Elvis the police dog trains with Const. Jason Giso of Calgary Police Service. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/ Advocate staff).

Police dogs teams from across Canada train in Springbrook

National police dog training seminar runs in the Red Deer area

Elvis the barking police dog could hardly wait to sink his teeth into trainer Jason Giso on Tuesday.

The large, excited German shepherd leapt up on Giso and locked his strong jaw around his padded forearm.

Despite some struggle, Elvis wouldn’t let go — which is exactly how police dog handlers wanted it at the three-day Canadian Police Canine Association’s Spring Seminar. It wrapped up Wednesday in Red Deer and Springbrook.

Const. Ian Vernon, of Calgary Police Service, said the “bite-and-hold technique” keeps suspects from getting away, while minimizing injury.

“You try to get the dogs to bite once, and then to bite down deeper,” said Vernon, since this effectively holds the suspect while causing only three or four puncture wounds that can be cleaned and might not require stitches.

It’s better than having the dog bite multiple times, causing numerous wounds, or even taking a chunk of flesh, added Vernon. “Part of this is injury prevention.”

This training exercise was repeated with members of 24 police dog teams from across Canada in Springbrook on Tuesday afternoon. The dogs were taught to restrain suspects inside an empty building at the former army base, as well as on the lawn outside, so they get used to different environments, said Const. Peter Baxter of the Red Deer RCMP.

The working canines can get uncomfortable if they aren’t exposed to all situations, he added. But a well-trained police dog always knows which person to go after.

“They know uniforms are off-limits, and the bad guy is usually in the centre (of the action). They take a second to look around, then they go after the suspect.”

Police officers also tend to get more respect having a dog by their side. In his three years of working with Deny, a Red Deer RCMP German Shepherd, Baxter has noticed that most suspects don’t try to outrun a police dog.

“You say, ‘Police dog service!’ and they stop…. You don’t have to release the Kraken,” he joked.

Whenever suspects run, they try to hide — “which presents a risk to the public because we don’t know if they have weapons,” said Baxter. Police dogs are, therefore, trained to look for exposed body parts, such as a leg sticking out from under a table.

Giso, of Calgary Police Service, said some dogs need to be taught to bite down on a human leg, because it doesn’t come naturally. In a training exercise, he waves a leg pad in front of a dog to get him to bite it. Eventually, the pad is strapped to his own leg so the dog gets used to a new sensation.

Seminar organizer Cpl. Daniel Block, of Red Deer RCMP, has attended training sessions like this across Canada because they are useful for learning different tips and approaches from other police departments.

“We gain more knowledge all the time of what police dogs can do.”

lmichelin@reddeeradvocate.com

 

Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff Elvis the police dog trains with Const. Jason Giso of Calgary Police Service.

Just Posted

WATCH: More than $26,000 raised at Red Deer Coldest Night of the Year

It may not have legitimately been the coldest night of the year,… Continue reading

Two suffer serious injuries in collision near Blackfalds

Two people suffered serious injuries in a collision Saturday morning near Blackfalds.… Continue reading

Canada’s men’s hockey team beats Czechs to win Olympic bronze

GANGNEUNG, Korea, Republic Of — Canada’s men’s hockey team has won the… Continue reading

Trudeau ends troubled India trip in his comfort zone of hockey and youth

NEW DELHI — When the going for a Canadian prime minister gets… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer’s River Bend upgrades officially open

River Bend Golf and Recreation Area is the latest venue to be… Continue reading

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

He loved ‘Black Panther’ comics as a kid – then Marvel asked him to write a novel for the movie

WASHINGTON - Jesse Holland grew up devouring Marvel comic books about Black… Continue reading

Two suffer serious injuries in collision near Blackfalds

Two people suffered serious injuries in a collision Saturday morning near Blackfalds.… Continue reading

WATCH: Top Biathletes descend on Red Deer

With the 2018 Winter Olympics wrapping up, some of the next generation… Continue reading

As Olympics wrap up, still no coverage in North Korea

PYEONGCHANG, Korea, Republic Of — While hundreds of millions of the world’s… Continue reading

Supplier to NHL’s Calgary Flames breathes again as B.C. wine ban suspended

VICTORIA — The operators of a small British Columbia winery that landed… Continue reading

Duncan apologizes for behaviour after drunken joyride in Pyeongchang

PYEONGCHANG, Korea, Republic Of — Canadian ski cross racer Dave Duncan is… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month