I decided to pursue training my personal dog to be a police working dog.
I sought out a company that trains working dogs. I had a meeting with a gentleman that owns the company. He was very positive about the idea. Initially I was nervous because I always thought the dog has to be owned by the police department or the company you work for.
After speaking with this gentleman at length come to find out that's not always the case you can own the dog prior to the training and still be able to get multiple contracts and work for the dog without it having to be associated with a Police Department or company. This gave me a new hope. At the recommendation of the owner, (let's call him Brandon, from here on out) I started with self obedience training.
I asked him what the timeline for typical working dog's training is. He said initial obedience training starts at about 8 weeks but they really don't start pushing obedience training until 8 months, because the dog is not mature enough. Wonderful! my dog is 9 months is that going to be an issue. He stated no.
General training timeline:
8wks - 8mths: General obedience
8mths - 12mths: Specified obedience
12mths - 18mths: Job specific training
18mths - 24 mths: certified
Brandon gave me some general commands that they look for when starting to train a dog: Sit, stay, come, drop it, leave it, ect.
The next thing Brandon wanted to know what about the dog's temperament? He wanted to
know what incentivizes the dog? Some of the examples he gave was: treats, a toy, a ball. My dog seems to be partial to the ball. He said use the ball as a training toy. When the dog does something you want it to do, toss the ball to the dog. You have to work on getting the dog to release the ball, when you give the command. Brandon stated the commands you use should be simple and one syllable if possible.
Another Direction Brandon gave me was buy a container of racquetballs and use that as the reward ball. So anytime she sees a racquetball she knows she has to work, that's a reward for doing what she's supposed to be doing. So went out and bought 12 racquetballs. His recommendation was take her to a large field (in our case the dog park) and throw the ball until she is so tired she can't chase it anymore. the goal is every time she comes back get her to drop it right at your feet before you get ready to throw the next one, but make sure she brings it back and returns it directly to you at your feet so we're working on that too.
I went home after the meeting and started to research dog commands. I settled on German. Most of the words used for dog commands in the German language are not something you would hear in normal everyday life so I figured that would probably be the best for my training purposes. So far the dog knows how to sit, lay, and release the ball. I was extremely surprised how incredibly fast she picked up the new terms. It only took one or two times with me physically placing in the position before she understood what I wanted. I sat her down after I said Sitz. I pointed to the ground to get her to lay down after I said Platz. I used drop it initially along with Aus to get her to drop the ball. I have always used Pfui, when I didnt want the dog to bother with something or to leave it alone. I just started using Nine for no.
These are the goals:
English German (Pronunciation)
Sit Sitz (zit-zin)
Down Platz (plah-tz)
Stand Steh (sh-tay)
Stay Bleib (blibe)
Heel Fuss (foos)
Come Hier (heee-a)
Speak Gib Laut (gib-lout)
Jump Hopp (hup)
Fetch Bring (bring)
Go Out Voraus (ver-ous)
Guard Alert Pass Auf (pass-owf)
Search Voran (fo-rahn)
Track Such (soo-kh)
Out/Let Go Aus (owss)
No Pfui or Nein (foo-ee or nine)
The other goal with obedience training is to get the dog to walk right beside your left leg almost touching you the entire time. She's definitely not used to that so we've had a hard time getting her to be right at my left side. But we are working on it.
Here is a video of the ultimate goal....this is an extremely high functioning team!
For a couple weeks, I think she's doing pretty good. Stay tuned!