Penny Layne presents canine safety training to federal probation officers

police academy

On October 27th and 28th, Penny Layne, a Certified Professional Dog Trainer with 20+ years of experience, provided canine safety training to federal probation officers of the Western District of Pennsylvania.

This two hour training, which took place at the Allegheny County Police and Fire Academy in Allison Park, covered topics such how to “read” canine body language, how to decrease the likelihood of a dog attack, and what to do if an attack should occur.

Layne taught the officers how to determine whether a dog is aggressive and what steps can be taken to de-escalate a dangerous situation. Officers were taught to assess the environment and look for possible items to deflect an attacking dog.

The officers were also taught non-lethal options, which can be used should a dog attack occur. Using a variety of training methods, including videos and hands-on demonstrations, Layne showed the officers how to work individually or as a team in potentially dangerous situations.

In addition to probation officers, Layne offers canine safety training to police departments, fire departments, EMS personnel and other first responders. Her goal is to decrease the incidence of dog bites for people who are on the “front lines”, as well as decrease the number of dog shootings each year.

No government agency keeps a national database on the number of family pets killed each year by police officers. However animal activists say a pet is killed by law enforcement every 98 minutes in America. According to the National Canine Research Council, up to half of the intentional shootings by police involve dogs.

Layne believes this number could be significantly reduced by providing officers with proper training in dog behavior, access to animal control, knowledge of non-lethal techniques, and up-to-date equipment.

Canine safety training sessions cover a variety of topics including: how to assess your environment; reading a dog’s posture, vocalization and facial expressions; options for distraction and escape; defensive options; gathering information and evidence; and types of incidents and encounters.

To schedule a canine safety training session, email or call 724-515-7790. For more information on training for first responders, visit

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