This is where we feature a student who has impressed us with their exceptional knowledge and understanding of behaviour modification, and their flexible, creative approach to solving problem behaviour.
For the first time ever, we have selected four students from Singapore who presented a joint assigment.
Meet, from left to right: R Ravi, Tan Yuh Tswen Robert, Kesavan s/o Ramalenggam Stephen and Chan Wee Siong Jordache who all work for the Singapore Armed Forces and Explosive Search Dog Platoon.
They tell us: "The Arms and Explosive Search (AES) Dog Platoon works symbiotically with the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team in the Singapore Armed Forces. The AES team provides quick, mobile and versatile aid during operations and complement the EOD with the capability to detect weapons, gunpowder, explosives and other material containing nitrogen or ammonium. The AES Dog Platoon is the only platoon in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) that provides operational dogs to augment preventative security operations island-wide. In addition, the AES platoon was also employed to support the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in checking of inbound vehicles and cargo at the island's entry points.
We work with several dogs including German Shepherds, Malinois, English Springer Spaniels, Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers and Hungarian Vizslas. Our dogs are trained to detect explosives and are employed on security preventative sweeps on a daily basis. They are also expected to maintain obedience during sweeps and while on operation. We are chiefly responsible for maintaining the high degree of standard that has come to be expected of our dogs.
Each of us, individually, has gained unique skills from our separate experiences and courses. All of us however began with a basic handler course involving guard dog handling at the Military Working Dog Unit (MWDU) of Singapore's Military Police Command. Platoon Commander First Warrant Office Ravi in particular has acquired 27 years of experience as a dog trainer in the SAF. He has also worked with dog units in the United Kingdom, Belgium and has even spent time with Israeli dog trainers, training Counter Terrorist Dogs. He has held major appointments in several dog units within the Singapore Armed Forces. Apart from him, our experiences range from from operational training to veterinary clinic attachments. However we are always looking to improve ourselves and that was why we decided to take up the Dog psychology Course. Both to affirm what we knew and to find out more about dogs and their behaviour.
We thoroughly enjoyed the Course. We think the most important thing we have gained from it is that dogs are infinitely more complex than most people are led to believe. Usually course books are dry and dull but we were happy to find that the Course was actively engaging and not just facts written down on a page. We intend to put what we have learned to full use with the dogs we have at the AES. The experience has been completely worthwhile. We enjoyed the blend of scientific evidence and examples from real cases and especially enjoyed finding out that a lot of what was written related to our experiences in our line of work. The Units have been insightful and thought provoking as dog trainers, handlers and lovers and we find the Course to be one of the most beneficial assets we have come upon. Having a Course like this that is readily available not only helps us validate our work but adds an extra touch of legitimacy to what we do. "
Please note that the views and opinions of our Top Students are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Canine Behaviour Centre.
Many people ask us how we select our Top Students. Quite simply, they are those students whose work is outstanding. They display all the qualities we are looking for - the ability to think of all possible options, an empathy with human as well as canine problems, flexibility, open-mindedness, creativity - and much more! We don't select one on a regular basis - like monthly - but only when someone really impressive comes along. Sometimes they come close together; other times there are long intervals between them!