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Specialized Training With George Daniolos
Northern Arizona University Alumni News Interview with George Daniolos
George Daniolos is owner and director of training at K-9 Defense, LLC, located in Phoenix. He has won numerous titles and awards, including a national championship in protection work. George developed the only Arizona P.O.S.T. certified decoy training course in Arizona.
After watching George’s canine coworkers in action during a joint training seminar with the NAU Police Department on campus in August, we were ‘begging’ to learn more. George, who became interested in dog behavior at an early age, sat down for an interview to share his passion for training, the psychology behind man’s best friend and more.
How did you get involved in dog training?
I got involved with dog training at an early age when my father would send our family dog to hunt rabbits in the desert near my childhood home. I became fascinated with the dog’s drive and his relentless need to hunt. Today I look for those qualities in selecting candidates for good working dogs. Later, at NAU, my roommate’s girlfriend bought him a Dalmatian puppy. We were in college and he had very little interest in training this puppy. It naturally developed some bad habits being raised by college guys, but it inspired me to purchase a few dog training books and get involved in obedience training.
Why are you passionate about training?
Training has become a way of life for me. I love to watch clear communication between the species. It is a beautiful thing to watch a dog and handler work in sync. Modifying and enhancing the dog’s innate drives and instincts in order to become a valuable asset and team member is the ultimate goal.
You specialize in decoy training, what exactly is this? What is P.O.S.T. certification?
The decoy is the person that gets bit by the dog during training. Traditionally, it’s been the ‘new guy’ that gets into an oversized puffy suit and stands there while the dog bites the suit. However, that tradition could not be a worse way to train a patrol dog! The decoy’s role is the most important aspect of suspect apprehension. These dogs need to be able to deal with a tremendous amount of stress and it is up to the decoy to condition the dog for real life suspect encounters—these dogs are forced to deal with an aggressive human that does not want to be captured. Good decoys are vital in conditioning good patrol dogs. We have several AZ P.O.S.T. courses available, including our decoy class. P.O.S.T. stands for Peace Officer Service Training. Officers can take our AZ P.O.S.T.-approved courses and receive credit for ongoing training hours. Training for both handler and canine is never finished. We are in training throughout every day, all the time. I always say there’s no such thing as a trained dog. Only dogs with different levels of training…