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Law Enforcement Resources

Police and Dog Encounters (Video Series)

Police and Dog Encounters is a five-video series that prepares law enforcement officers for interactions with dogs in the line of duty. The series, which can be downloaded at no charge, was funded and developed by the National Canine Research Council in partnership with Safe Humane Chicago and the United States Department of Justice.

The video training series:

  • shows officers how to recognize the signs a dog may be present, how to avoid unnecessary encounters with dogs, and how to distinguish between warning signals and signs of friendliness when they must enter a dog’s space;
  • teaches simple techniques that help officers see the effect of body language on a dog’s behavior; and
  • provides training in effective responses to genuinely volatile situations, in order to avoid the worst case scenarios—being injured by a dog or shooting one.

The Problem of Dog-Related Incidents and Encounters (Manual)

Written for law enforcement officers, The Problem of Dog-Related Incidents and Encounters is a publication of the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. The manual provides strategies and information that equip officers to respond safely and effectively to situations in which a dog is present. Drawings and photographs of a variety of common canine postures are included. Case studies illustrate how the information can be applied in real-world situations.

Dog Bites: Problems and Solutions (revised 2014)

Updated in 2014, Dog Bites: Problems and Solutions written by Janis Bradley, builds on the original 2006 edition with additional studies, statistics and examples of effective policies to address the issue of injurious dog bites. It takes an informed, common-sense, realistic look at the incidence and risk factors involved, and makes specific husbandry and policy recommendations to improve public safety and animal well-being. It can be purchased here.

California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST): Dog Encounters: Keeping Officers Safe (Video)

California POST delivers in-service and specialized training videos to law enforcement agencies in the California POST program. POST training videos are designed to assist law enforcement training managers and instructors in meeting specific training needs or legislative mandates for their agency. Dog Encounters: Keeping Officers Safe assists peace officers in understanding dog behavior and provides tactical approaches for positive outcomes when officers encounter dogs. The DVD-ROM video program offers two viewing modes, a facilitated group course and an individual viewing option.

Only training managers or supervisors employed by government law enforcement agencies are eligible to order POST videos. Videos are for law enforcement training use only. They are available free of charge in CA and for a fee to law enforcement agencies in other states.

Texas Commission on Law Enforcement: Course #4065-Canine Encounters

Released in January 2016, this guide is designed to assist the instructor in developing an appropriate lesson plan to prepare officers to effectively handle encounters with dogs. The course is a legislatively mandated in Texas and must be completed no later than the second anniversary of the date the officer is licensed.

Colorado Dog Protection Act

Colorado’s Dog Protection Act requires local law enforcement officers to participate in training in order to prevent the shooting of dogs in the line of duty. The statute aims to assist in training officers to better understand dog behavior and use non-lethal means whenever possible. The three-hour training is currently only available to law enforcement officers in Colorado.

Ohio Peace Officer Training on Encounters with Companion Animals

In 2015 legislation was passed in Ohio that requires all peace officers to receive training on encounters with and behavior of companion animals. In response, the Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission created a training program, which includes strategies to respond to companion animal-related calls or encounters, particularly those involving dogs, and the use of nonlethal methods to stop an attack.