Dog Behavior for Law Enforcement Sourcebook


As a peace officer, it is in your very nature to take command. Law enforcement training has committed you to assuming a leadership role in potentially volatile situations by utilizing a loud voice, strong body language, direct eye contact, and confidence. Dogs, however, will not respond to your actions with submission. Without being able to evaluate and understand the dog’s behavior and adapt your actions accordingly, an encounter with a dog can rapidly escalate.

spcaLA’s Dog Behavior for Law Enforcement course will provide you with the skills you need to help you maintain your safety, as well as the safety of the public and the well-being of the family pet involved. In this course, you will explore the still-prevalent misconceptions of dog behavior, effective methods of avoidance, ways to decipher key canine behaviors, as well as approaches to adjusting your own actions – not with the unrealistic goal of eliminating officer-involved shootings of dogs, but rather to equip you with the resources and awareness that will allow you to reduce the number of shootings that occur and to articulate the detrimental behavior that put you in the need to use force.

In order to have a basic understanding of course materials it is recommended that you complete the pre-course work featuring a selection of articles and evidence-based research studies that will be utilized during the course and a study from the Police Foundation that will enhance your knowledge on the topic.

This sourcebook is relevant to spcaLA’s Dog Behavior for Law Enforcement training as it contains a curated collection of articles regarding police and dog encounters and evidence-based research studies relating to dog behavior. The sourcebook is meant to be utilized as a tool throughout the course for instructor-led learning activities in order to optimize the students’ success in better understanding the course content. The sourcebook is a supplement to the course and is not meant to be stand-alone materials.

We are currently working on updating our Sourcebook. Check back later for our new version.