post, a Salt Lake City K-9 officer was charged with second-degree felony aggravated assault after he deployed his K-9 on a Black man who was on his knees with his hands in the air. Watching the body cam video should make you weep. This dog is being used as a proxy for violence. The whole K-9 unit was suspended afterward.7 This is the extreme polar opposite of how Officer Richardson and his partner Axel responded to a dangerous bank robbery.
If excessive force cases involving police K-9s continue to escalate, taxpayers will grow angrier at funding the resulting lawsuits. With some of these dogs now targeting the head and neck regions, these lawsuits are one step away from wrongful death lawsuits as well. The training techniques and instability of some of these police K-9s, along with "baseless deployment" decisions and excessive force -- described as "barbaric" and "animalistic" by attorneys -- must be reined in.
2In 2013, Alpha Dogs aired on Nat Geo Wild, featuring the owner and staff of Vohne Liche Kennels (VLK). The series only ran for one year. In May 2019 (and possibly while VLKs was negotiating with the DOJ after fraudulently over-billing them), VLK urged its supporters to write to National Geographic asking for another season.
3After the August 14 announcement by the Department of Justice, Performance Kennels Inc., who imports dogs from Solvakia, called out Vohne Liche. "If Vohne Liche is bold enough to try to screw the DOD do you think they would hesitate to screw a law enforcement agency?" It is "high time companies like this were called out by others in the industry. Shame on them." One person who commented on a similar post, stated, "The dogs from VLK are shit."
4The man on the bicycle, Richard Schumacher, suffered a "degloving of the right axilla" injury due to the K-9 mauling in Punta Gorda, Florida (See full body cam video). Schumacher later sued the city and obtained $70,000. Punta Gorda then retired the attacker, K-9 Spirit, to its handler, officer Lee Coel, who had improperly used the dog in the first place. Fortunately, the city replaced K-9 Spirit with two Labrador retrievers for the purposes of drug detection and tracking. Officer Coel later mistakenly shot and killed a woman during a community safety workshop -- his gun was not supposed to be loaded. Coel was fired afterward and later pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter after killing retired librarian Mary Knowlton during the "Shoot Don’t Shoot" demonstration.
5Carlos Balli, 29, was driving a stolen car when he was spotted by an Arizona DPS officer. During the police pursuit, Balli got out of the vehicle and fled on foot through a residential neighborhood then hid behind bushes. His hands were in the air just before DPS Detective Brad Martin released, K-9 Storm on Balli. The dog attacked Balli in the face and arm for 32 seconds. Balli is screaming as the officer tells him to "get on his face" after the K-9 had ripped half of it off. An ambulance does not arrive until 13 minutes later. Two years earlier, K-9 Storm chewed off a portion of an unarmed man's leg, but was not retired afterward. Balli is suing the state for $2 million dollars.
6Erickson v. City of Lakewood, Colorado et al., (District of Colorado, 1:2019cv02613). "While the Individual Defendants [police] downplayed the severity of Mr. Erickson’s injuries in their reports and covered his lacerations and bite wounds in photographs taken on scene, photographs taken at the hospital illustrate the severity, lethality, and shocking unreasonableness of the police conduct that created Mr. Erickson’s injuries … If these wounds had been mere millimeters deeper, Mr. Erickson would be dead," states the complaint.
7The recent felony charge against Salt Lake K-9 Officer Nickolas Pearce marks the first time we have seen this after an active duty police K-9 mauling. Prosecutors said Jeffrey Ryans "wasn't resisting arrest" at the time. "He certainly wasn't posing an imminent threat of violence or harm to anyone and he certainly wasn't concealed." If massive civil lawsuits don't force some of these K-9 departments to change, maybe criminal charges will.
Police Dogs Should Be Trained as Officers, Not Equipment
Police K-9 Dog Bite Studies and Regional Investigations - DogsBite.org
First, quote snip title of this valuable study: “We Are All in Trouble When Trained Police K-9s Attack…” Yes. Any time a human being is in proximity to a dangerous canine, the human being is at risk of grave threat. Period.
Next: I recall national news stories about how police K-9 handlers are forced to be required to shoot their own trained K-9s when their own K-9 attacks its own handler. These news stories are full of lots of content relating to how the officer grieves the loss of his partner, because of the strong emotional bond that he formed with it. Yet, despite the strong emotional feelings for his K-9, the officer is forced to shoot his dog. It appears that such emotional bonding is unilateral, and not mutual, as evidenced by the way that the K-9s savagely attack their handlers.
Next: I have resided continuously for 26 years ten miles from Prescott Valley, in Prescott, so I am painfully fully aware of full, complete local societal and local legal sentiment strongly in favor of dangerous dogs, and I am painfully fully aware of local societal and local legal sentiment strongly against victims of fully fearsome attacking dogs.
My feedback on the Lafayette Police Department K-9 neck attack. “Was this dog properly deployed on Bailey?” No. Because: “Was this excessive force?” Yes. Because the officers could have removed him from the moped without resorting to grave body harm force. “Should the officer have been promoted two months after the attack?” No.
I will mention that known cases where trained police K-9s cause unwanted and excessive injury number among the small minority. Most such cases are unknown, because they go unreported by official sources and because they go unreported by news media sources and therefore are never brought to public attention.
Thank you, Colleen, for bringing this under color of law grave threat to attention, via your exhaustive work.
And, of course, there’s the Birmingham police department’s use of dogs against peaceful civil rights protestors back in the 1960s.
Quiet: That still goes on at protests across North America. It’s not over, yet.
Holy sh*t. They’re allowed to use potentially lethal force on belligerent drunks now? Drunk driving is a crime, but compare the damage this guy could have done on a MOPED compared to the average SUV.
Was the dog properly deployed? Heck no! IMHO, the dog should have been shot the minute it latched on to the guy’s neck. Seriously, that hold should be a death sentence for any police dog.
Excessive force? Yes. It’s stupid to argue with cops and it’s stupid to drive drunk, but this is the equivalent of being shot or stabbed for mouthing off.
Should the handler have been promoted? No. Police are supposed to PROTECT and Server. Sh*t happens, but a responsible cop would have got the dog off when it latched on to the guy’s neck, even if it meant killing it.
As a stock dog owner, it stuns and terrifies me how little control the handlers have over these dogs in most of the video links above. I wouldn’t have my dogs on livestock if I had that poor a ‘handle’ on them for fear of injuring the livestock, and these cops are using bigger, more aggressive dogs on humans.
I remember seeing info on a couple of dog attacks in Canada when the K9s were released to seek a suspicious person but found an innocent bystander and mauled them. Another risk of aggressive dogs.
The videos on this post are heartwrenching. So painful to watch that I could not watch all of them. In the three I did watch, the suspects were clearly surrendered and standing or sitting still when out of nowhere the dogs attack. Seeing how a mallnois bites, holds, shakes, and pulls makes it clear this is not a good breed for this type of work. Police units all but moved away from GSDs citing back and hip issues from jumping in and out of resulting in these dogs not lasting as long in service. The GSD had been a safer choice.
BLM focuses on police brutality in regards to firearm and choking deaths. Maybe the movement should be aware of the injuries caused by these dogs.
GSDs, Bouviers and Dobes are far better choices IMO. Malis are too high drive and once turned ON they often won’t turn OFF. The problem with GSDs was the hip dysplasia. They can’t scale a fence or run overtop of a car etc. They need to be bred out, then bred back for health, like pointers were but then the breed clubs would go into melt down.
Remember, it’s all about the money?
The problem with Bouviers and Rottweilers are, although they are far more temperamentally suited in many cases, they tend to be “one-person” dogs and it is costly to train a dog where it needs to be with the handler from puppyhood (or at least 10-11 months) and trained with the handler for another year to get the best result. And then, it may wind up being temperamentally unsuited and all that money is down the crapper.
This is about maximizing profit from these dogs with the least amount of effort. It isn’t about the safety of the officers, considering how many wind up getting mauled by their own dogs.
Today’s GSDs — and I think this applies to both American and European lines — are significantly heavier than the early generation GSDs, which were about the size of today’s Mals.
Photo of a German Shepherd in 1925. Note how lean the dog is.
I’m not sure if the bulking up of GSDs is responsible for the hip problems. Aside from that (or, in addition to that), the roachback look has been an unnecessary and terribly ruinous direction in which to breed these dogs.
Well-trained K9s are very expensive. I don’t know what kind of budget local PDs have, but I hope they are not cutting corners up front trying to get less-than-well-trained K9s on the cheap. Because ultimately it costs more in the long run to pay out on lawsuits.
Thanks for covering one of my favourite rant topics Colleen!
Been saying that protection dog handling practises are horrifying for *decades*. These dogs are being used as substitute weapons and ego massagers, not lifesaving tools.
The point of a dog, is disarming/diversion/psychological threat to ensure the handler’s safety.
There is absolutely NO reason to deploy the dog *until* the handler is at risk. Then, if it is properly trained, it will go straight for the weapon hand, accomplishing 2 things. 1) disarming+holding 2) creating a diversion to allow the handler time to respond. In the case of someone running away *with a weapon* the dog can knock down+hold until the handler can arrive.
As for crappy dog training practises, unless a dog will OUT 100% of the time (toys, food etc) it shouldn’t begin training for bite work. A well-trained dog doesn’t *bite* until told or the handler is incapacitated. It should be trained to “watch” (meaning bark and look menacing) which does NOT mean to attack.
Trainers have forgotten the basics and if you can’t instil those because as a trainer you are incompetent or the dog is just too stupid and/or temperamental–that dog should be flunked, even if it is a 10k Mali.
Again, it’s all about the money. Don’t kid yourselves. Trainers charge big dollars for these dogs with zero guarantee of the dogs’ resultant behaviour. Then, there’s zero guarantee the dog handler will abide by the consistency of training that the trainer worked to instil.
Again, the good ol’ trainers before toy addictions and cookie wavers–had this right. Go back to Barbra Woodhouse (who, hilariously enough trained Great Danes for police work, none of which every hospitalised a target) and Kohler who *knew* the dangers of the dogs he trained and knew most dogs were *not* naturally inclined to be good at this job as they’d buckle or overreact under the pressure.
There are buckets of articles about cadaver dogs that can’t find a corpse in a graveyard and drug sniffers that can’t tell the difference between bacon and bennies. It would be hilarious except for the poor arrested sods that are the brunt of this canine incompetence.
Police/protection work is not a good fit for 90% of large dogs, even those bred for it. Nobody in their right mind would buy/train a protection dog and think it’s a pet–until YouTube came along with dog trainers selling protection dogs for tens of thousands of dollars.
I knew one that was banging them out at 5-10k after 6 weeks training. That’s barely enough training to pass a basic obedience trial at the CKC.
Thanks to technology there are far better methods of doing many kinds of work than using a dog. Don’t get me wrong, I trained them and worked with them for years but I respect them and I saw what happened when handling was about ego as well as the bond of a really good dog partner.
Police, in general now, have been overly militarized and have proven time and time again, they are too unstable to handle even basic weapons. Time to take away their lethal toys (except for SWAT teams) and that includes dogs. The taxpayers shouldn’t be having to pay out pantloads of wrongful death/maiming suits because the police department/unions are afraid of cleaning house.
TLDR; Protection dogs are often trained like crap and handled by unstable officers. Stop it.
Police dogs in the USA get most of their training overseas. Training is only finished in the USA. The dogs are supposed to stay with their handlers for, I think, six weeks. I doubt if this always occurs.
Police also use dogs which are half GSD and half Malinois. A local dog whose handler was killed was half GSD/half Malinois.
When police officers shoot their own dogs, the dogs are usually out of control Malinois.
After watching numerous videos on YouTube now where the officers cannot get the dogs off I am left with one question.
When the dog didn’t OUT on the first command, why did they not HANG THE DOG until it let go?
This is something pitbull owners never do during attacks, either. FFS a dog that cannot breathe will let go and won’t reject the OUT command next time. Did the dog trainer not tell them this?
Yeah it’s mean. No kidding. But these are serious dogs mauling people. It’s not for the faint-hearted.
I suspect that they stopped using OUT because the dogs are so inadequately trained that they’re afraid if the target shouts OUT…the dog will release instead of only responding to the handler. Which is what happens when there are several handlers (sometimes including the bite sleeve target) that can command the dog. Does that video look like it “lessened the chances of a second bite”? (can you hear my eyes rolling at the statement by SDPD?)
Contrary to what it appears to the normal eye in that video– grabbing the dog by the collar at the sides and shaking it is also a technique called “agitating the dog” and the reason is to *excite the dog to bite harder* not to force a release. It doesn’t choke the dog, it encourages it. Pitbull owners make this error all the time on video during maulings.
It was a common technique with dog trainers a few decades ago although I can’t say that with the use of clatter sticks for agitation, that it’s still common. The principle remains, though.
IMO this handler is either panicking, doesn’t understand that he is exciting the dog, or is making a show of releasing the dog while agitating it. I can’t speak to his motivation.
He had several options at this point. Grab the back legs of the unleashed dog and wheelbarrow it in a circle so it scrambled for balance and dropped the man (won’t always work on pitbulls, works on other large breeds)…or use a leash/handle and haul the dog straight up, all four feet off the ground.
Note that he can’t seem to get the dog off until he turns his back to the camera. At that point, he may have pulled straight up, strangling it to force the release because from what I can see, the dog is much higher in the air than it is while he is agitating it. The leash seems to be caught underneath the poor fellow the dog is mauling.
The dog is poorly trained, as is the officer–unless he’s a brute.
Using dogs for protection work this way is, as far as I’m concerned, is overtly abusive to the dog and dangerous to humans. I’m not surprised that dogs handled in this manner keep mauling their handlers and anyone else they can get a grip, on.
Here is a similar (new style) dog training video, speaking about agitation by soft choking the dog.
This is a story for 60 Minutes. I’m old enough to remember peaceful civil rights protesters being attacked by these dogs. We see from the videos, it’s still happening. In our dog worship culture, people only want to hear feel good stories about canines. All we ever hear about is police dogs being “heroes.” (I hate that over-used term.) I remember years ago, my docile Golden nicking her ear, and how she started licking her own blood. She became almost frantic with the taste of it. It’s a primal instinct that kicks in. These attack dogs are clearly excited by the taste of blood. How many Black people have been victims of this kind of overkill? Again, a story for 60 Minutes to consider.
Bingo. You nailed it, Terry. At the root of this and so many of our problems is the dog worship culture.
Until dogs are put back in their proper place — they’re unpredictable animals and NOT humans — we’ll continue to experience attacks, maulings, and fatalities.
Thanks for covering this topic. It’s an important one, and another case of dogs bred for completely useless and destructive behaviors, then placed in the hands of the people least able to control their own worst instincts. I haven’t watched the videos yet, but remember the news footage of guard dogs being set on protestors (by a private agency, not police) a few years ago at the Dakota pipeline. It was so obviously low-quality dog handling. Something about aggression and bitework is just toxic with many people; they lose their damn minds.
Who the EVER LOVING FARK has a protection dog on a *prong collar* when it’s working? (I have nothing against properly used prongs for training)
That’s what “agitation” (fancy name for heavy leather wide flat buckle collars) are for. And when around pitbull nutters, preferably one with anti-grip studs.
(google ’em folks)
Do these flaming dimwits not know that prong collars can pop a prong thus freeing the dog if the dog is wildly agitated and twisting?
Anybody remember when American Indian Movement used to break up police dog brigades by letting loose b*tches in heat?
Terry, This is just ONE recent example from BLM where the dog is clearly agitated, the officer is refuses to get the dog under control it so lunges out and grabs a protester. If you go to hashtag “bluefall” on twitter, they have many more.
That’s what happens when you’re armed with a soft drink. /s
Just search Police Dogs and Protests and watch how wound up the dogs are. A good dog would be calm, awaiting commands. Watch how often when police are walking their K9s the dogs are *not* heeling. If a handler is so incompetent that the dog will not even do a basic heel, they are not competent enough to handle one that will attack on command.
Boni, You always give such great examples when you make a point. So much wisdom here. Also, courage on Colleen’s part. I believe that a well-trained dog is a good dog. (Rude kids are no fun either. 🙂 You brought up heeling. I trained all my dogs to heel. I’ve noticed with pit bulls especially, they’re usually dragging their owners behind them. Heeling seems to have gone out of style across the board. Owners don’t understand the whole alpha thing. As you observed, these police dogs are locked & loaded….incredibly amped up. Even their handlers can’t handle them!
Heeling and use of chokers has gone out of style. I trained dogs with choke chains as they are and effective tool. Thirty plus years ago, I associated using a harness with puppies or dogs too young for a collar/choker and with seeing eye dogs. Now, every dog wears a harness and sled dogs its owner down the stress. Without the choker, the handler loses a lot of control.
Christy, thanks for the information. I remember using a more gentle choke collar (not spike ones) at training sessions. It got to the point where just the quick pull and noise would make my dog heel. Once trained, my dogs would heel with a regular leather collar. I often see pits in spiked collars and still dragging the person down the street. Of course, in so many attacks they bolt…collar or no collar.
Police dogs in the USA get most of their training overseas. Training is only finished in the USA. The dogs are supposed to stay with their handlers for, I think, six weeks. I doubt if this always occurs.
Police also use dogs which are half GSD and half Malinois. A local dog whose handler was killed was half GSD/half Malinois.
When police officers shoot their own dogs, the dogs are usually out of control Malinois.
There’s the nail on the head right there Colleen. The dogs have no standard training because it impacts the dollars.
It’s like training trials. The standards have been lowered to keep the money rocketing in from the clueless. Always trained in arenas and controlled areas. Proves absolutely nothing as 90% of dog training should be devoted to proofing the dog against distractions so it is safe in a social environment.
The sad part is, the failing dogs might be perfectly suited to do something else with the correct retraining (such as cage release or property guards) the same way failed seeing eye dogs are often amazing companion dogs.
Maybe I’m an idiot, or old-school or something but this is very simple to me.
If the target does not have a weapon or attack the handler directly, the dog should not bite. Period. Running away in fear shouldn’t result in a person being maimed for life.
There are a number of useful commands for such situations such as body slamming a running suspect that don’t make the dog an unhinged lunatic that has to be abused to stop doing what it was trained to do.
It’s either that or get rid of them.
Anything less is animal abuse and cruelty to humans.
Terry and Christy:
This video literally made me cry. Because truly, “Positive” trainers have replaced corrections and love with food and shouting and cheap pet shop gimmicks–which is why dogs are all nervous, confused wrecks. The video put its finger on a problem I couldn’t quite describe.
Thought you two folks might like it. The comment section is also enlightening.
(sorry, a bit off topic Colleen)
That was pretty informative, Boni. Thanks.
I can’t pretend to know anything about how a police dog or a service dog is trained. But that video, the first method, the German method that was what I learned when I took a dog to an old-fashioned obedience class. It was work. It was very effective. I remember when I saw people training their dogs with treats. I found this confusing and I found fat dogs. Later, use of a clicker followed by a treat became popular. It was touted as the way Seaworld trains the sea mammals. We all know how that turned out.
You mean you didn’t get dragged down the street by a dog in a harness while you waved bacon bits around as it mangled the neighbour’s poodle and then their granny? You paid for some cheapo course that didn’t last for years and worked in a month or so because the instructions were simple and clear?
Your dog actually learned to pay attention to you and follow commands so your walking experience was calm and pleasant?
You Troglodyte! You didn’t read the “science”! (paid for by pet snack and leash companies)
Hush Woman! Yer grievously cuttin’ into a bizness model of stringing along clueless, sentimental owners for months until the inevitable lawsuit by said murdered poodle’s owner and their granny’s estate.
Stop that. #TooMuchCommonSense
I am often left sickened and saddened when I read comments like “good dog” etc. after a police dog has severely mauled the face/neck of an escaped shoplifter or other very mild crime. I always thought the K9 unit dogs only attacked arms or legs? Since when are these powerful, attack TRAINED dogs allowed to maul throats?
Colleen, Dunno where you’d file this but it’s just proof that the “rescue rabbit hole” goes deeper than you’d think. (you can delete but I’ve got the same suspicions about some of these pitbull “happy video” channels, as well…
Colleen, that’s Email?
Cuz I’ve been coming across several maulings PER DAY across North America. Mostly I send the ones that are grievous for other reasons. Or the out and out killings.
Hi Boni, Yes, that is email. Of 40 hospital admission severe maulings per day in the USA, only very few are reported to the public. I email some of them to Colleen. Also, I see that you are very knowledgeable in this area, your posts are very informative. 🙂
Thanks Richard. I look forward to your posts, as well.
Wow. Just Wow. Perhaps an Excel sheet tracking those would produce another set of stats?
When people say “BSL doesn’t work” the fact is, even followed up rarely (as in Ontario) *it helps*. It means that Pitbull owners are aware that one bite, and their dog is euthanized, no second chances–causing them to act more carefully although they still refuse to muzzle their dogs.
Dog bites rarely get reported here, at all, either unless something is odd about the story. Occasionally, someone with good media contacts might get a story in about how their dog died in the jaws of a dog but when I was dog training–I heard about it a lot more back then. It wasn’t uncommon to work with dog-aggressive (not murder dogs) dogs (and fix them) but it was *nothing* like today’s prevalence where it seems that every second dog is “leash reactive”–which means people handling or near the dog are all at risk, as well. For me, the question becomes “what changed”? That comes down to genetics, amount of inexperienced dog owners, how the dogs were purchased, and then, the handling/treatment of those dogs.
Police/protection dogs are far more prevalent in some places as well as training has changed. The dogs are under greater pressure and less able to handle that pressure calmly due to training them to be excited by their *performance*, rather than obedient to commands.
This theme is getting picked up by local papers:
This topic made national news today : https://www.usatoday.com/in-depth/news/investigations/2020/10/02/police-use-of-force-dog-bite-k-9-investigation-excessive-force-arrests-lawsuits/5879123002/
Protection trained dogs are potentially deadly weapons. They are NOT pets or public relations fodder. It’s time they were treated as such–instead of attacks being palmed off as any different than either shooting, or furiously beating someone with a sidehandle.
When looked at that way, it’s easier to see when they should be deployed, and when they should not.