Looking for something FUN to do with your dog.

Check out our new post on the Training Events page. This will be a Dog Group where we will work on detection training and trailing work. And don’t worry, we will teach you if you’d like to learn.

All you need is a dog, commitment, a drive to succeed, and of course, TEAMWORK.

Service dogs and feelings of ‘entitlement’

I came across this video on social media back on December 20, 2018. This is a great example of people’s feelings of ‘entitlement’ these days.

Regardless of whether the dog is a service dog or just someone’s pet, you absolutely DO NOT have the right to pet the dog. If you ask, and the person says NO, accept it for what it is, and press on. They do not owe you any explanation. By continually questioning, simply because you do not accept the answer, as the woman in this video is doing, is interfering in the dog’s training. When did we as a society become so rude and condescending, expecting that we are able to do whatever pleases us? Another thing that gets a ‘burr under my saddle’ is this feeling of violating one’s privacy by demanding that other’s not video you. You are in a pubic place, and as such, you have no expectation to privacy. Anyone has the right to video record you or anyone else, provided you and them are in PUBLIC.

As for the rules governing service dogs, you must check with your particular state and local codes, to know exactly what is the law. But the basic law, comes from Federal legislation, under Ada.Gov.

And with that, I want to also state, that police dogs and Search & Rescue dogs are NOT Service dogs. There are numerous handlers that I have encountered, that believe they fall under this same law. Certain businesses or agencies may very well allow these other highly trained dogs access, but that is a PRIVILEGE and not a right under the law. A privilege can be withdrawn at any time, without any notice or explanation. But the law is the law, as long as the handler’s dog is a legitimate Service Dog.

Under the ADA legislation, only dogs and miniature horses are recognized as service animals. Additionally, the dog MUST be trained to perform a task or tasks, that assist the owner with a documented disability. But an owner is NOT required to provide any documentation on either their disability or the dog’s training, and the service dog is NOT required to have any sort of certification. Emotional Support Animals or Therapy animals are NOT service animals, as they are not required to have any training. As such, these animals do NOT have any PUBLIC access rights afforded to them.

A service animal, when out in public, will pay strict attention to his handler. He will not be sniffing products, jumping on counters, or pulling his owner around the store/area. If the animal does this, then he is not a legitimate service dog. Additionally, the handler must have control over the dog at all times, and the dog must be on leash.

Trainers of service dogs will often take dogs out into public areas, for the exposure that is necessary in the dog’s training. The same rules and courtesies apply to SDITs, but businesses are not legally required to allow dogs in training that public access. The ADA law only applies to “certified” (see above, re: certs), service dogs that are already trained and in place working for their handlers.

Service animals are WORKING animals, not pets, and as such, the public must refrain from attempting to pet, talk, distract, or otherwise interfere in any way, with the dog’s work or training. To do so, could very well have drastic implications for the disabled handler. And in many jurisdictions, this may also carry a fine or a misdemeanor charge for the offender.

For more information on service dogs, please visit ada.gov at https://www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.htm


Choosing your style of tracking

Here’s a great article by Jeff Schettler.  He talks about choosing a style for tracking (trailing) based on what you do.        http://online.fliphtml5.com/mpvs/iaoy/


Yes, there are several “styles” of tracking, and the one you choose to work with, is based on YOUR uses, YOUR dog, and YOUR beliefs. Whatever ‘style’ you choose, just remember that each has their own merits, and none are really any better or worse than the others.
I continue to get people who want to ‘criticize’ my tracking style, only because they have learned a different ‘style,’ and they are not yet able to see the different styles for what they truly are. I actually train and work with different aspects of about three different tracking styles.
So let’s just stop all the judgmental criticism and train the way that works best for each of us.





Seminars being organized

SAR handlers, if you would like to see a seminar with a nationally recognized trainer, in Human Remains detection, please contact us.  We are trying to gauge interest and organize a Humans Remains detection seminar with Paul Martin, as well as a Trailing seminar, with Jeff Schettler.  The Schettler seminar will most likely be a combination of LE and SAR.  We will most likely be looking at dates in the latter half of 2019, or possibly 2020, at this point.

Email your interest to claudia@phoenixworkingdogs.com

Certifications and Training

“What organization should I get my certification through?”  I see handlers ask this question often on social media, and inevitably, they will get a variety of responses, and often biased as to each handler’s opinions.   But a choice of certification, should always be the handler’s own choice as to who they get their certification through.

First, I would recommend checking different organizations standards for certification, while you are training your dog.  Find the one that will suit your needs the best.  Now this does not mean, to find the one with the easiest standards.  It means to find the standards that are more likely to replicate the actual conditions that you and your dog, are likely to encounter in your area, where you will be working.

The same holds true for the location of your certification.  For example, it makes no sense to be living and training in Montana and travelling to Florida or South Texas, for a certification.  Terrain and weather will make a big difference as to how you and dog will work.  For example, Florida and South Texas have very high humidity levels.  If you are not used to working in high humidity, then you should probably not attempt to certify in that condition either.  The same holds true as to when you travel; you and your dog, may need some time to rest up from the travel, before jumping right into work.

Another thing to take into consideration, is how likely the local law enforcement agencies (deploying authority) will readily accept your choice of certification.  It could be a waste of your time, effort, and money, (for a SAR handler) to take a certification, for example, from NASAR, when the local agencies are only willing to accept those that have a law enforcement connection or affiliation, or vice versa.  Whatever agency that will deploy you, it is their decision as to what certifications will be accepted.  NOTE:  By no means, am I trying to belittle or demean any organization that I have noted.  I only use these AS AN EXAMPLE ONLY!

Basically, you absolutely need to research the different organizations offering certifications in your specific discipline, before you are ready to apply for that certification.  It can save you training time and objectives that you will train on.  To save yourself from misinformation, do this research for yourself.  Do not rely on others to give you the correct information!  Some handlers may qualify, or even prefer, one specific organization’s certification, while you may not.  DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH!  This will allow you to train better, ensuring that you are hitting all the different components that your certification standards will be asking for.  For example, in trailing work, most basic certifications call for the dog team, to trail the subject, and then give a reliable TFR upon locating the correct subject.  Then there are some certifications, that will use articles dropped along the trail, requiring that the dog give a reliable indication on them.  If you will not be expected to locate articles on a trail, then do not choose this certification.  You can always choose this after you and your dog have achieved your basic certification.

Choose a good, realistic certification, that will be evaluated in your area, and uses standards that will best replicate the conditions of how you will search.  Once you achieve that basic certification, you should always keep training to keep that level proficient, plus train to meet higher objectives, such as locating articles along the trail, or multiple subjects, etc.  Don’t try to do too much in your dog’s initial training and certification.

Now, this last point, there will be folks who will disagree with me.  An initial certification can absolutely be achieved within twelve months of training.  That is NOT to say twelve months of age, of the dog, and it certainly is not saying that the dog is “mission ready.”  A basic certification, in any discipline, is well within reach of any dog/handler team, with twelve months of training.  It simply means that the team has accomplished the first objective that is to be reached.  Having specific objectives for the team to train for, about every 6-12 months, with good constructive feedback, makes for a more motivated handler.  Training in SAR can take years, so by breaking the training down in this way, will allow the handlers to stay motivated, rather than simply giving up after MONTHS of working, with nothing to show for their efforts.  My team works our training like this, where the handlers are recognized for reaching each objective, and in doing so, they remain motivated, to continue with the training.

Fall is upon us

Good afternoon Everyone!  And what do all you dog people have planned for today?

I woke today to an absolutely beautiful Fall morning.  And Zephyr told me, actually demanded, that we train, as it is the perfect day for some trailing.

So we are off to trail, and locate our missing person, who went out early this morning, and has yet to return.  See ya’ on the other side!



Bite work, anyone?

For the well being of your dog, make sure your “decoy” knows what they are doing. I have seen many well meaning handlers, whom just have no clue, and are doing more harm than good to the dogs, than they are helping, or “training” as they like to call it. Just because someone has a bite suit, does not mean that they know what they are doing!  I have seen several “handlers” that are doing very dangerous things, when “working” dogs on a bite.

If you are going to be doing any protection type sports or home protection work with your dog, then please READ THIS and pay attention. Your dog’s life could very well be at stake.


Detection training classes



PWDs will begin putting together some detection training classes for the future. With all of our heat and poor air quality from the wildfires here in Southern Oregon, these will not be scheduled anytime soon. We strive to have optimal conditions when starting dogs off in detection training. You can always add distractors, both environmental or human caused later on in the training, as the dogs become thoroughly imprinted on their target odors.

If you are interested in detection training, or know someone who is, please email us with your preferred days/times for training.   We will try to accommodate everyone with our schedule of classes.  This is simply for scheduling purposes only.  There will be no commitment on your part, just for giving your class meeting time preferences.

Search and Rescue training


I do not know why or what possessed this man to begin offering search and rescue dog training to pet dog owners, but he is in no way qualified to do this, anymore than he is qualified to train dogs in obedience or to correct behaviors.

But the average pet owner just does not understand these things.  They only want a quick fix to their dog’s problems.  And because this man is a television personality, rather than a legitimate dog trainer, who employs science based training, people tend to believe in what he says.

I will not go into saying anything further, but I will say, if you care about your dog, please research a problem, and then get qualified help, by asking for referrals from other pet owners, shelters, and veterinarians.  Most professionals in the dog industry today, have entirely turned their backs on this man, as he uses and condones using harsh, outdated, and aversive training techniques.  His methods will one day get a dog handler seriously hurt, but he will be covered as he loves to use those “disclaimers.”

Basically, what I am saying is, BUYER BEWARE!!!