K9 Abuse? Or Not?


This is getting a lot of internet traction lately. When I first watched it I was expecting something a LOT worse than what I saw. I think people are transferring the emotions they have for their family pet onto a working police dog.

While a person who has never been around Police K9’s may find this video shocking, because this is obviously something they would never do to their family pet, I’m not so quick to pass judgement on this officer. These Dogs can be exceedingly dominant and driven and are exceedingly tough. They do things your average dog would never do and are trained in ways your average dog is not.

In order to get some of these dogs to drop something from their mouths (which this dog had…watch the officer pick it up after) sometimes these handlers have to do things that may appear shocking to the unitiated because these dogs don’t pay attention to anything less. They are trained to drag fighting people to the ground after-all…they don’t scare easily and don’t even feel what may look like “abusive” blows. What good would a Police dog be if he was scared off by a suspect striking him?

Look. I’m not K9 trained…and I’m not defending the technique used here, If it’s determined that this was something more akin to he officer exhibiting frustration and anger at the dog than he deserves what he gets. Perhaps some handlers have less visually shocking methods to handle a highly driven dog and this PD should be looking into them, but for now I’m not 100% sold on the “OMG Animal Abuse” meme starting around this one. The dogs body language and wagging tail after he drops what he had tends to make me think the dog isn’t either.

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3 thoughts on “K9 Abuse? Or Not?”

  1. A quote from a K9 handler on a Police Forum I read:

    “First let me start by saying I would not abuse an animal. Now that is clear. I am an officer, 22 years on the street 17 in K9. What he did was not abusive. What he did by hanging the dog is a hard out. This is often done with high drive dogs. This did not hurt the dog. Watch the dog when he released and is heading back to the car. He is happy, still ready to work and is not cowering or afraid of the handler. The problem is we put human emotion into dog training. The dog understood what just happened. This is how dogs interact in the pack.”

  2. Have a three-year old German Shepard male, 90 pounds. When he was just over a year old he was well trained but had aggression/behavior issues. I was worried he was going to seriously injure someone, or worse. I’ve had dogs my whole life and understood the alpha male/dominance thing, but my German Shepard was a totally different challenge. I called my Air Force buddy who was Security Forces and a military dog handler/trainer. He lived a few hours away but came down for a weekend to help me get my dog straightened out. He explained that with large aggressive breeds you have to get real hardcore or they won’t respect you as their superior. Basically, incredibly physical and highly agressive corrections are not out of the question and are often necessary. If performed correctly, the dog will not resent you, he will respect you. He is bred to take licks. We are talking about a dog that could literally kill you if he wanted to. The thing that prevents that from happening is respect, and with a breed like that, the respect is not earned by being sweet and cutesy. I don’t condone animal abuse, but sometimes I have to get physical with my dog to bring him back to Earth, so to speak.

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