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2018 Working Dog Conference Classes

Scent Training Aids

What is odor? What does a K9 actually smell within explosives, narcotics, firearms or cadaver? How does the nose work? Even with these unanswered questions, there is an institutionalized understanding that real materials make the best scent-training aids for the imprinting and maintenance training of detector K9s. However, recent findings from our laboratory and field data indicate that most of the shortcomings observed within the actions of operational detector K9s (e.g., false alerts, ignoring large hides, generalization of items during detection) are actually caused by the use of these real materials, and of their misconceived, misconfigured analogues, as scent-training aids (e.g., real materials mixed with inert materials), and brings to question the viability of using these real materials as gold standards for their own detection.

Using scientific data, user videos, operational feedbacks, and client testimonials, this class will discuss the properties of real materials that can cause non-desirable shortcomings within detector K9s, and provide insights on how the use of next-generation chemically formulated training aids, CFTA’s, (aka pseudos) can circumvent these problems, and provide detector K9s with scent-and-detect capabilities that are superior to those of K9s trained on real materials.

This is scent detection at its most fundamental, and presented in a way that brings a new understanding to the essential characteristics of ideal scent training aids, clarifying some of the misconceptions found in some published scientific papers and reports, and is a must-attend class for all active trainers and handlers.

Instructor David Adebimpe, DSc, PhD, CChem

Decoy and Bite Work

A brief introduction stressing the importance of proper decoy techniques and K9 communication. Over the last 20 years, great strides have been taken in educating agencies and handlers in the benefits of well-trained decoys, but it is still commonplace for most to subject their K9 partners to work with untrained agitators. Although those who volunteer to decoy are well intended, it is simply a “set up for failure.” Physical and physiological damage caused by untrained decoys are often irreversible and on occasion, career-ending, not to mention the danger of potential injury we often expose these untrained, well-intended decoys to. The role of the decoy is vitally important to the success or failure of any program. A properly trained decoy is not only mechanically sound but must be as well versed at recognizing the size of stress.

Instructor Franco Angelini

K9 Obedience: Solving the Mystery of Off-Leash Control

Many canine handlers struggle with getting control of their K9 partners in obedience and aggression work. This lecture seeks to demystify the road to off leash control, explaining the scientific basis of achieving off-leash control of a dog in a high state of drive. If your dog is flat in obedience from over-use of pressure, or out of control under distractions, if you cannot get outs on command or recalls achieved without using overwhelming force over and over again, you need this class. You will learn about the brain chemistry of reward systems and how to deliver rewards to create unbreakable habits. You will understand how learning theory applied properly in training will result in consistent heeling, out and recall behaviors. Through the use of video clips, you will see how to build these fixed-action patterns in your dog so the struggle to keep achieving these goals becomes more the maintenance of a well-developed habit, rather than the “groundhog day” of certification preparation. Once your baseline behaviors are well developed it frees you to do more advanced work, and apply your obedience in scenario-based training exercises without struggling over the basics of control.

Instructor Jerry Bradshaw

Building Searches: The Tactical Advantage

Building searches for a person using a working dog are a frequent task that handlers are called upon to conduct. However, the ability to perform an effective and thorough search while maintaining proper tactics often conflict with one another. This course will emphasize training to improve not just the performance of the working dog but also the performance of the working dog and handler as a team. Instruction will be given on proper tactics in various situations, training exercises to benefit the working dog and the team, and important considerations to avoid unnecessary risk.

Instructor Jay Brock

The Critical Blueprint to Building True Street Dogs

High Drive K-9 has created an honest, explosive, disciplined class dealing solely with K9 engagement issues, relating to K9 bite building and problem-solving strategies. Providing the essential techniques and strategies to properly prepare K9 teams for the road is what this is all about. This course will help each handler to gain a better understanding of how to build, strengthen, and prepare K9 Teams for real life combat. During this course, you will be provided with advanced training techniques, exercises and a tactical mental approach to succeed under the extreme stress you will face during a K9 engagement. You will be instructed with a positive, open-minded approach, providing you with all the necessary tools for success. This course dives into topics such as canine aggression, muzzles, hidden sleeves, ground fighting, combat training, true scenario training and much more. This course will build and strengthen K9 teams, preparing and providing them with the awareness and skills to deploy with skilled and dependable “Street Dogs.”

Instructor Scott Clark

K9 Officer Down

“Officer Down!” These two words evoke discomfort and confusion in any officer’s mind. This is becoming a trend in today’s world of policing. A complex scenario has turned into an extreme challenge for the K9 handler and backup officers involved. How will the deployed K9 team handle this scene that is rapidly unfolding in front of them?

High Drive K-9 has the answer. We have created a clear-cut training course that will remedy this stressful and chaotic event. This course is devised to train, educate and support both K9 handlers and all other officers in your agency. This course will cover real-life practical applications and scenarios, providing you with a better understanding of the difficulties involved in a K9 handler down situation. In addition, this course will provide you with numerous options and strategies so that your agency can put a concrete plan in place if this were to occur in your agency. By the end of this course, handlers and officers will be more secure and prepared in the event an “Officer Down” issues arise.

Instructor Scott Clark

Tips and Tricks to Improve Deployment Performance

This class will provide you with user-friendly tips on managing your dog for better performance….learn how to manage your dog in intense environmental conditions and decrease physical and mental stress thru pre and post-deployment nutrient, hydration and kennel management.

Instructors Russell Kelley, Jill Cline, PhD &
Rick Kesler, DVM

K9 Supervisor - More Than Just a Title

In this class we will discuss a wide variety of topics including the following:

  • Why We Lose K9 Programs
  • Problem Handler and Handler Selection
  • K9 Selection
  • Budgeting
  • Record Keeping
  • K9 Unit Pros and Cons
  • Problem Supervisor

We will provide attendees copies of any presentation upon request.

Instructor Ron Cloward

Current Events Involving HME

This class will provide necessary information about HME production and site exploitation in an effort to keep K9 handlers safe when investigating a possible clandestine lab. The presentation will include current and emerging HME threats and go beyond the traditional discussions of peroxide-based explosives. The presentation will be accompanied by visual aids of precursor containers and videos of various explosives. We will cover:

• Basic explosive fundamentals

• HME precursors

• Safe handling

• HME detection

• Distinguishing between HME production and other threats

Instructor Laura DeBuck

Managing Extreme Bite Behavior

When a dog is deployed to locate a suspect, there will be times when it is necessary for the dog to make physical contact with the suspect to bring the arrest to a successful conclusion. In such circumstances the excitement levels are high. At the time of apprehension, the suspect, officer, and even back up officers are going through physiological changes that involve large dumps of adrenalin. It’s no different for any police dog. That dump of adrenalin can interfere with the dogs’ ability to think clearly, making it more difficult for the dog to release the bite. Some dogs are more prone to extreme bite work issues for a multitude of reasons. If you have a dog that will not release a bite on command, you are putting yourself at a major risk for potential liability and you are less tactically sound on the street.

Many bite work problems start with the extreme conditioning of the dogs’ behavior from the time they are a puppy. These problems are exacerbated by dogs that are bred to be more pain resistant, trained to fight harder and many that are prone to pain induced aggression. Understanding the physiological changes that occur in these dogs as well as some basic fundamental background can help you develop techniques to understand how to overcome extreme bite issues. His class will help you to understand the problems and provide you techniques to help you clean up your bite work to obtain a more controllable and responsive dog.

Instructor Bob Eden

K9 Learning Concepts

Bob Eden was introduced to training using primarily compulsive techniques, however early in his career, recognized that many facets of training involved doing repetitive routines that resulted in short-term behavior changes, but not real long-term behavior modification. He started to question the viability of standard pain and pleasure principles and began to study what animal behaviorists in other fields were doing to accomplish their training goals. It became apparent that other trainers were modifying the behaviors with great success by allowing the animals to train themselves. Not only did this involve introducing more motivational techniques, but it also involved setting up the training that allowed the animal to fail. When the animal is never rewarded for those failures, it isn’t long before the behavior begins to change. When he or she understands how the canine mind functions and understands how to communicate with and shape the animals’ behavior success rates improve. A trainer who understands fundamental canine behavior and takes advantage of the dogs learning capabilities by working at the dogs’ level rather than trying to get the dog to conform to human behavior will have long-lasting success. Simply put, a skilled trainer can create desired results by allowing the dog to learn from failure using techniques the animal is able to understand. While this weighs heavily on the use of motivational techniques, it is important to understand that training must be well balanced. There will always be a place for corrective methods and the use of other well known and used traditional techniques, however by combining those methods and introducing these concepts, your training can be more efficient and successful.

Instructor Bob Eden

Narcotics Class: Bettering Detector Dogs Through Handler Skills

This class covers handling techniques that enable K9 teams to be more effective on the street. Topics of discussion; things that affect the movement of odor, training records and how to testify in court. Drives and character traits needed for a good detector.

Instructor Ricky Farley

Patrol Dog Class: Making Dogs More Successful Through Pictures

Dogs learn through repetition. By showing dogs scenarios that are normal to us but abnormal to the dog it makes him more reliable. This training is done in a muzzle. Muzzle training will be discussed in great detail.

Instructor Ricky Farley

How to Fundraise for Your K9 Unit

This two-hour block provides handlers and K9 unit administrators with real-world solutions towards a fiscally sound and popular K9 unit. This block goes WAY beyond applying for grants and shows how to find support to purchase dog food, vet care, purchasing of trained dogs, training aids, bulletproof vests, equipment and much more.

K9 units often suffer from the very first rounds of municipal, county and state cutbacks. What they (and perhaps you) don’t realize, is that the police K9 is probably the easiest unit in the department to raise ‘significant’ money and support from the community. Learn just how easy it is to raise money and get the things you need at the same time increasing the community popularity and support of the K9s.

Learn from someone who has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for police K9 units. Dr. Ferland is a dynamic and humorous presenter, who engages police officers. Invest in your K9 unit and learn the business of raising money.

Topics covered:

  • How to identify support.
  • How to start your own non-profit support organization.
  • Where to find money.
  • Who to include on your team.
  • What NOT to do…. what to stay away from.

Instructor Dr. David “Lou” Ferland

Operational Based Explosive Dog Training & Importance of Search Intel

This Reality Check Class, Will Surely Improve Your Explosive Detection K9 Program

Paul completed a two-year Advanced EDD study at VWK9`s Academy, in which 100+ police, military, and private sector EDD dog teams were tested on an operational based training and Intel gathering exercise and the results will surprise you & reinforce why this speaker session is a must to attend. Correct operational based training and use of task intelligence is the number one factor for EDD team success during operational Tasks.

Instructor Paul Hammond

Vapor Wake® Body-Worn/Carried Explosive Detection

Understanding the Very Latest Advancements in Body-Worn Explosive K9 Detection

Understanding the difference between traditional bomb dogs, people screening dogs, and Vapor Wake® K9s. The threat of a body-worn explosive attack is real and understanding the types of explosive detection dogs available and their correct use and deployment is key to detection success. This informative presentation takes a detailed look at the various types of explosive K9 detection, industry advancements and provides a live K9 demonstration of the very latest patented technology – Vapor Wake®.

Instructor Paul Hammond

Scent Detection Procurement: Selecting the Right K9 for the Job

An in depth course that covers how to properly evaluate a K9’s drive, environmental confidence and socialabilty using a 100 point scoring process. This course includes what medical screening should be completed prior to selecting a K9 along with what medical and performance guarantees should be included in a sales agreement. Jason focuses on how to choose the right K9 in any discipline of scent detection based on needs of the department or specific mission.

Instructor Jason Johnson

Obedience to Odor

This class will take handlers deeper into why detection dogs do what they do. Ken will delve into what “drives” are and how they are utilized. The term obedient to odor refers to the dog understanding that odor drives the reward, not the handler. This fast pace class will cover everything from odor imprintation, to reward, to search patterns and the why’s behind each of these components of detection dog training. Not only is this class highly entertaining, but most of all, it is highly informative.

Instructor Ken Licklider

Parcel Interdiction

The course will cover parcel interdiction by the way of FedEx, UPS, United States Postal Service and other shipping companies. The course will cover topics such as how to implement a parcel team, identifying suspicious shipping characteristics, using a drug detection dog, preparation of parcel search warrants, “knock and talks” and case law. The course will benefit officers who wish to start a parcel team and those who currently are involved with parcel interdiction.

Instructors Sgt. Marty Mahon &
Britt Elmore

Vet Check: K9 101 - Understanding Your K9 From Head to Tail

From head to tail, we will discuss all aspects of medical care for your K9 including topics such as vaccinations, Narcan, and much more. This course will help you recognize when your K9 may require veterinary care. It’s easy to recognize trauma, but what about more common symptoms? Learn the most current tips and tricks for treating the everyday problems your K9 may face.

As a veterinarian, I know you may have a variety of concerns for your K9 partner and I want you to feel comfortable knowing how to provide the best care. Come with your questions as I can cover additional topics of interest as well.

Instructor Alexis Newman, DVM

How Canines Detect Leaks in Natural Gas and Oil Pipelines

A comprehensive look at how the K9 Leak Detection Industry got started and the results of the dogs detecting leaks in buried natural gas and oil pipelines. This class will also examine how dogs are deployed to detect leaks in buildings.

Instructor Paris Nicholson III

The World of Muzzle Training

Jim O’Brien will open your minds to the many uses of the muzzle. The muzzle is a great tool for bridging the gap between bite work with equipment and real-life street bites. Jim will go over several steps to building a confident K9. Muzzle scenarios will be explained including obedience, ball play, tracking, civil agitation, building searches, area searches and more. Jim will also explain the importance of selection of our canine partner to ensure we are choosing the best possible partner.

Instructor Jim O’Brien

K9 Legal: Session 1 - Criminal Law Issues
  • 4th Amendment Overview
  • Vehicle Sniffs
  • Vehicle Search
  • Occupant Search
  • Hot Pursuit
  • Private Residence Sniffs
  • Hotels, Storage Facilities and Apartments
  • K9 Certification Standards
  • Tracking Evidence
  • Marijuana Legalization Effect on K9
  • Instructor John M. Peters, Attorney at Law

K9 Legal: Session 2 - Civil Liability Issues
  • Mutual Aid Agreements
  • K9 Record Keeping
  • K9 Supervisory Liability
  • K9 as Use of Force
  • Pre-Deployment Warnings
  • K9 and The Body Cam
  • Avoiding Civil Liability
  • How to Defend, Prepare and Testify in a K9 Case
  • K9 and Public Relations – Why Does it Matter?

Instructor John M. Peters, Attorney at Law

Introduction to the E-Collar and Problem Solving

This lecture will cover basic introduction to the E-collar as well as advanced work. General problem solving will be covered as well as correcting “bad training.” The class will also discuss off lead search tactics, direction and control, forward downs, verbal outs vs choke off, and other related tactical considerations. Doug utilizes videos of countless workshops to demonstrate various methods utilized during his workshops.

Instructor Doug Roller

High Risk K9 Patrol Operations and K9 SWAT Deployment – S.K.I.D.D.S. / CATS

For those that have a misconception as to how beneficial K9s can be in a high-risk patrol operation or to a SWAT team this class is for you. We encourage all patrol officers, military, SWAT and supervisors to attend this class. You will learn how to utilize your dog to find the suspect quicker, yet safer, while maintaining your tactical advantage and officer safety.

We will discuss what to look for during your selection of a Tactical Patrol dog or SWAT dog as well as the handler. Learn how a properly trained patrol dog and the handler can be utilized during a in a high-risk patrol deployment or SWAT operation when it comes to tracking, barricaded suspects, approaches, entries, blind corners, room clearing, hallways, stairs, attics, crawl spaces, vehicle assaults, arrest techniques and even in a gas environment.

Instructor Brad Smith

Scent Imprinting for Dogs: The Scent Profile

Dogs are masters of discerning odors of everything we use, like distinguishing the difference between latex and plastic gloves inside a Pelican suitcase. Because dogs pick up on all these different scents, it’s important to understand the Scent Profile for a dog and what layers the dog must navigate to alert on the desired scent.

This class will cover:

  • The Imprint Scent / Base Scent
  • The Shell
  • Human Scent
  • Environment Odor
  • Why the Scent Profile is Important

Instructor Wesley Visscher

More classes are in the process of being added.
Please check back soon!

Join us in St. Louis!

3 Day Attendee Cost: $295
1 Day Attendee Cost: $150