Sunday, November 13, 2011

LAPD takes Jindo K9s off the menu

Do you know Chindo?

From the Los Angeles Times we get word that the Great Chindo K9 Experiment of 2011 has been a bust:
In a canine experiment in better policing, the LAPD recently spent months training a pair of South Korean-bred Jindo puppies as possible new street enforcement partners.

But the Jindos are in the doghouse as a replacement for more traditional European bloodlines, such as German shepherds or Belgian Malinois. The loyal but excitable Jindos, officials said, just didn't take to the exacting work of crowd control, weapons detection and drug sniffing.

"We worked hard with the dogs to develop their skills of sniffing out the odor of guns for detective work," said Sgt. Doug Roller, chief trainer for the K-9 platoon of the Los Angeles Police Department's Metropolitan Division. "They pretty much mastered the task, but once they got out of the training environment, they got distracted in the real world.... A leaf would blow, and they'd go chase it."

The Jindos — named Daehan and Mingook, which together translate as "Republic of Korea" — have been placed in private homes after trainers determined they lacked sufficient focus and consistency.
So the Chindo dogs were essentially canine versions of Korean yuhaksaeng: well disciplined and highly capable, but going hog wild when let loose abroad.

I don't really know what to say about this. I think Chindo dogs (sorry, but I don't like the "Jindo" spelling) are great as watchdogs, but it might take a lot more special breeding and training in Korea for them to be ready for prime time in the wild-and-woolly American police context.

For that matter, are Chindo dogs actually used much in Korean law enforcement? I suppose employing them more in a Korean situation to find out which strains are better equipped for real-world police work would be a good next step.

But the dogs used as drug-sniffers at Incheon International Airport are, famously, cloned canines, but not Chindo: they're Lab retrievers, straight from the lab. I suppose cloning some more of them and successfully getting them out in the field in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, or Peoria would also be a win for national pride.


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