Police ReSources

Resources designed to prepare law enforcement for encounters with dogs while on duty

An Evidence-Based Approach To Reducing Dog Shootings in Routine Police Encounters: Regulations, Policies, Practices, and Training Implications (Report)

National Canine Research Council funded research for the report by the National Police Foundation, in partnership with the spcaLA. The 2019 report, “An Evidence-Based Approach to Reducing Dog Shootings in Routine Police Encounters: Regulations, Policies, Practices, and Training Implications” sheds light on the critical issue of shootings by law enforcement of pet dogs in routine police encounters. 

The reported results include the following four crucial points that law enforcement officers should know in order to handle dog encounters safely: 

  1. Circumstances vary widely and misconceptions can lead to shootings that might otherwise be avoided.
  2. Commonly held beliefs about dog behavior are often inaccurate and based on stereotypes.
  3. The differences between K-9 dogs and pets need to be better understood. 
  4. All training is not equal and better standards and policies are currently needed. 

Read the Report


Media inquiries on the report can be directed to Erica Richardson at the National Police Foundation.
Phone: (202)-833-1466.

Police and Dog Encounters: Tactical Strategies and Effective Tools to Keep our Communities Safe and Humane (Video Series)

National Canine Research Council has funded and developed, in partnership with Safe Humane Chicago & the U.S. Department of Justice: Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, a five-video series designed to prepare law enforcement officers for interactions with dogs in the line of duty. Much like the manual, this video-series is about staying safe, in order to protect law-enforcement officers, residents nearby, and dogs encountered in the line of duty.

Police and Dog Encounters is a resource that:

  • shows officers how to recognize the signs a dog may be present, how to avoid unnecessary encounters with dogs, and how to distinguish between warning signals and signs of friendliness when they must enter a dog’s space;
  • teaches simple techniques that help officers see the effect of body language on a dog’s behavior; and
  • provides training in effective responses to genuinely volatile situations, in order to avoid the worst case scenarios—being injured by a dog or shooting one.

For additional information on the video series, please read “When Police and Dogs Meet”: 

The Video Series Police and Dog Encounters is available online for FREE in English and Spanish via the U.S. Department of Justice: Office of Community Oriented Policing Services Training Portal Website:

Please note that you will need to make an account to access the series via the training portal online.

Law enforcement agencies may also request free DVD copies of the video series (in English only) through the National Canine Research Council Contact Page.



The Problem of Dog-Related Incidents and Encounters (Manual)

This manual for law enforcement officers is a publication of the U.S. Department of Justice: Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. This collaborative manual was authored by National Canine Research Council, Best Friends Animal Society, Safe Humane Chicago, and the University of Illinois Center for Public Safety and Justice. 

The Problem of Dog-Related Incidents and Encounters offers a valuable framework for effective response strategies to any situation where a dog is present. Officers learn how to assess a dog’s environment, distinguish between warning signals and signs of friendliness, and which of their actions can calm a tense, uncertain situation. The authors illustrate their points with drawings and photographs of a variety of common canine postures and also include case studies to reinforce the recommendations for best practices. In addition to discussing how to maintain appropriate control when encountering a dog, special instructions are included for those who evaluate and report on dog-related incidents. 


Law enforcement agencies may request free hard copies of the booklet The Problem with Dog-Related Incidents and Encounters through the National Canine Research Council Contact Page.