Canine Combatives was conceived and created by a consortium of active and retired police K9 handlers and trainers with a combined 125 years of street experience and over 1100 physical apprehensions. As a group we have long known the Achilles heel in the police K9 community has always been and continues to be the quality and skill set of law enforcement decoys.
Some of the more well funded and "forward thinking" agencies have tried to mitigate this by bringing in civilian sport trainers with zero law enforcement street experience who have never even witnessed an actual apprehension in person. At best, this does nothing to improve the street worthiness of the dog and at worst will seriously handicap the dog in a real fight.
Now, does the civilian realm of K9 bite sports have something to offer police K9? Absolutely. But the elements that are useful must be precisely extracted and the rest discarded if it is to have any benefit on the street.
We also acknowledge the existence of a few "established" police decoy trainers around the country and have attended their training, we applaud their efforts but the Canine Combatives system is a radical departure from anything previously or currently offered.
Canine Combatives takes the fundamental dynamic elements of what actually occurs during a forcible apprehension, then incorporates hardwired canine instinct and psychology, to condition the dog through direct reinforcement how to fight and win regardless of the level of resistance. That is the nucleus of the Canine Combatives training system.
No training system is capable of overcoming inferior genetics and selection testing. Canine Combatives can, however, condition below average dogs that fighting is very rewarding and if they persevere they will always win in the end.
A structured training system can be taught to virtually any physically capable decoy, give him the drills and enough repetitions and he will eventually be able to execute them with an acceptable degree of efficiency.
The real challenge, the real dilemma, is teaching a decoy how to read the dog during bitework, this is the single most critical, defining element of the Canine Combatives system, and the one that ultimately will determine the success of the team on the street or in theater.
1) Reading the Dog — As mentioned in our overview, this is the nucleus of the system, it is the most difficult skill to teach and by far the most critical to the success of the team on the street. This is the Holy Grail, the Brass Ring of decoy skill sets.
2) Interval Training — Also known as the seesaw, this is how we incrementally condition the dog to accept increasing amounts of decoy pressure and not only overcome it, but actually enjoy it.
3) Drive Enhancement and Channeling — Using the dog's inherent drives and instincts to change their perception of decoy pressure from something bad to something good and rewarding.
4) Grip — How we develop it to the maximum level genetics will allow us through #3
5) The Out — Why it is so maligned, why it is ultra critical to success and why it is the most common area of training that good dogs are degraded. Why the out in training is entirely different from the street and why it must always be achieved with ZERO conflict between handler and canine in order to achieve our goal.
6) Targeting — Why we never condition the dog to target the forearm and how proper targeting can end fights before they even have a chance to begin.
7) Obedience — What role it plays in the bitework and how it can either enhance or degrade performance depending on execution and perception.
8) Selection Testing — How to do it properly to determine basic foundation genetics that ultimately determine street worthiness, so down the road, the decoy is not trying to create something in training that simply is not there genetically.
9) Equipment — Why everything we have been using up until now is not only inadequate, but make proper techniques impossible to execute. This includes muzzle fighting, hidden sleeves, bitesuits and objects of opposition.
10) Decoy Conditioning — Simply put, as a decoy you will never be able to perform at a high level even with advanced skills if your not physically fit enough for the task, just as the canine athlete needs the proper physical conditioning and diet to perform at a high level, so does a decoy.
Geared toward a maximum of 5 student decoys, half of day one comprised of classroom with visual demos/film, second half will be hands on introduction to the system by instructors only, day 2 is hands on execution by student decoys with close one on one or two on one instructor supervision. (Eligible for basic proficiency certification)
Geared toward 5 or more student decoys but less than ten, 2 to 3 instructors, 4-5 hours of classroom instruction with visual demos/film, 4-5 hours of hands on instructor technique demonstration on day one followed by hands on student decoy execution with close supervision and one to one instructor student ratio or greater. (Eligible for unit level proficiency certification)
Geared toward multi agency groupings or military, minimum of 3 instructors, same time and instructional breakdown as the shorter seminars for classroom portion and instructor technique demos, after that each instructor will initially pair off with a group of three student decoys for the first day to work on basic technique, the next day instructors will switch groups based on the previous day's student performance levels so the students that need more supervision will get it and the more advanced can help bring the less advanced up to speed. One hour each successive day will be verbal assessment and direction. In the remaining days the instructors will shift the emphasis to get all students to a uniform level of proficiency using the most advanced to assist the least, the final day will be exam oriented, performance based, using dogs that need the most assistance from the decoy to elevate their performance. By the end the instructors and students will be a cohesive unit with a singular objective and a crystal clear understanding of how to achieve it. (Eligible for instructor certification)
We also offer custom tailored instruction on an individual basis, an example would be a single agency or perhaps more wanting to get one decoy per agency to instructor skill level in a more personal and private training environment in a shorter time period than the standard seminars. Or a team may have unique objectives for their decoys that need to be accommodated in a one on one or more intensive environment. Another would be an agency requesting our instructors supervise and or conduct canine selection testing prior to new canine purchases which can save a department a lot of heartache down the road.
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Hello handlers, trainers and decoys. Now that we are into the new year I will be making every effort to update this news section of the site every month with things that we are doing, developing trends and experiences gained from both training and deployments. As we have seen just in the month of January the job isn't getting any safer, that goes for all of our brothers in blue not just K-9. This underscores the importance of our system which to this day is the only one in existence that actually makes the K9 a better fighter in real combat. I get asked all the time how does your technique differ from the other "mainstream" trainers, well I wont run down a list or any individual elements, I'll just say it's black and white, night and day different, when you see it, you'll understand why.
I also get asked for video from seminars and training showing what we do, I continue to decline that suggestion as I don't want it to be used as a tutorial and mimicked by those thinking they can just learn the system from watching it demonstrated on film, it cant work that way because the art of the read and mental connection will never transcend a video, it has to be taught in person, like any other combative.
Another thing I want to touch on is selection testing, this is now becoming a hot button issue, I recently watched a video from a deployment by Denton County S.O. in the great state of Texas, I was amazed at what I saw, over the years I cant count the number of times I've seen dogs shut down in high stress situations and don't fool yourself into thinking it's a training issue you can fix by conditioning the dog to the things he cant handle, fear behavior is the ultimate default to a dog, it always works, once you see it, it's hardwired in, the dog knows he can always go back to it and escape whatever is overcoming him. By far the most common stressor is environmentally based, it can literally be anything, this is why environmental nerves are the very first thing we do in our selection testing protocol before anything else, because at the end of the day, if you don't have bank-vault nerves, it wont matter how good he hunts or bites, or how extreme his drives are, you'll have nothing.
Finally, as the demand has risen so dramatically over the last 5-7 years so has the quality of the dogs fallen, it's now a normal average to have a below 10% pass/fail ratio when testing green police dog prospects to our standards, most times well below. There are a variety of reasons for this, it starts with the breeding programs and continues into testing to the required standards and ultimately money. As I've said a million times and will continue to say, our training system can only develop the dog to the level his genetic limitations will allow, so if we get the selection testing right, we wont find ourselves in the inevitable situation down the road where we find that limit is below our performance standards, and we know it will almost always happen when we least want it to, when the stakes are highest.
Be safe guys, Train hard, Train Right...