SOUTHINGTON — Area police dogs and officers spent Monday running drills to train the dogs on different techniques with a visiting trainer from Alabama.
Southington canine officers Steve Salerno and John Mahon were at Recreation Park with about 25 officers from other towns and states.
The officers were attending a workshop led by Ricky Farley, a master trainer from the Alabama Canine Law Enforcement Officers Training Centers, Inc.
Salerno said Farley is one of the best trainers. Police departments included in the session included Hartford, New Haven, New Milford, state Department of Corrections, Bloomfield, Albany, NY, and New Britain.
Bill Scribner, a master trainer with the North American Police Work Dog Association, was also at the seminar, which focused on muzzle training and the apprehension of suspects.
“It shows the dog a different type of scenario,” Scribner said. “It’s a different style than they’re used to.”
Farley said the muzzle training “enhances the ability to fight in the muzzle.”
“It shows how to enhance the genetic fight drive,” Farley said. “They are fighting to see if they can win.”
Farley said the dogs at the training Monday were doing well in comparison to other training seminars he has taught. Farley trains about 250 dogs a year at his school in Alabama.
Lid Rodrigues, from the state Department of Corrections, was at the training with canine Rikki. Rodrigues said it was good to see different methods and to put the dogs in situations they have never experienced.
Farley gave officers safety tips, including what to do with the leash when they let the dogs go and how the dogs recognize different tones of voice.
Some of the dogs were confused when the “suspect” after who they were sent acted passively, rather than attacking.
The dogs for the most part had been trained to attack an “aggressor” and weren’t sure how to react to a suspect walking slowly with arms at their side.