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Adam Crenshaw and the Police Decoy Course

K9 running after a decoy in a bite suit

“A bad Decoy can screw up a good dog. I’ve seen guys who go out there and just go through the motions; they’re not working the dog; they’re just getting bit. They do the same thing over and over and take a bite. They don’t know how to give when the dog engages them.”  

Custom Canine Unlimited is proud to offer their “Police Decoy Course” as a course to help develop and perfect techniques for being a proper and impactful Decoy. This course is taught by CCU’s Adam Crenshaw, who has over a decade of decoying and K9 training experience. 

“For me, I think the reason why I wanted to do this course, is because I became passionate about [decoying] early on… because at one time I was a new Decoy coming in. I didn’t know at the time that I was going to become passionate about it…” 

“The biggest misconception on Decoy work is that you just get bit. If that dog fails in the real world, there’s something we could have done better in training. It’s a lot bigger than running away, present, and get bit. That’s what a lot of people don’t understand,” says Crenshaw. Custom Canine Unlimited’s Police Decoy Course will instruct new, or even experienced, Decoys in a multitude of areas, as well as real hands-on experience for situations that could transpire in the real world. Student’s split their time between live Decoy work and classroom study. Decoy’s will learn the proper way to “take a bite”, as well as, how to set up proper training for K9s and K9 Handlers. Decoys will also be instructed on how to properly assess and care for all equipment that is needed. From technique to application, Decoys will leave CCU’s Police Decoy Course knowing how to implement and identify the direction that their K9 Team wishes to secure. 

“[We will] show a Decoy how to take the bite without putting stress on the K9’s neck. Technique is where we start. The first [few] days is hammering presentation and timing because that’s what keeps it safe for the dog and for the Decoy…” 

Police Decoy Course students can expect to learn and understand the best techniques for taking bites that not only protect the Decoy, but also protect the K9 from ailments such as, broken canines or neck fractures. Decoys will also be taught how to “read” the K9s and how to promote desired behaviors. Decoys will understand how to build the dog into a more real-world scenario setting. Use and care for proper equipment is also an important facet to the Police Decoy Course. Decoys will learn types and uses of equipment, but also how to inspect the equipment properly to ensure everyone on the K9 Team remains safe. 

“The pinnacle of the Police Decoy Course is to transition from being a ‘bite dummy’ to a helper and trainer on the field; also understanding K9 behavior, and how to promote these things so we can take a dog from the basics to real-world application.” 

Students will learn in a very hands-on way, but they will also be evaluating their peers in real time. “You’re not just watching someone else, but evaluating scenarios in the moment,” says Police Decoy Course instructor, Adam Crenshaw. Crenshaw can’t express how valuable of an asset a trained Decoy is to a K9 Team. “We’ve got to think in the moment, big picture. We’ve got to know that the handler and dog will encounter something in real life that we’ve prepared them for. The dog is able to protect the handler, and the handler is able to go home to their family… What if there’s a fatal situation? We’ve got to have a dog that stays in the fight to protect the handler. It’s trained in the dog and the one training that dog IS the Decoy… That dog could be the reason the handler goes home to their family.” Adam Crenshaw takes his studies very seriously and is passionate about an aspect of K9 Training that can often times go unnoticed. It’s very apparent that Crenshaw is absolutely passionate about passing on what he knows to other Decoys, and his passion for the “art of Decoying” is ever present in all of his classrooms. 

“… I was the new guy trying to impress these guys, and I had a coat and was told to ‘run’. I ran and the dog nuked me – it hurt so bad! But when we came back, I said, ‘That was fun! I want to do it again!’ I wanted to keep doing it, so they taught me how to do it correctly. This was the first aspect of K9 work that I loved; Decoy work. When I’m decoying, I’m the point, I get to interact with the dog and challenge the handler. I get to put my fingerprint on the training, so to speak. I get to manipulate what’s happening out there, based on what the dog is showing me. I think it’s exciting and fun. I carry pride whenever a dog that I decoyed for, spent time on, and worked with, is in a real-world deployment. I’m part of the reason why the bad guy got caught. That’s exciting! This has always been an aspect of training that I just love. I get passionate about it, [even though] I’ve been doing it for a long time.” 

– Adam Crenshaw 

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