Training the Police K9 Decoy

with Kevin Sheldahl

Skill Level: Beginner

Length: 5 Modules

Access Period: Unlimited

Price: $65.00

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Every department that has a police K 9 program should be providing training for the decoys that help train their police service dogs. This course goes a long way towards providing that training.


Before a police K9 handler can take his dog out for training, he has to convince another officer to assist in his dogs training. More often than not, that officer has no training in bite work  (decoy work). They simply put a bite suit or sleeve on and become a bite pillow for the police dog.


This is not only dangerous for the decoy, but it can also result in injury to the dog. While being a decoy is inherently dangerous and no course will ever prevent every accident, this course will reduce these risks.


A quality decoy can make or break a K9 program.  Although we cannot give experience to decoys in this format we can start them on the right path to helping them grow a K-9 program through understanding the basic goals of training and maintaining a police service dog in their apprehension capabilities.




Course Outline


Module 1 


Introduction & Goals of the Course 


Segment 1

Introduction to Kevin Sheldahl & Course




Module 2 


Drives & Character 


Segment 1

Prey & Combat Drives (fight instinct) 


Segment 2

Survival Drive (Self-Defense)


Segment 3

Nerve Strength & Sharpness


Segment 4





Module 3 




Segment 1



Segment 2

Police Muzzle


Segment 3

External  Bite Sleeve


Segment 4

Hidden or Concealed Sleeve


Segment 5

Leashes, Long Lines, Collars, and Remote Collars


Segment 6

Sticks & Whips




Module 4 


Decoy Techniques

  Segment 1 Safety & Accidental Bites
  Segment 2 Suit Work
  Segment 3 Sleeve Work
  Segment 4 Muzzle Fighting
  Segment 5 Concealed Sleeve
  Segment 6 Special Equipment Uses: Whips and Sticks
Module 5  ---------------  Developing the Street Competent Dog / Scenarios
  Segment 1 Performance Standards for Police Dog Control
  Segment 2 Decoy Work for Vehicle Extractions
  Segment 3 Building & Stairway Searches
  Segment 4 Stairwell Searches & Apprehensions
  Segment 5 Decoy Behaviors & Environmental Pressures - Adding Less Than Lethal Options
  Segment 6 Confrontations / Resistance Arrests
  Segment 7 Certificate of Completion
  Segment 8 Multiple Choice Test 



This course is designed to facilitate one of the most important and often neglected aspects of a police service dog program. The training decoy is an integral part of a strong, effective, and safe police patrol dog program. It is important for administrators to provide training for a SAFE and EFFECTIVE K9 program. This training course is one step in that process. Accomplishing this is done by being sure the handler and the training decoys are educated to work together, understand the drives and character traits associated with training dogs to locate and capture potentially dangerous suspects. Without proper training a decoy becomes simply someone willing to get bit. This relationship can adversely effect a police service dogs abilities and impact the agency employing such a dog through increased liability and/or ineffective behaviors, not to mention its ill effects on officer safety. Handlers, decoys, and departmental instructors are encouraged to attend this course.



Course Outline


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Kevin Sheldahl is a Police Dog Teaching Judge. 

He is a Police Service Dog Teaching Judge (PSP/DPO/WPO Patrol, narcotics, explosives, human remains, Police S&R, Game Detection Dog, Tracking/Trailing, and SWAT) .

Kevin has trained police service dogs since the mid-1980's, he was a full time police K9 handler for the Bermalillo County Sheriff's Department in NM from 1992 until his retirement in 2014.


Kevin has been the head instructor for over 58 six week police K9 handler classes since 1992. Prior to this he was an assistant instructor for a large police dog vendor.

He has been involved in the training of working dogs as both a hobby and professionally for 35 years. He has taught numerous handlers from agencies throughout the United States, Judged Certifications and Competitive events, and been a guest speaker and instructor for various organizations.  Kevin is a Master Instructor (NMDPS) for the above specialties.

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