Workshops

Specially designed coursework for Handlers of Working Canines 

 

OVERVIEW

The National Disaster Search Dog Foundation (SDF), in conjunction with Instructors Teresa MacPherson and Deborah Burnett, are pleased to announce that we are opening the gates of our National Training Center (NTC) for a series of US&R Live Find team training weekends throughout 2019! These training weekends are an opportunity to work with your canine partner in a variety of real-world scenarios on 125 acres. You will receive quality one-on-one instruction delivered by Teresa MacPherson and Deborah Burnett, to include problem-solving and feedback. These two-day training weekends will be largely field-work, concentrating on disaster search that may include foundation training elements and wide area search scenarios, building and rubble search areas.

 

The description and objectives of each training weekend will vary (read below). Each time, we will be able to accommodate up to sixteen (16) canine teams on a first-come, first-served basis. In addition, up to ten (10) Observers may register for the full workshop in a hands-off capacity (no dogs), at a discounted rate. These training weekends are customized for and available to US&R Live Find canine teams only. Various levels of experience will be accommodated.

 

PREREQUISITES

  1. All dogs must be:
  • Under control and well-behaved;
  • Healthy;
  • Dog may not be in heat;
  • Non-aggressive;
  • Trained indication on LF.
  1. Handlers must be affiliated with a recognized agency.

 

NOT required – Completion of Type II/FSA or Type I/CE certification(s).

Course: Fun Hunts & Advanced Reward Systems

Course Dates: February 16-17, 2019

Registration Deadline: February 1, 2019

Hours: 16

Handler Participant Registration Fee: $450 per student

Observer: $200 per student

Optional Room & Board Fee: $155 includes 2 night’s stay at SDF’s Handler’s Lodge and meals

We will kick off 2019 with a variety of “Fun Hunts” that will test each Handler’s ability to safely navigate themselves and their canine partners through a variety of disaster scenarios designed by Teresa MacPherson and Deborah Burnett. As Instructors, Teresa and Deborah will observe and critique the teams’ ability to locate live victims for rescue, and apply problem solving techniques. In addition, a portion of the weekend will focus on Advanced Reward Systems, once referred to as “Drive & Decoy” training. Handlers will learn how to develop and channel drive, as well as better motivate a variety of breeds, so as to get the most out of each Search Dog on their task force.

 

Course: Back to Basics

Course Dates: June 29-30, 2019

Registration Deadline: June 14, 2019

Hours: 16

Handler Participant Registration Fee: $450 per student

Observer: $200 per student

Optional Room & Board Fee: $155 includes 2 night’s stay at SDF’s Handler’s Lodge and meals

This weekend will focus on strengthening training skills that are the bedrock of Search Dog work! Training elements from the FEMA Foundation Skills Assessment (FSA) / SUS&R Type II test will be folded in to help both green teams preparing to test and seasoned teams who could use a refresher, as well as those who may need help in specific areas. The stronger the foundation, the better the team! In addition, a portion of the weekend will focus on Advanced Reward Systems, once referred to as “Drive & Decoy” training. Handlers will learn how to develop and channel drive, as well as better motivate a variety of breeds, so as to get the most out of each Search Dog on their task force.

 

Course: Ready for Certification!

Course Dates: September 28-29, 2019

Registration Deadline: September 13, 2019

Hours: 16

Handler Participant Registration Fee: $450 per student

Observer: $200 per student

Optional Room & Board Fee: $155 includes 2 night’s stay at SDF’s Handler’s Lodge and meals

Get ready to put all your hard work to the test! This phase will concentrate on bridging the gap from FSA to the CE.  Focus will be given to building the search team’s confidence by highlighting search skills and putting energy into problem solving. Instructors will observe, offer feedback and really focus the weekend’s training elements on the needs of the individual search teams.

 

Course: Beyond Certification – Deployment-readiness

Course Dates: December 7-8, 2019

Registration Deadline: November 22, 2019

Hours: 16

Handler Participant Registration Fee: $450 per student

Observer: $200 per student

Optional Room & Board Fee: $155 includes 2 night’s stay at SDF’s Handler’s Lodge and meals

Start changing the way you train! How you and your canine partner search on deployment is different from how you train to pass the CE/Type I. We will take you out of the Test Box! We will be focusing on deployment-readiness exercises utilizing many of the disaster props at the NTC to give search teams exposure to as many different deployment scenarios as time allows. Instructors will observe, offer feedback and help you get to that next level of Search!

 

For more information and to apply for any 2019 Weekend Training Sessions at SDF, please download this form and email completed application to [email protected]

 

Superfit Canine Disaster K9 Workshop

Saturday, December 8, 2018 – Sunday, December 9, 2018  – Santa Paula, California held at SDF’s National Training Center

2 day Live Find/HRD disaster K9 workshop at the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation’s (SDF) National Training Center in Santa Paula, CA. This non-instructional workshop allowed handlers to expose their dogs to a variety of search problems in a supportive environment.

Human Remains Detection (HRD)

August 4-5, 2018–This course provided participants an opportunity to work their HRD canines in a variety of real-world scenarios with various scent sources on 125 acres. Participants received quality one-on-one instruction delivered by instructor Teresa MacPherson, to include problem-solving and feedback. This two-day workshop was largely field-work, concentrating on disaster search to include wide area search scenarios (hurricanes/tornadoes), building and rubble search areas. This course was designed for HR teams who wish to train for disaster search. Canines who participated must have had a trained indication on HR and the handler must be affiliated with a recognized agency. Read more details about the course.

 

Canine Wellness Workshop

May 5-6, 2018–The target audience for this workshop was trainers, handlers, and program managers responsible for the maintenance and physical conditioning of working canines. Three primary aspects of canine wellness were the focus:
  • K9 Fitness: Built a repertoire of exercises that will enhancing the working canine’s performance and endurance as well as minimize their risk of injury. It covered core strength, flexibility, proprioception (limb awareness), agility, strength building,and pre and post work stretching.
  • K9 Nutrition: Participants learned about ingredients, diet selection, and supplements. They also left with an understanding of dietary impact on olfaction and GI Upset in the field.
  • Decontamination: Participants gained a thorough understanding of the types of contaminants, improved practices, required supplies, timing of decontamination and the impacts of failed decontamination.

Second Drive and Decoy Workshop Offered at the National Training Center

The training group sets out.

May 1-3, 2015–SDF opened its doors at the National Training Center (NTC) in Santa Paula, CA to host its second Drive & Decoy Workshop. The course was taught by SDF Master Trainer, Sonja Heritage, and then-SDF Canine Recruitment Manager, Darrell Wilkerson. The two instructed handlers on how to increase their canines’ prey drive by becoming a better handler and a better decoy, or victim. In 2015, handlers were fortunate to meet Erin Venable, instructor in Animal Science, Food & Nutrition at Southern Illinois University, who gave a bonus lesson in canine nutrition and healthcare.

Course description from the USAR Foundation:

The Drive and Decoy Workshop is a highly interactive class, designed to break down “Drive” as it relates to working dogs. It will demonstrate how to develop and channel that drive to maximize training time and make your team as successful as it can be. The class instructs the student how to decoy for and motivate different breeds in order to capitalize on the positive characteristics of each breed thereby allowing you to bring this practical, hands-on knowledge and ability back to support your own team’s canines.

The Drive & Decoy Workshop was open to both state and federal Canine Disaster Search Teams and served as a great learning forum for all teams who attended. Handlers greatly appreciated being able to discuss the concepts they were learning as well as share ideas and tips based on their own experiences with their canines. Many handlers left the NTC at the end of the course asking when the next workshop will be held at our learning center so they can be sure and sign up as soon as the class opens for registration.

Drive and Decoy Workshop attendees:

  • Pamela Krotz (Participant Colorado Task Force 1 – Denver)Two Search Dogs demonstrate their prey drive.
  • Linda D’Orsi & Haley (California Task Force 8 – San Diego)
  • Alan Perry & Zeus (Florida Task Force 1 – Miami-Dade)
  • Mike Stornetta & Rocket (California Task Force 4 – Oakland)
  • Stacie Stornetta (Participant – Oakland)
  • Jens Pietrzyk & Prism (Colorado Task Force 1 – Denver)
  • Dennis DiMarzio & Ty (California Task Force 2 – LA County)
  • PJ Parker & Bodhi (Florida Task Force 1 – Miami-Dade)
  • Tom Carney & Gypsy & Allie (California Task Force 3 – Menlo Park)
  • Julie Padelford-Jansen & Ricochet (Florida Task Force 2 – Miami)


From Handler Linda D’Orsi:
“I’m getting everything out of this course that I had hoped to. I learned the building blocks of behaviors so that I can troubleshoot problems with dogs in the future. I’ll bring a better skillset back to the San Diego training group. This will be especially important as new, young dogs join the team.”

From Handler Jens Pietrzyk:
“The instructors were very knowledgeable! I took a ton of notes and already contacted our Training Group Leader to let her know this class is fantastic and we need to get more of our teams out here. I can’t wait to return to the NTC and train on more of the props as building continues.”