Saturday, December 17, 2011

Book Review: How To Use Dogs Effectively In Modern Police Work, by Irvin E. Marders

When poking around to see what kind of training and treatment New York State police dogs received (Cooperstown is nearby, and I believe that's where the K9 headquarters is), I came across the phrase that they use the "Baltimore Method" with the dogs. From the State Police site:

The “new method” of training dictated that the canines be sociable, allowed to be in and around the general public, and reside in the handlers residence. Most canines up to this point were extremely aggressive and kenneled when not in use. This method, is still one of the most prevalent training methods in the United States.
Well that's interesting, I thought. It makes sense to me, though, and is a principle I believe strongly, that a working dog, police or otherwise, needs to be socialized with a range of people so that she is not suspicious of people as a rule, but only when ordered or necessary. Of course, I then went to the Google to see if I could turn up more about the Baltimore Method. I found what seems to be a personally maintained historical web site about canine units in the Baltimore City Police Department, that does include information about and some pictures of the dogs.

It also mentioned a book, How to Use Dogs Effectively in Modern Police Work, by Irvin E. Marders. And, though I am not a police officer, and they tend not to get civilians involved with training (And use the Baltimore Method, so no kennels), I just had to read it.

Sadly, my library's "outside of the system" Interlibrary loan program is ending after the first of the year, other than getting books from the New York State library, which costs the individual $3 shipping. Happily, I ordered and received the book long before this, from the Library of Congress! Important stuff. If I could find a copy of this book to buy, I would happily, just to have it as a collector's item. It was really pretty neat.

One thing I found remarkable was the nutrition section that Marders included. He discussed the necessity of a balanced diet, which at that time (late 50's and early 60's; the copyright page of the copy I held in my hands said 1960) would have been home cooked (I think. I don't really know when Kibble became the be-all end-all). So, meats and veggies, of appropriate amounts. 

This was not a training manual, however. There were little details here and there, but some of it was set up almost like a business plan (working the dogs on shifts, proposing a dog program to one's department in the first place). Chapter IV was entitled "How to Use Dogs to Protect Industrial Installations", and included the following details:

Colonel Francis C. Fay, Director of Security for Macy's, in New York uses Doberman Pinchers. "In October 1952, four dogs began patrolling the store's 2, 000, 000 square feet. To our knowledge we haven't lost a penny in merchandise to burglars since," says Fay. (pg 12-13, though the quote is footnoted as having come from The National Geographic Book of Dogs, 1958.)
 I liked the Doberman detail there. The following one, that they were never treated as pets and kept in kennels on the roof, saddened me. They did work with handlers at night, starting on the roof and working their way down, but the lack of human companionship is a trying thing for the Doberman, bred to be personal protection dogs.

Overall, though, it was a neat book, and a very slim book. It isn't available on Amazon currently, or eBay, but at least I got to read it.

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