LA first responders get trained in canine encounters

KTVE-NBC
All About Animals
Thursday, May 15, 2014 - 12:51pm

The Louisiana Animal Welfare Commission is partnering with Louisiana State Police to help first responders understand their encounters with canines.

Jim Osorio conducts workshops across the country, teaching officers less lethal techniques when it comes to handling dogs.

"Automatically a lot of them say, oh my gosh, it's a dog, I'm gonna get bit and I want to try and break that," said Osorio.

He says the first step is understanding body language, as dogs are often misjudged.

"Their body language is going tell you whether there's going to be a confrontation or not."

Dozens of first responders across Louisiana attended Osorio's seminar at State Police headquarters in Baton Rouge.

Colonel Mike Edmonson emphasizes the need to respect canine companions..

"They're protective of an area, if you go into a home where a dog is you got to understand that's that dog's home. They're going to protect that and you have to understand that. I think knowing that up front and dealing with that certainly helps you a lot," said Edmonson.

Osorio shows how his service dog coral can even be perceived as aggressive. As the workshop continues, she freely roams around the room.

Hilton Cole, a member of the Governor's Animal Welfare Commission describes communication between officer and canine as complicated.

"Police officers are trained to be an authority and to take charge of the situation and the dog is doing the same thing. This is his property he's in charge of it and the two clash," said Cole. 

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