Police dog training experts weigh in on Waco K-9 incident

Posted at 10:07 PM, Oct 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-06 15:07:25-04

Dog training experts say, dogs have personalities just like people do, and a confusing situation can lead to an undesirable result like what happened in Waco on Friday.

Waco dog owner Billy Lummus thinks of his dogs like family.

In fact, he says he’s as close to his canines as he is to his daughters.

“They’re like family.  You know, they’re part of me. They’re part of my everyday experience," said Lummis.

Friday’s Waco incident involving a police dog attacking an officer, and being killed by another officer, surprised him.

But police dog training experts say it shouldn’t.

“Probably happens more often than people think,” said Dan Linder of Action Dogs USA.

Linder trains dogs throughout Central Texas and the Brazos Valley. He says, even highly-trained police dogs can make mistakes in a confusing situation.

“If all of a sudden there’s a lot of confusion going on and the dog goes in to do his job, somebody might accidentally get in the way,” said Linder.

And that’s exactly the scene a witness described.

“Basically, the dog was on top of him, but still he was trying to flip the dog over, so he could get on top of him to cool him down,” said witness Tijuana Jones.

Linder, the dog trainer, says the problem often comes down to K-9 handler error… though he has no idea if that happened in this case. 

Linder says officers need training on how to act around K-9’s, as much as the K-9’s need training to act as police dogs.

While Billy Lummus calls the shooting of the police dog regrettable, he says he still sees his four-legged friends as gentle and loving creatures.

“Is it going to change anything? No, no. I’m a dog lover. I was raised with dogs all my life and I’ve never had a problem like that,” said Lummis.

Because, after all, he treats his dogs like family… and they return the favor.

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