Melanie: Trainer -Handler -Certified PSA Decoy -Basic level USCA Helper
Employed in Corrections from 1998-2012, Currently a Police Officer, I have been involved with Dog training for competition as a hobby and passion since 2002.
Trained, owned and handled 4 dogs in AKC Obedience, Schutzhund, Personal Protection, PDK-9 (training) and PSA (Protection Sports Association).
Trained and assisted with training clients (group classes and private lessons) for pet obedience, competitive obedience, competitive protection sports and Police service K9.
I began training in AKC competitive obedience with my first dog Chili, achieved several AKC titles on her as well as my next dog Andy. When I got Andy (a 5 year old retired police dog) I began training in Schutzhund. I learned from as many people as I could, always listening and absorbing everything I heard. I was praised as being a very good handler early on...before I really knew what I was doing. But it felt very natural to me, working my dog...there was no place I would rather be.
In just two years I took Andy from BH to SchH3/IPO3. While he had some previous training...this was a whole new venue with very different demands and a great deal of control expected. He was a great dog to work. At 7 years old and nearing official retirement age I decided to work him in PSA before hanging up the leash. I did not intend to be there long enough to achieve any titles in the sport. I began training with David Pappalardo (K9 Unlimited) just for fun. Andy did very well, a strong but compliant dog...he progressed very fast. Dave encouraged me to go for Andy's PSA1. So I did, after only 8 months of training with Dave we trialed for his PSA1 and was awarded 3 honors (High PSA1, High OB, High Protection). After Andy's PSA1, a couple weeks before his 8th birthday Andy officially retired.
October of that year I purchased Ema from Eurosport K9. A wonderful female, we've had a great deal of fun together so far. Almost a year after we began together I got her BH and soon after PDC and SchH1. December of 2009 she had a litter of 5 pups and she couldn't wait to get back to business. Just a couple months after returning to training she got her SchH2 (April 2010). In May 2011 Ema earned her SchH3.
In November 2011 Ema had her second and final litter. In April 2012 I Certified as PSA's first fully certified female Decoy. In May 2012 Ema earned her PSA1 (1st place, High in Trial, High owner trained, High OB and High Protection). In October 2012 I achieved the classification of Basic level Helper under the United Schutzhund Clubs of America organization.
In between all of that Ema has been through patrol dog training and Explosives detection training and certification. She loves to work and excels in civil aggression and human scent searching. Not always conducive to what we are doing and trying to accomplish in other venues, but the change of pace and broad spectrum is somtimes refreshing.
I have volunteered well over a thousand hours assisting in training, decoying and decoy training for several Police K9 units. Introduced to in-house programs alternative training methods, motivational and reward based, these methods allowed for a smoother learning process for both handler and K9.
I have attended, participated with my own dogs, and assisted with training, demonstrating, and teaching police K9 handlers at several of Robert Swann's in-service K9 trainings and seminars.
James: Trainer - Ret. Police K9 Handler
Since March of 1992, Police K9 Handler, Field Training Officer and Training Director for the City of Reading, PA Police Department K9 Unit. Retired from the RPD on August 31, 2010 after 23 years in Law Enforcement.
Trained and personally handled 2 Police Service Dogs.
Trained 8 Patrol and scent detection teams for the Department.
Directly involved with the training and field training for 16 K-9 Teams within the Department and indirectly involved with several Berks County Law Enforcement K9 teams over the years.
As the Training Director for the RPD K9 Unit, I was responsible for the training and in-service training for the K9 unit as well as being the immediate supervisor for the 6 K9 teams and all K9 related issues. My responsibilities also extended to current legal concerns, laws governing K9 usage and keeping abreast of local, state and federal case law as it pertains to K9 utilization and related issues.
I conducted approximately 800 hours of training and inservice training per year for the department. In the past several years, I have attended over 400 hours of seminars on advanced Police K9 training, tactical use and deployment, legal updates and scent detection. Over the past 18 years attended literally thousands of hours of seminars related to training concepts ranging from basic skills to advanced tactical K9 usage.
The Reading Police Departments K9 unit is an "in-house" training program which utilizes some purchased dogs from working bloodlines but primarily dogs which are donated (privately and from rescues) that meet the qualifications required to be trained as Police service dogs. Training for the Police service K9's and their handlers involves obedience, agility, article search, building search, area search, tracking (aggressive and non-aggressive), criminal apprehension, drive building, scent theory, olfactory and sense capabilities and understanding of how weather, temperature and wind play a role in area searches and tracking, etc.
The training program, consists of basic skills to meet department certification standards, field training, advanced and tactical training, scent detection and training each handler to become proficient decoys/helpers using various level bite sleeves, bitesuits, hidden sleeves (including wraps) and muzzles as well as teaching the basic concepts of recognizing and building drives and the skills needed as a decoy for drive building.
Also over the past 5 years, I have attended hundreds of hours of training sessions and trials with Melanie in Schutzhund and PSA.
Designated video taper for Ema, active martial artist since 1979 and still working part-time in law enforcement.