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What Is A Decoy?

January 23, 2022

If you’re a fan of police K-9s, you’ve probably seen pictures or videos of a person dressed in an oversized puffy suit, looking like the Michelin Man, with a ferocious working dog in hot pursuit. This person sporting the well-padded suit is what is known as a decoy, and he has a very important job when it comes to building a confident, successful police dog. In this post we’ll discuss the role of the bite suit, the function of a decoy, and why good decoys are paramount in K-9 training.

The Bite Suit

A bite suit is exactly that: a super-durable fiber getup that a police dog can sink his teeth into without causing serious harm to the individual wearing it. The bite suit provides protection and mobility to the decoy, and the K-9 can build his confidence and skill in suspect apprehension.

The Role Of A Decoy

A well-trained decoy teaches a police dog how to increase and perfect his prey drive. Prey drive is the dog’s natural instinct to chase and capture an object of desire. If we’re talking about a wild dog, prey drive is important for the dog to be able to successfully hunt a fleeing animal for its next meal.

For a police dog, prey drive is key for apprehending a bad guy. The decoy also instills in a K-9 combat drive, which is also known as fighting instinct. In an emergency situation, a working dog must be able to capture and sometimes wrestle a suspect, but also hold the bad guy in place until a police officer can make the arrest. This requires the 1-2 punch of prey and combat drive. 

Good Decoys Matter

In the past, some police departments would allow rookies or other curious cops to get in a bite suit and help the K-9 Unit with its training, no experience necessary. But a decoy with zero training only provides a police dog subpar practice, and subpar practice makes for an ineffective K-9.

A strong decoy gives a K-9 important feedback. Everytime the dog chases and catches the decoy, the decoy has the expertise to offer a reward for a perfect performance or no reward for a suboptimal pursuit. The decoy has the skills to hone the K-9’s confrontational bites, increasing the dog’s bite strength and tenacity, ultimately making the police dog more potent in the real world.

Remember: Police dogs in the line of duty have dangerous jobs. If you would like to help protect hard-working police K-9s by providing them with LOF StreetFighter K-9 ballistic vests, please go to our donations page or click on the button below. No contribution is too small.

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