chinese dogs, 狼犬, german shepherds, GSD, kunming dogs, liangyou, malinois, police dogs, training, young companion
From a spread entitled “Training Police Dogs” 警犬之訓練 in the November, 1935 issue of The Young Companion [Liangyou 良友], a Shanghai-based illustrated monthly magazine. Photographs by WEI Shouzhong 魏守忠.
Apologies for the fuzzy picture quality (click to enlarge). The dogs in this article appear to be primarily Shepherd dogs (Malinois, GSD, etc.) that are generically translated as “wolf dogs” (狼犬) whether or not they have actual wolf ancestry. Not all the text is clearly visible either. I’ve transcribed what I could below. There was one significant portion that was not translated into English, so my rough translation is included in italics.
警越礙練 － 為本時攝犬障物習此跳牆所。
When this magazine commissioned these pictures from the reporter, Mr. Wei Shouzhong in Beiping (Beijing), attached to two were these notes: “These dogs are being raised privately by Mr. Jiang Bin. The dogs’ performances were photographed with his permission, and under guidance of trainer Wang. The training of police dogs depends entirely on the synergistic energy of the trainer and his dog, using a combination of authority and affection. The dog’s every action comes from his devotion to his master, with no concern for anything else. Achieving the command comes first; all the rest follows. The difference between police dogs and traditional dogs is that there are only two ways to train traditional dogs: with punishment by beating and with the lure of food. None of their actions come from their devotion to their master, but rather from their desire for food or their fear of punishment. These are not methods that can be used on police dogs. The reward and punishment of police dogs is entirely dependent on spirit of behavior, or else when it comes time to put their life on the line, they may stop mid-path for want of food or fear of blows, and thus be rendered useless indeed!
“The dogs trained by Mr. Jiang are all Western breeds, because they are quick and intelligent in spirit, strong of memory, and hale of body. As for dogs of our country [China], because of [canine] race relations, and the closeness of bloodlines, the dogs bred are dull and stupid, and thus not appropriate to become police dogs. Unless we organize the breeds in our country, employ a systematic method of breeding, after ten or so years, it would follow that breeds would gradually improve, and could be used selectively. The West not only attends to the pairing of canine bloodlines with precision, [livestock animal husbandry] of cows, sheep, horses, etc. is also like this. We rely on foreign countries for everything. If we don’t increase our efforts, foreigners will have the advantage even when it comes to a single chicken or dog — a disgrace indeed.
Police dogs provide a tremendous assistance to police work because their exceptional sense of smell can accomplish what humans cannot. We often get a glimpse of this in the movies…
To find the smell of a stolen object
Keen watch over his master’s possessions
To rescue a bonded person
Jumping over fences
Daily outdoor exercises
Science of Dogs. said:
Thanks for all the work that went into the transcribing and translating.
“The dog’s every action comes from his devotion to his master, with no concern for anything else. Achieving the command comes first; all the rest follows. The difference between police dogs and traditional dogs is that there are only two ways to train traditional dogs: with punishment by beating and with the lure of food. None of their actions come from their devotion to their master, but rather from their desire for food or their fear of punishment. These are not methods that can be used on police dogs. ”
Ahead of their time. This is the way modern police and military dogs are being trained today; fascinating to see the sentiment being expressed 80 years ago.
Yes, I found that detail fascinating, as well! Also the attention paid to inbreeding, even if it’s just to provide a crude contrast between “native” practice in favor of “Western” methods. I suspect actual practices weren’t quite so clear cut… just as the training of police dogs may not all have been completely punishment-free. It is, however, significant that they are presenting this as a viable training philosophy to a popular audience, even if only in non-specific terms.