Training the Police and Military Working Dog Helper with Franco Angelini-
Part 4 – Bite Suit Training
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 last production in our four part series with Franco, we expand upon the information in Part 3, the creation of muscle memory. By introducing the dog in Part 4, we now address the issues that arise when presentation is faulty, how the dog is “worked” and the critique of performance throughout. Through a variety of examples, we demonstrate and detail the importance of each step of the muscle memory progression as Franco gives the viewer advice on what to look for on video.
Getting started, we finalize the Teaching Phase by introducing the mechanics of leg bites. Utilizing the biological principal of “prey-kill”, Franco discusses how to mimic the natural order of prey behaviors while discussing the dog’s alignment on the intended leg, hand position during execution of the bite and how to “fall” safely while addressing the physical limitations of the apex. Time is spent on leg bites because the majority of agencies train bites on the upper body and it’s important for the professional service K9 to avoid false engagements. The unwillingness to engage what’s presented presents a liability where reliability and handler safety are concerned.
Next, we turn to the Training Phase and address the rotational back bite. We again emphasize the steps involved and reinforce that correct form and timing will allow even a slow presentation to be successful in placing the dog well onto the suit. Our goal is to provide the helper an “eye” so that the multiple examples in this title can be scrutinized. Stance at the apex, hand position, body posture, rotation, footwork and more are emphasized as key components to success. The transition to downfield bites is covered as well, emphasizing energy transfer, footwork and dog placement. Through the “barrage” , “blade” and pull, a smooth downfield catch is detailed and demonstrated. Common errors are shown and discussed as well.
The frontal body bite is introduced on the back-tie and the modifications to body posture, presentation and timing are detailed. The structure of the suit and its relation to hand position produces a “bar” in the suit that the dog can target. Once on the suit, the first environmental change, “hooking in” is introduced and discussed in detail. Safety, control and issues with incorrect hand position are discussed. Examples of falls, lifts as well as safe recoveries from both are demonstrated. Once these are explained the transition to frontal core bites at a distance is introduced.
During distance bites, Franco explains different bite suit presentations based on the experience of the dog. Regardless of age, the “double arm up” is employed to introduce novice dogs to frontal bites and the quick transition to a standard presentation is shown. Hand position, footwork, the fulcrum of balance and the inevitable take down are discussed. The communication between handler and helper is emphasized at this point and helper safety is again discussed. Because distance bites are inherently high speed and can result in less than ideal initial grips, setting the grip and marking the bite is again emphasized.
Leg bites are demonstrated on the back-tie on a number of dogs. The steps in approach, presentation, handler position for helper safety and communication are discussed and detailed. Because many K9 units don’t approach this systematically, we detail the process with multiple examples that discuss dog behavior, auditory communication and body language as reinforcement and “blocking out” the dog through handler position to protect the helper. The proximity to the apex, safe fall to the ground and consideration of the physics of the apex are all discussed for success.
Finally, we additional interview footage with Franco where he discusses a number of topics of interest.
Part 2 – Teaching Mechanics
Part 3 - Training
- The Rotational Back Bite
- The Rotational Back Bite – Adding Distance
- The Frontal Bite
- The Frontal Bite – Adding Distance
Copyright 2020 Canine Training Systems®, 16:9 Widescreen Hi-Definition, 1 hour 20 minutes, Podium View™ On Demand Streaming.