Help keep K9 Vader safe

I have started a GoFundMe campaign to help vest a super K9 drug detection team, Team Vader. K9 Vader is a 2 1/2 year Dutch Shepherd, and handler Julia Storey is a self trained handler. They are based in Rattan, OK.

Julia has worked extremely hard in her lifelong endeavor of being a professional K9 handler. She and Vader are certified through the state of Oklahoma as a drug detection team.

Julia has also rescued and rehabbed countless dogs, several of which have gone on to become police dogs.

All donations raised through this campaign will be turned over to Spike’s K9 fund, who will be providing the vest for K9 Vader.

We are losing far too many police K9s these days, all because they were not outfitted with a protective vest. Please consider donating to this cause.

Thank You!!!

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.


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

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!!!

Science based training vs the Bottom Line.”

Interesting article.  Be sure to read the comments at the end.

This just goes to show, that the majority of corporations just want your hard earned money, and they will do just about anything to get it, even if that means teaming up with a television personality, rather than a good dog trainer, who trains using science based training.

This man is dangerous and he needs to be banned from having anything to do with dogs…ever!  I will also NEVER recommend Pet Cube to anyone, as long as they are partners with this dangerous individual.

A Word is Just A Word.

Just a little rant this fine morning.  I really get tired of hearing handlers in one part of this Country, or World, judge and trash talk a handler in another part of the Country, or World, simply for choosing to use different terminology.

When talking dogs, training, and working them, do not get so tied up in the different terminology that a handler or trainer chooses to use.  Many of us use terminology that may be different from what you use.  That does not make it wrong, it simply makes it different.  If you are confused by their choice of words, maybe it’s better to ASK for clarification, nicely, rather than attempting to judge and condemn them, simply for using different terminology.

A great example of this are the words “tracking” and “trailing.”  All of us experienced handlers and trainers, we do know there is a difference.  We simply use the term “tracking” as a commonly known word to get our point across to those non-dog people who are not quite as knowledgeable as we are.

Tracking is the art of a dog following the actual footsteps of a subject.  The dog’s nose will not deviate from those footprints, or very little at all.  The dog is smelling the subject’s odor, in combination with the odor of crushed ground vegetation.

Trailing on the other hand, is the art of the dog following the human subject’s odor.  The dog will follow the path that the subject has walked, though he may deviate off the actual footsteps, by as much as 20-30 feet in either direction.  When he does that, he is following the blown odor, where the wind, time, temperature, and even the terrain, have moved that odor.  We humans cannot see odor.  But the dog sees it with his nose.  So it’s absolutely crucial, that we as handlers learn to read our dog, and just let him work.

Another example of terminology differences are the terms cadaver dog and human remains (HR) detection dog.  The two are the same.  Most SAR dog teams who train in this discipline train the majority of their time on remains, or parts.  Most rarely have the opportunity to train or work with a whole cadaver.  So one may ask, are they different? The answer is No, they are not different.  The dogs and handlers do the same thing.  The difference is the amount of source material that they are able to acquire for training purposes; more source material, a higher concentration of odor.

To help combat these terminology differences, is through the use of classroom time, in any training or seminars that you may attend. Pay attention to when the instructors explain the use of terminology, and ASK questions if you find yourself confused. That classroom time is important when learning how dog’s work and how we need to learn to work them. Fieldwork is to apply that classroom knowledge, so that we are able to see it in action.

Terminology can also impact your work if ever a case has legal implications that will find YOU testifying in court. If you learn to use terminology in the proper context, you will not go wrong!

So in conclusion, when we get tied up in terminology, we lose sight of what we are really doing.  I know my dog is a trailing dog, but I use the term tracking synonymously.  That does not mean that I am wrong, it simply means I am trying to explain something quickly, without getting tied up in semantics.  Different areas of our Country, and the World, may use different terminology.  It’s not wrong, it’s just different!