Sep 7, 2011
Radical Protection Dog Training Methods Designed Exclusively for Mexico. Featured in Proceso, Mexico’s Political Magazine.
The Most Radical Defense
He’s spent decades training German Shepherds in the Kraftwerk K9 Academy in Rochester, Washington, and he claims to have the finest representatives of the breed. Wayne Curry, who says that when it comes to defending owners from any threat, the dogs that he trains are truly defensive machines. Furthermore, he stresses, these dogs are incorruptible. Proceso visited Curry at his place of work and confirmed his technique. He says that he just finalized a “special course to defend Mexicans from violence, threats, and kidnappings,” at the special request of businessmen in the neighboring country.
Rochester, Washington State.– As pets they are adorable, but as bodyguards, they are defensive machines when it comes to protecting their owners, says Wayne Curry, of the dogs he trains at Kraftwerk K9, an academy he has directed in this city for many years.
These trained animals, he adds, “can save the lives of many Mexicans; no doubt about it.”
An expert in training German Shepherds for personal protection, Curry announced that he just developed and refined a “special course to defend Mexicans from violence, threats, and kidnappings.”
The location where he trains his animals spans 25 acres. There, he daily trains seven German Shepherds – four females and three males—in his Mexican defense course.
At first glance, these animals appear to be perfectly well-behaved pets, but when it comes to defending their master, they transform into ferocious beasts with a single objective: to eliminate the attacker or intruder, he says.
Recognized in Europe and the United States, where he has won many competitions for his canine defense techniques, Curry invited Proceso to show how he prepares his course. “My dogs aren’t your typical guardians. They are bred only to do one job, and that job is protection.”
One of these dogs is Rudy. He is just under three years old and weighs 95 pounds. At the first sound of his owner’s footsteps, he leaves his place and dashes off to meet the stranger that accompanies his trainer. He does it without barking.
“Easy. He won’t do anything to you. However, I suggest you don’t put your hands in your pant pockets,” says Curry to the reporter.
Rudy, a beautiful specimen, almost totally black, begins to scrutinize the visitor. He points his nose on the right pant pocket and stares into the eyes of the reporter.
– What have you got in your pocket? Curry asks.
Curry speaks a command to Rudy in German and the dog backs off. “If you’d brought a pistol in your pocket, Rudy only would have barked; if you’d tried to pull it out, Rudy would have taken you down,” said the owner of Kraftwerk K9.
Jake Allenton and Anthony Akers, veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq war, are Curry’s co-workers. Allenton is the director of operations. Akers specializes in training dogs to detect explosives and also directs the training programs.
Both accompany Curry while he shows the reporter the facilities and tells why he decided to create a course for Mexico: “I sell dogs to many businessmen in my country, Europe, Middle East and Asia. Some years ago a client of mine brought some Mexican businessmen who wanted to buy a dog. ”
He says that they were surprised to see what these animals will do to protect their owners, including patrolling a house or a business. In the end, he says, they bought a Shepherd. Although Curry wouldn’t share the name of those clients, he said that from then on, he began to get more Mexican business.
Special course for Mexico
A few months ago, says the owner of Kraftwerk K9, we sold four animals to a businessman from Querétario, and two to an individual from Monterrey. He says that some of his Mexican clients – “very rich men whose names I cannot give you”— asked him if he would sell dogs to prevent kidnappings.
“They told me how the criminals in Mexico kidnap or mug people. From there I came up with the idea to design a special course for Mexico. This is the first time I’ve spoken of this program to the media.”
His assistant, Akers, a sturdy young man, gets ready to demonstrate a mock assault with a deadly weapon. He is wearing special overalls to protect himself from the dog’s claws, and a special sweater with protective sleeves to guard against the dog’s teeth.
The protectors are so strong that they can even withstand the impact of a baseball bat. Akers also covers his face with a mask and makes sure that he carries a loaded revolver.
With Akers dressed and ready, Curry says, “Come on Rudy.” And the exercise begins.
Curry returns to set up the scene. Parked in front of his house is a Porsche –“I bought it to imitate the type of car used by the Mexican businessmen who inspired me to develop this course,” he says- and then he gives an order to Rudy in german. The dog playfully approaches his master. Another german word and Rudy sits next to the car.
Rudy is given the command to get up into the back of the car. He complies.
“Let’s go to the highway. There we can simulate a carjacking, an assault, or a kidnapping – your call,” he says.
Curry drives the Porsche, and his assistant Akers follows in a small truck. The car begins to slow down to stop at a red traffic light, which the truck approaches from behind. In this instant, Rudy lifts his head.
What happens next only takes seconds: Akers gets out of the truck brandishing a gun and approaches the driver side window of the Porsche. He shouts and tries to open the door. Before the attacker realizes it, Curry presses a button opening the back of the car and Rudy jumps on the enemy.
Before the would-be criminal realizes what is happening, Rudy had already bitten his arm which held the gun; his bite destroying muscle and tendons.
The impact brings down the assailant, who cannot get out from under the German Shepherd.
The driver of the Porsche gets out of the car, picks up the offenders gun, and turns it on him.
The dog does not release his prey. He will only let go when his master gives the order in german. The assailant gets up in an attempt to dash to his truck but Curry gives the dog another command and the dog immediately hurls himself at the aggressor.
“In his second attack, Rudy doesn’t go after the arm- the assailant no longer has a weapon- but instead goes for the leg, the neck or the face,” Curry explains to the reporter while the dog continues punishing the alleged attacker.
“He won’t let go until ordered, or until he rips off the body part that he is biting. My dogs only release their victims when commanded to do so,” he adds.
Curry decides to give another demonstration, this time with two cars manned by presumed aggressors; one in front and one behind the Porsche. The first attacker that approaches the driver side door or his accomplice will be attacked by Rudy, without the dog giving a single bark.
Curry’s other assistant, Allenton, explains that when a person is attacked from two cars, the surprise factor is what will save the life of the victim. “While the aggressor’s accomplice figures out what is happening, the victim will have time to flee in their own vehicle, or from it, especially if the attack happens on a busy street.
And even if the assailants manage to kill the dog, “it doesn’t matter,” says Allenton, “the owner can replace it with another one. What’s important here is saving the life of the owner.”
Kraftwerk K9 is located in a valley surrounded by pine trees in Rochester, Washington, 85 miles south of Seattle. It includes training fields and a lodge which serves as its central office, as well as a laboratory, a medical center, a food storage facility, and canine workout center.
It also contains dozens of reinforced steel mesh kennels. Within the perimeter of the kennel is a circular cement path, and at the center of the kennel stands a Christmas tree, beneath which the dogs sleep.
On our second day visiting the academy, Curry told us he has 23 adult German Shepherds and 34 puppies. He also said that the dogs he trained were purchased in Germany.
Karlo, a 110-pound “sable” arrived in Rochester three months ago. Since then, Curry has personally seen to his care and training. Akers, the director of training programs for Kraftwerk K9, says that only 20% of Shepherds are sable, and the majority of these are in Germany.
Kraftwerk K9 is the only academy that operates outside of Germany that has licenses to import and sell German Shepherds for personal defense. All are registered with the German National Association of dogs.
“I’m going to give you an exclusive, something that has never been seen anywhere in the world,”
says Curry to the reporter at the start of the second day of the academy tour. In one of the training fields are aluminum arches. At the highest point of these arches, about six feet off the ground, hangs a tube designed by Curry to train his canines. The apparatus and course are patented, says the owner of Kraftwerk K9.
His assistants explain that this demonstration is designed so that visitors may see the way in which dogs detect all types of firearms, ammunition, chemicals, and any drugs.
In one of the arches, a gun is fastened about 3 feet off the ground and each animal must locate it between the angles of the tubes in each arch. When one encounters the gun, the dog sits below the arch and points their nose at the target. They only move from their place when ordered to do so by the trainers. Then the dog receives a small plastic ball from one of the tubes as a reward.
This exercise is repeated several times, always changing the location of the gun; including hiding it in some pant pockets to attempt to confuse the animal. The trainers use seven dogs, including Karlo and Rudy. Their search is always successful.
“The originality of this training is that my dogs do not need someone to handle them with a leash. They are free, very free when they are working. Nobody has this; not even the Pentagon with their bomb-detection dogs,”
He clarifies that his dogs would be very valuable beyond this Mexican training. They could be used on the US border to stop the illegal flow of weapons that the government complains so much about, he says.
“The difference,” he explains, “is that our dogs cannot be corrupted like humans can. They don’t need a leash to direct them to a specific vehicle, suitcase, or handbag. My dogs are incorruptible.”
Although by their size and physical appearance, especially in cases like Rudy or Karlo, “they look like wolves,” the dogs of Kraftwerk K9 are also trained to interact without aggression towards humans and other dogs.
To demonstrate this, Curry and his assistants take the reporter to a busy shopping center. Wearing a vest which reads,” Do not pet the dog,” Rudy walks beside his owner, who holds his leash.
Curry walks in and out of stores with Rudy. The dog does not bark and moves with a calm demeanor. Some little girls approach to touch him. Curry gives the dog an order in german and the dog allows the girls to pull his hair, his tail…
Dogs from Kraftwerk K9 range in price from 3 thousand to 50 thousand dollars. The least expensive are the puppies, while those trained to provide personal protection to their owners are priced the highest.
Trainings for pups born at Kraftwerk K9 Academy begins at eight weeks of age and ends when the dogs are 3 or 3 ½ years old, when they are ready for sale.
“They only need a few hours of rest and protection from high temperatures; they can remain active seven days of the week until they are 8 or 9 years old,” says Curry, while showing the reporter statistics of visits received on their website www.kraftwerkk9.com. Just last week: 82 thousand hits. 61 thousand from the US, 5 thousand from Canada, 935 from Germany, 437 from Mexico, and 332 from Brazil.
And although he admits that his dogs are expensive for the average Mexican, he says that they were the ones who asked him to train dogs to save them from assaults, kidnapping, carjacking, and murder, and they had enough money to buy themselves a Porsche… like his.