K9 Investigation Errors: A Manual for Avoiding Mistakes

K9 Investigation Errors: A Manual for Avoiding Mistakes, by Resi Gerritsen and Ruud Haak, Brush Education, Inc.; 256 pgs.; ISBN: 978-1-55059-672-4, $44.95

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How can you make a good book better? Resi Gerritsen and Ruud Haak who wrote K9 Fraud, have accomplished that with their updated book, K9 Investigation Errors. They cover many important points in handling dogs that are common mistakes. For example, they explain how dogs can read human gestures, even the slightest ones (the Clever Hans Effect) which can cause a false response from a dog. They review some famous cases in the United States and show how the handler or poor training misled authorities, sometimes resulting in the arrest of the wrong person.

What I especially liked was their comments that dog handlers who claim fantastic results with their dogs (typically false) influence authorities who believe them and then think that properly trained dogs who cannot perform to that level are not as good, when in fact the properly trained and handled dogs are correct.

Another interesting point that they bring out in their book is what they call failure scents. This is when a dog associates a scent with failure and by association can lead to the dog’s poor performance. This is the same as people will often associate a benign event, song, scent or even food with a bad experience and react to the memory that it triggers.

There is so much information in this book that I strongly recommend handlers of all disciplines read this book and evaluate how they can improve their dogs and their handling skills.

The book is a high quality book, as is typical of Brush Education Publications, with quality binding, pages and soft cover. It is well edited with no typo’s or other common mistakes that authors tend to make when writing. It is always a pleasure to review a Brush Education book.

The chapters are:

Scent-Identification Lineups

The Dutch Training Method for Scent Identification

Dogs’ Responsiveness to Human Gestures

Tracking Dogs in Crime Investigations

Scent Research and Tracking Experiments

Errors in Mantrailing

Human Odor and Dogs’ Scent Perception

Scent Problems and Training Problems

Preventing Investigation Errors

K9 Fraud! Fraudulent Handling of Police Search Dogs

K9 Fraud

K9 Fraud

K9 Fraud! Fraudulent Handling of Police Search Dogs, by Resi Gerritsen & Ruud Haak; Publisher, Detselig Enterprises LTD Alberta, Canada; ISBN: 978-55059-393-8, $27.95, 216 pgs.

This is a very interesting book and one of the most unusual books that I have reviewed. While book is primarily about police dogs and scent specific work, it is very applicable for SAR units. Each chapter has a number of real cases which are reviewed. The lessons in this book can be applied to all SAR disciplines.

The authors refer to studies and tests that have been conducted over the past hundred plus years to verify how and why dogs work. For example they address the studies done to determine if dogs follow human scent or the disturbance on the ground.

Each chapter reviews actual cases and why there was fraud or not. Although the book points out flaws in handling and training, it is not done in an accusatory manner. The authors explain the common mistakes that dog handlers make which lead to fraud.

The case studies covered in this book are from around the world including some better known USA cases and are lessons for the SAR dog handler. They are also interesting to read for everyone else.

What is most important about this book are the lessons that the SAR dog handler can learn about how to properly handle cases that will hold up in court as well as how to properly train and handle their dogs. I highly recommend this book. An added benefit of this book is as a guide for lawyers and other people who are involved in legal cases that use canine evidence.

The chapters are:
Chapter 1: Fraud with Scent Identification Line-ups
Chapter 2: Dog’s Responsiveness to Human Gestures
Chapter 3: Fraud with Tracking Dogs
Chapter 4: Scent Research and Tracking Experiments
Chapter 5: Fraud with Mantrailing
Chapter 6: Human Odor and Dog’s Scent Perception
Chapter 7: Scent Problems and Training Problems
Chapter 8: Avoiding and Preventing Fraud
Section 1: Scent Identification Line-ups
Section 2: Management Attention: Intentional Fraud
Section 3: Civilians in Criminal Investigations
Section 4: Contamination of Scents
Section 5: Improper Training
Section 6: Insurance Fraud