Monday, October 17, 2011

home stretch

We're coming down the home stretch of Police Patrol K9 course.  The handlers are, naturally, worried about their final practical exam. I think they are less concerned about the written exam because we have reviewed the materials throughout and they should feel confident in their ability to problem-solve.  Although they will continue with the weekly maintenance, I try to teach them how to break down exercises and understand what the goals are, when to reward... and sometimes, when to take a step back.  Leaving a patrol class is much like having completed FTO training and being on your own as a newly minted officer. Your training officer made sure you covered all the materials and now you have to experience them.  I feel like a mother bird, pushing the little ones from the nest and it is like this with every class.  Left to me, I would likely have them in training for a year, waiting for perfection!  However, the other part of me is looking forward to having a schedule without all the blocks filled in again.  Barnes and Noble put my picture on a milk carton!

In a few days, this class will be over.  Tracking, area searches, building search, handler protection, patrol route, apprehensions and call offs, directed search, article search, agility and obedience. Tactical obedience, neutrality to gunfire, jump tracking and hard surface work.  Ground disturbance vs pre-scented.  Muzzle, bite suit, concealed sleeve, exposed sleeve. I review the list to make sure we have covered it all. It's amazing to see how far they have come.  The best part of all is watching the handler's expression as all these things come together. Fly little birdies! Fly!