WE ARE LOCATED IN SOUTHERN OREGON!!!
Founded Sept 2012
I am Claudia Marbury and I was an MWD handler in the USAF while on active duty from 1978-1992, handling patrol and drug detection dogs. During an overseas assignment, I had the opportunity to work as the Kennel trainer, training patrol, drug, and explosive detection dogs.
After leaving active duty, I jumped into the SAR community. SAR is a highly satisfying, and rewarding volunteer endeavor. As for dogs and their training, there are some SAR handlers who are a bit close-minded to ‘different’ ways of training. Many tend to operate with the “we’ve always done it this way” attitude. There are, however, a small percentage of handlers who are fairly open-minded, and this trait does seem to be spreading to more handlers in SAR. But I can tell you from personal experience, that attitude of thinking, “we’ve always done it this way” will bite you in your butt one day, especially in the larger dog community.
Because of my extensive working dog experience, I did not last long in that community. I know what works with dogs, and I am quite open minded as to trying new things, which I often do. I am also pretty blunt and to the point, and this does not seem to go over well with many people. If dogs are your passion, as they are mine, you just have to develop a backbone, and let any judgments or criticisms just roll off your back. I tell people, “I’m like a dog with a bone, I don’t let go. And I am a survivor.”
Several years later I decided to get back into the military. Primarily, because I wanted that retirement, for my future, but also because I just missed the camaraderie, and the discipline and commitment that most military folks have. You just don’t find much of that in the civilian community; especially that commitment.
Upon entering the Oregon ANG, I was immediately offered a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunity; to go to Lackland AFB in San Antonio, Texas, to train dogs! I could not believe my luck! I stepped in it and came out smelling pretty doggone good. So I packed up my stuff and my three dogs, hitched up my 5th wheel RV, and headed down to South Texas.
That assignment lasted for a year, training dogs, working in the Breeding program, and assisting with shipping dogs out to their new units of assignment. Then the Haiti earthquake happened, and that put the ‘kabosh’ on my assignment. Funding dried up pretty quick, with it all going to disaster relief operations. So in June 2010, I packed up my dogs and my 5th wheel, and headed home to Southern Oregon, ready to be a “weekend warrior” once again.
September 2012, I started Phoenix Working Dogs, and decided to give the SAR community another go. This one was a bit better. There were some good people, but there were still a few of those close-minded folks. This experience was working well for a few years, until a family emergency, forced my move back to the Rogue Valley. I could have gotten back into the SAR community here, however working through my family ‘issues’ required more time and energy, and left little for any volunteer causes. So I decided just to concentrate my efforts on my own team, Phoenix Working Dogs. This decision gave me the ability to work as I was able, without feeling any guilt over not being ale to ‘respond’ to any search missions. That ‘guilt’ will get you every time!
As a dog trainer, I am known to work with a dog longer than most handlers will. If I see an inkling of drive in a dog, I will work with him to build that drive up enough, to start some good detection or tracking/trailing work. Over the years, I have seen far too many handlers who will ‘wash’ a good dog simply for not displaying that crazy over-the-top drive, that so many handles seem to crave. I look at it this way; you work with what you’ve got. And if that means putting more WORK into one dog, then you do it! That has never failed me!
I did the same thing in my early USAF career. I had a patrol dog, who just did not seem to have the ‘drive’ for bite work. But with hard work and perseverance, on my part, along with my trainer, we had this dog biting like a demon within six months. That experience gave me a tremendous amount of pride in my fledgling dog training career. All this and more, has led me to apply for my Govt vendor contract, to sell dogs to the Department of Defense.
As for our work at Phoenix Working Dogs, we provide trained and certified search dog teams to anyone with a valid need. We support law enforcement, SAR teams, as well as the general public. If you have a valid need, that has yet to be satisfactorily fulfilled, let us know the details, and we can work something out, even if it is simply referring you to another agency/team.
Our own search dog teams are trained and certified volunteers and available to anyone FREE, however, law enforcement (LE) will be contacted before we respond, to ensure that we are not working an open law enforcement case.
Another aspect of our mission is to support our LE and SAR counterparts, in any way that we are able. Profits made from our classes and merchandise support our own volunteer search dog teams, other SAR teams in the region, a few dog rescue groups, and to help support our own cause to vest and equip police working dogs in the state of Oregon.