The Mark Redwine case. More scientific research needed to evolve case law to include human remains detection dogs.

This case is a very good example of why we need more scientific research into the use human remains detection dogs. With more good, valid scientific research, our case law can then evolve to make it fit the use of these newer invaluable resources.

These detection dogs, are trained differently than most other detection dogs, drug and bomb dogs immediately come to mind. Most detection dog handlers will go to great lengths to ensure that their dogs do not react nor alert to residual odors. But in the case of human remains detection dogs, that is exactly what they are working; residual odor. A dead body can be in place for weeks, or months, even having the remains scattered by scavengers in the wild, as well as decomposing, among things, such as time, animal feces, extreme temperatures and weather, etc. Given these circumstances, the dogs are not working “fresh” odors.

Detection dogs are not alerting to the physical presence of a specific drug explosive, or in this case, a dead body. What dogs are, in fact, alerting to, is the presence of a trained target ODOR. When a detection dog works, he is locating an odor, working it, and following it to the place where the odor concentration is the strongest, and then he gives his trained final response, TFR. No handler should ever say, that there is a physical presence of a drug, explosive, or dead body here. The dog’s actions are not telling you this. The dog’s actions are telling you, that he has located an ODOR of one of his trained target odors. It is very important for handlers to learn HOW to word their reports to authorities, when their dog alerts. Your wording can greatly impact whether LE receives a search authorization.

So now, our case law and the ways in which these handlers train and work, must evolve to working under some good, valid scientific research, that can be incorporated into new case law. Until that happens, I’m afraid we will continue to see smart defense attornies try to discredit these dogs and handlers in the ways in which they work and train.



I sincerely apologize to all, but due to potential liability concerns, Phoenix Working Dogs will no longer offer training of any kind to the public.

We will, of course, continue to refer you to other trainers that may be able to help you with your specific needs.

Run Your Dog for the Real Victims, Not for the Certification Standards!

If you work a search dog, you must ensure that you are training effectively. Stop training for those certification standards, and start training for the realistic search.

This means that you must train on double blind problems, if you want to be an effective and reliable search team. In double blind problems, you know nothing about the training search, and neither does your flanker, or anyone that will accompany you on your search. Double blinds also mean that you train in unknown locations and use unknown subjects, to you and your dog. Hmm, that’s a lot like a real life search, isn’t it? So why don’t more teams train this way? IMO, it is just not realizing what they are doing. They are either not comfortable with their training or they just do not trust their dog enough.

If you don’t do these things, then by always using known factors, your dog is simply running on “auto pilot” to complete the search. I have watched dogs do this. You bring them to the start of the problem, and they look around, sniffing the air, to see who is there, as well as who is missing. They learn, by your previous scent problems, to search for that missing team member’s scent. So when it comes to an actual search, that dog is looking around for who is not there, and then begins to search based on those missing known scents, rather than working the target scent from your scent article, in the case of scent specific dogs. Non scent specific dogs, commonly known as the air scent dogs will do the same, by looking for those ‘missing’ known scents first. To preclude your dog from wasting precious time on a search by searching for those missing known scents, before he reverts to searching for any human scent, you must train using those unknown subjects, or better yet, train that air scent dog to be scent specific. I have watched air scent dogs run right by me, within 5 minutes of the start, when I was the “subject,” never alerting to the handler. The dogs continued on to search for 20 minutes, finally coming back to me, and then alerting their handlers. This was all due to those particular handlers never training using unknown subjects. You can easily combat this, by changing up your trainings, using those unknown factors in your trainings on a regular, at least monthly basis.

Another way, to combat this issue, in addition to using ‘unknowns’ in your training is to train your dog for scent specific work, regardless of his discipline. I approached this subject for ALL live find dogs, and I was summarily dismissed, rather rudely. But now, there are more teams that are training their air scent dogs to be scent specific. And here’s the good part, training for scent specific, takes no more time to train, then it does for non scent specific.

I am not suggesting to start new dogs and young puppies out on the unknown problems immediately. You must imprint them first on what you want them to do, but then you must graduate them to the next level. The key is to not let them stagnate, by keeping them at the same level of training, whether for the handler’s ego, for ease of training, or to always want to mark “satisfactory” in the dog’s records. A failure in training is not a bad thing. Rather it is a great learning experience. It is a benchmark, telling you, the handler, just what you need to work on. I have personally witnessed several teams that train like this, using only known subjects and known training locations. By doing so, you are only hurting yourselves, and your future real life subjects, by failing to train realistically.

Vote for the Horse with the Most Heart on Google Docs

This may be about a working horse, and not a dog, but this story is remarkable, as to what a good animal can do for their handler.
Please vote for Roxy, aka “Make Me Cash Bad Chex” if you can find it in you.

The story from Roxy’s rider.

I like spreading awareness & hope through our story. Almost all insurance companies value Roxy at $0 with her history but to me she is priceless. Thank you for considering her for your voting. #VoteRoxy #HorseWithTheMostHeartJust Breathe and Run1 hr ·

💜 Make some Cash Bad Chex 💜
🌹 Roxy🌹

“I am thankful that this race, Just Breathe And Run, has given me the opportunity to nominate my horse Roxy for “Horse With The Most Heart”. From the very first moment I met Roxy I knew that she was special. She always tries so hard for me no matter what we are doing. Prior to the year 2015, Roxy and I ran mostly in the 3D with an occasional 2D spot. At that time in our career we had been a team for a few years and had only won one buckle and a bracelet—but I knew there was more in her.

May 30, 2015, everything happened so quickly. The next thing we knew; we were on a 2 ½ hour drive to Bend Equine Medical Center where we were told by staff Roxy needed exploratory surgery immediately or she was going to die. The price was an unknown and we had no medical insurance on Roxy. We had to make a big financial decision on doing the surgery which wasn’t a guarantee to save her life. The other option was euthanasia and put her out of her suffering. We chose to move forward with the exploratory surgery. The operation proved she had a twisted small intestine. The surgeon had to cut the dead bowel out and resect it. Small intestine surgery has the most complications post operatively compared to large intestine surgery. The recovery was long and required lots of post operative care. The incision site was so large that months later after her staples were removed from her belly I was still finding random staples in her stomach that I would pull out. Her medical bill was the most expensive bill we owned other than our house.

Roxy is more than a great recovery story after small intestine resection surgery. Once back to full health, she started clocking times we had never experienced before. One of our first runs back was on a full standard pattern and she hit a 17.5. Prior runs, our best was a 18.3. We hit more races and she was winning. We started going to bigger races because we were somehow doing the best we had ever done. In a little over a year Roxy won back every dime of the cost of her surgery.

These past four years have been amazing to say the least. Roxy and I went from a 3D winning team, to a mostly 1D winning team. We have won several 1D saddles, 10+ 1D buckles. We have ran at several races with American qualifier races and our times ran in those races would have qualified us for the American had that been my goals. I have been told multiple times that she is one of those one in a million horses and I will probably never own another one like her in my lifetime. I do believe this to be true. Roxy loves to run barrels. She runs the same pattern every time. She hates it when I ride other horses or pull out of the driveway with the trailer without her. One thing is for sure, there is no medical explanations why she has transformed into a winning 1D barrel horse. I feel blessed to be her jockey and ride this ride for as long as she so desires.

I have shared Roxy’s story on a Facebook page named “Roxy-life after colic surgery”. Her story has helped a few people make the hard decision of paying for the colic surgery rather than putting the horse down. One individual said that the only hope she had for her devistating situation is Roxy’s success story.

I have shared Roxy’s story on a Facebook page named “Roxy-life after colic surgery”. Her story has helped a few people make the hard decision of paying for the colic surgery rather than putting the horse down. One individual said that the only hope she had for her devistating situation is Roxy’s success story.

I am nominating Roxy for the horse with the most heart because she overcame the odds. Something in Roxy shifted and she became better after surgery with no medical explanations on how that could happen. She went on to win the cost of her surgery, plus much more. Her success story has helped other horse owners to persue surgery rather than euthanasia. She is also a very rare colic surgery success beings it was her small intestine that was resected. Her heart is so big, at 17 years young she is running that same flawless barrel run with my 10 year old daughter for her dream to qualify at the Jr World Championship in Las Vegas.

Her story is not over because in some ways it’s just beginning. When you meet Roxy, you learn through her life experiences to never give up because even the impossible seems possible.”

You can vote for Roxy to be the 2019 Just Breathe and Run Horse With The Most Heart on the link below!…/1FAIpQLScTQZQUtAe0p6hbPX…/viewform


Vote for K-9 Koop ‘R

Koop’R — Search and Rescue

Location: Laurel, Maryland

Abandoned in the summer of 2013, Koop’R was a scrawny little thing when he was rescued and began training in wilderness search & rescue. He quickly picked up his new job, earning his first national certification in 2015. While he continued training with the KlaasKids Search Center, he also furthered his service to the community by being not only an ambassador for his breed but also worked to further autism awareness. He always spent a little bit more time with his special fans and became the unofficial “spokedog” for Steps for Autism, a grassroots autism awareness event in Pensacola, FL. Almost exactly four years after he was adopted, Koop’R went from being the rescued to the rescuer; he was a part of the team that found an 84-year-old woman with dementia who had walked away from her home in Daphne, AL. Although she had a sprained ankle and was dehydrated, she was otherwise in good condition. In 2018 Koop’R faced a huge change as his family moved to Maryland on military orders. It was difficult at first to find a new team as a few teams had breed restrictions and others were just not a good fit, but eventually Koop’R found a new home with Calvert K9 Search Team. In February 2019, on his first mission in Maryland, Koop’R found an elderly woman who suffered from dementia and had wandered away from her home in Bowie, MD. The search had been going for almost six hours when Koop’R made the find. He might have started life as a rescue, but now Koop’R the one who does the rescuing!

Vote for this dog

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 at


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.