Moving on to the bite suit; it provides the decoy protection to the entire body with exception to the head unless wearing a helmet. Up until now, the decoy has been presenting a target/threat to the canine for them to bite. Now, with the use of a bite suit, the decoy can present the arms or legs as a target/threat without switching out equipment. There are even hidden bite suits available to be worn under street clothes.
During all the training, whether it is with a sleeve or bite suit, you must conduct bite and no bite scenarios. The canine must be alert and ready to protect the handler, but not trying to bite everyone. The drive of the canine must ALWAYS be under control. If you send the canine out for an apprehension, and the subject suddenly complies upon seeing the canine coming and gets in the prone position, you should be able to call the canine off to either a heel or sit and watch, but no bite. Upon getting the bite, the canine should do as trained and stay on the subject until called off. Then the canine should release and return to the handler and not continue trying to bite the subject until told to if needed.
Canine bite work is not just for subject apprehension, but for handler protection as well. During the training, the bond between the canine and handler will become very strong. With that bond will be the natural want to protect their handler, but that should also be worked on during training. During training, you should setup various scenarios where the handler is being attacked and the canine reacts without command to protect the handler. This could be after a bite, the canine has been put in a down stay while the handler is handcuffing the subject, and the subject starts fighting/attacking the handler. Another scenario could be the canine is in the cruiser and the handler is attacked. Canine gets deployed with a remote door popper and comes to the aid of the handler.
Closing thoughts…again I want to say, make it fun for the canine. The canine wants to please you, make you happy and as the bond between you the handler and the canine, the deeper that want to please you becomes. If the canine is struggling with something, don’t get frustrated, it happens. Go back to something that the canine does well, have them do it and then reward them. The canine can get frustrated too. Remember, they want to please you and get rewarded for it. If they aren’t getting rewarded, they will get frustrated. At that point, it is pointless to continue the training; that is why you step back to something they do well, reward them and move on.
As I stated in the beginning, it is difficult to summarize months’ worth of training into a couple of pages. There is a lot involved in training a working canine. This article certainly isn’t going to cover everything, but I hope it gives you something to think about. Please feel free to make comments; we are all here to learn.