A skills house for dog training, purpose built for environmental development and training. A three storey structure with heaters for climate control to replicate anything from a cold cellar to a heated house and camera points for recording searches.
Nestling on a wooded hillside in grounds of the Finnish National Police Dog School is an alpine lodge easily mistaken for a ski chalet. But take a closer look and clues can be found to its true purpose. One benefit of a national school set-up is having the justification for purpose built facilities and this building is one example.
The ground floor houses the half a car set into a wall. A real car sliced in half. It’s used for conditioning young dogs in the early stages of targeted vehicle searching. Combined with limited access to the vehicle interior and magnetic hide holders it is a clever idea.
Up to the first floor and this reveals two false walls. Each wall conceals a collection of hides which are loaded from behind the wall. The hides are presented at various heights and the vents controllable to limit scent emission and fans are used to circulate the scent patterns.
On the lower ground level we find a collection of rooms the door frames of which have built-in concealed hides at various heights. It also has sunken wells, drains and hides which can be covered by a variety of methods. Through these rooms and we find ourselves in a garage. Again heaters and fans can be used to mimic different environments and cars are wheeled in to accustom dogs to work in cramped conditions.
And outside the ingenuity continues with a variety of contrived hides, drains, barrels, buried and garden furniture to mention a few. A metal bridge with open framework and stairs, a useful tool for environmental work
Though predominantly designed for search dog work we have to remember that here in Finland patrol dogs are also dual purpose and hold a specialist search role. And if you look closer you can find concealed hides big enough hold a man making the skills house a great place to start patrol dog searching.
This is an intelligent and well planned facility and could be produced for just a few thousand pounds making it an inexpensive drop in the ocean of the policing budget. I am guessing limitations imposed by weather here may have been one motivation for the skills house but that applies everywhere and the controllability of the environment makes it a valuable all year round asset.