Training the Police and Military Working Dog Helper with Franco Angelini-
Part 3 – Bite Suit Mechanics
Franco Angelini is in high-demand worldwide for his professional K9 seminars in the areas of police service, military and Special Forces applications. His sold out seminar schedule keeps him incredibly busy year round on multiple continents so that host agencies can better train, develop and understand the vital role of the helper in professional service. With over 900 K9 team certifications since 1989, Franco has garnered the nickname, The K9 Bite Doctor.
In this third production in our four part series with Franco, we expand upon the information in Part 1 and 2 and provide a framework for progression with the body bite suit. We continue on our path toward creating an “aura of invincibility” in the professional working dog through a strategic approach toward confident biting in core areas of the suit. In seminars on multiple continents, Franco has observed that biting in core areas is a skill lacking in many professional service dogs. Because the suit is regarded as en environmental change, it’s important that the dog already meets the behavioral milestones established in Part 2 which include full grips, ideal mind state, forward behavior and a social domination mindset.
Because the body bite suit is not a tool used to improve the quality of the bite itself, it is often utilized ineffectively, inefficiently and even incorrectly. The body bite suit, except in very specific training situations, is used to teach the dog to bite in areas a sleeve doesn’t protect. Through a logical, step-by-step progression, utilizing the back-tie and physics of the apex, we will create muscle memory for the mechanical skills required to provide ideal bite placement. Each step of bite suit presentation is taught in isolation and then chained together to form single movements. Franco uses this approach not only to introduce bite placement on the suit, but also when introducing new skills to the dog. Simplicity creates clarity and our goal is to prepare the helper to work towards tactical scenarios and real world success.
Because helper safety is always a concern, suit fit, mobility and handling skills are all emphasized. Where suit selection impacts work with the dog, proper fit is emphasized and examples of the limitations caused by poorly selected and fitting suits are demonstrated. Because the helper is becoming accustomed to the weight, fit and mobility of the suit, Franco reminds the helper to use authentic auditory signals for consistency. This is equally important because the body bite suit represents an environmental change and communication remains the pathway to reinforcement and clarity. In addition, we demonstrate and discuss the importance of “hooking in” on frontal body bites. This is critical for helper protection when working the dog on and off the back-tie. Common errors are demonstrated and the critical link to the fit of the suit is demonstrated.
The rotational back bite is the first mechanical skill taught. Because the dog can only bite what crosses the apex, the incremental steps in a successful presentation are demonstrated and practiced with an assistant. Because muscle memory is critical for precise movement and consistent bite placement, this skill is cemented prior to adding distance downfield. Because the fulcrum of balance is now shifted from the sleeve to the back of the suit, Franco teaches correct footwork while emphasizing “Energy Out, Check the Bite”. Franco discusses the “barrage” and “blade” and how these conceptual ideas couple with the pull and drive through the catch to produce an ideal bite target for the dog on downfield bites. These concepts are utilized with the handler as an assistant to assist with timing and to help ensure full grips and energy transfer back to the ground through smooth footwork.
The skills needed for online frontal body bites are taught while practicing bite placement, balance points and hooking in through the use of an assistant. The order of players on the back-tie is emphasized as well as how to safely perform falls and lifts which modify the environmental picture. This includes “hooking in”, rising from downed positions and preparing to work the dog on the open field. While working downfield, Franco again uses assistants and discusses the double arm up, it’s purpose and the progression to the standard presentation of both arms behind the back. A discussion about bite suit design, bite placement and natural bite bars in the suit is discussed as well.
This video is the precursor to Part 4 which has a primary focus on training the dog. Part 3 utilizes both assistants and dogs to demonstrate motor patterns, correct muscle memory and issues pertaining to faulty work. The goal of this title is to cement muscle memory so that in Part 4 of this series, the helper can focus on suit work strictly with the dog, grip work during placement on new areas of the suit, distance work, handler approach and the core body bites. In addition, we will fully introduce leg bites as an often missing core area.
Part 1- The Helper
Part 2 – Teaching Mechanics
- Rules for the Helper
- The Body Bite Suite
- The Rotational Back Bite
- The Open Field Back Bite
- On Line Frontal Body Bites
Copyright 2020 Canine Training Systems®, 16:9 Widescreen Hi-Definition, 1 hour 16 minutes, Podium View™ On Demand Streaming.