Page 8 - Chiron Calling Spring 2019
P. 8

Decoy Course with Franco Angelini – “K9 Bite Doctor”
In February 2019, I participated in a Decoy Course with the world renowned Franco Angelini at Thames Valley Police Dog Section in Reading, the course was organised by Alan Dickinson from Von Wolf K9. I completed the course in an effort to better myself as a Protection Dog Handler and give further breadth and depth in my handling and baiting abilities, having only joined the Royal Army Veterinary Corps in 2018, as a Reservist Military Working Dog Handler I have much more to learn!! I was told by a number of colleagues within the canine community that there is no better person to be taught by, so I jumped at the opportunity.
Franco is also known as the “K9 bite doctor”. He acquired this name during his 25 year service in the United States Military, United States Secret Service (Uniformed Division) and the Harrisburg Police Department. He first discovered his passion for working with dogs in 1984 when he was posted to Germany as a Military Police canine handler with the US Army. Franco also acquired a variety of civilian positions whilst in service such as Master Trainer for the North American Working Dog Association.
Franco retired from Harrisburg Police Department in 2005 and moved to North Carolina which is where he currently resides. He embarked on a civilian career conducting seminars in the art of decoying to military, police and Special Forces. The seminars have since been delivered nationally across 25 states in America, and internationally in Australia, Canada, Denmark and now England. Franco is to teach his skill sets in South Korea later on this year.
The course was attended by 16 individuals from a myriad of civilian Police Forces, The Defence Animal Training Regiment from Melton Mowbray and 1st Military Working Dog Regiment. We all held different levels of experience, some of us were handlers; others were dog trainers and personnel instructors.
ThevariousPoliceForcesprovidedavast amount of dogs, with the majority coming from the West Midlands Police; others came from the Civil Nuclear Constabulary, Police Scotland, Bedfordshire Police and South Yorkshire Police. All of the dogs differed in their ability; some were very experienced others were very young and still getting to grips with what was expected of them.
Day One
We arrived at Sulhamstead which is the home of Thames Valley Police Dog Section. The first day was generally classroom based, we went through the introductions and got straight down to business, Franco started by explaining the importance of the correct requisition procedures, he discussed key points such as genetics and the best locations to procure working dogs along with various tactics utilised by breeders to sell poor stock. We then moved onto the next few
Civil Nuclear Constabularies Dutch Herder releasing off the back tie, Franco Left, LCpl Lloyd right
By LCpl Tom Lloyd RAVC
 lessons which were about the different types of drives such as prey, defence; he also discussed the different breeds used, behaviours and traits in dogs when placed in different environments, all of which was extremely valuable knowledge as a Reservist Dog Handler.
After lunch we learnt all about the importance of a trained decoy. We
'The seriousness was emphasised through X-ray images of irreversible career ending spinal damage where ruptures had taken place within the vertebras of certain dogs'
were instructed on the physical and physiological damage delivered to dogs by untrained decoys, the seriousness was emphasised through X-ray images of irreversible career ending spinal damage where ruptures had taken place within the vertebras of certain dogs. It was also highlighted that a full mouth bite up to the dogs’ molars is paramount as working
dogs tend to damage or lose their canine teeth due improper decoy practices.
Once we had completed the classroom lessons we moved outside. The fun bit!! Franco demonstrated the art of decoying, the skill, passion and dedication was shown immediately. One particular point that was brought to our attention during thisdemonstrationwasanumberofdogs were only biting with their canines; this was a particular issue that was mentioned in the classroom. Another point that arose was the dogs were getting fatigued very quickly. Franco explained to us that the dogs were not use to the length of time on the bite, it became apparent that the dogs only held their game for a minute or two, Franco demonstrated the techniques used in ground fighting, he also told us that we should be working the dog with a full mouth bite for at least three to four minutes.
The day concluded, I’d learned so much, from the importance of a trained decoy to the reasons of allowing a dog to wrap it’s legs around the decoys leg during the bite, Franco explained that this was a good sign because it encourages social dominance of the situation, which is a key factor in the dogs defensive drive, this was particularly demonstrated by a Dutch herder from Scotland, when the dog

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