Workshops at the NTC

Drive & Decoy class

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.”

Find us on Social Media:Facebook logoTwitter logo

Print your tickets