National K-9® Learning Center

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School for Dog Trainers

The School

Master Trainer Course

275 unit hours

The Master Trainer Course includes and expands upon the material covered in the Professional/Obedience Behavior Course. This course covers a wide variety of civil-service uses for canine training including service dogs for the physically disabled, utilizing techniques for enhancing the dog’s natural instincts of protection and scent discrimination. Students learn the proper, safe and effective methods to teach dogs to control these instincts and put them to use in civil settings to assist society.

Controlled use of the protective instincts include teaching dogs to safely defend handlers, as well as Basic Police K-9 functions such as drug detection, criminal apprehension, criminal transport, building search, suspect detention, and more.

Uses of a dog’s natural scent discrimination abilities include: retrieving, steps to teaching scent detection, tracking, trailing, and search and rescue/recovery duties. Such advanced training leads into other civil service areas such as support dog work for the disabled.

While not every student may actively use these types of specialty training, the knowledge and experience has proven invaluable when the student becomes a professional trainer. These skills allow students to expand their horizons, giving them much-needed confidence and problem solving ability.

The primary objective of this course is to prepare students for a career in almost any facet of professional dog training. This instruction will qualify most graduates to begin a multi-faceted training practice or to seek employment with many different types of training centers or related occupations. The following breakdown of units represents a combination of classroom lectures on theory, practical application of instruction in supervised workshops, and independent study sessions.

Assistance Dog Training for the Disabled

Assistance Dog Training requires continual creative problem solving by trainers to match dogs to the unique abilities and needs of disabled individuals. Students are exposed to many facets of training including necessary problem-solving skills to meet the recipient’s individual needs. The classroom and workshop instruction provides a foundation for training assistance or service dogs.

This unit covers:

  • Evaluation of special training needs for the physically challenged

  • Performing all obedience commands on the right side as well as the left side

  • Basic obedience with a wheelchair-bound, walker/cane restricted handler

  • Retrieval of dropped items and counter retrieval

  • Pulling wheelchairs, activating switches, and other specialized training challenges

  • Selection of dogs for support training and proper socialization

  • Education and public relations with service dog recipients

Scent Detection and Tracking

This unit teaches students how to utilize a dog’s highly developed sense of smell. Because of their keen sense of smell, dogs are able to assist us with locating lost individuals, disaster survivors, cadaver remains, narcotics, explosives, and more. This unit will provide an overview and some hands-on experience in the basics of:

  • Evaluating and selecting dogs for scent related training

  • Puppy imprinting to increase the dog’s ability upon maturity

  • Teaching the dog soft-mouth retrieval for greater reliability of scent detection

  • Concentrated reading of canine body language

  • Scent detection of narcotics, explosives, firearms, currency, and much more

  • Methods of teaching the dog to communicate discoveries

  • Locating a buried scent

  • Tracking and trailing of lost or elusive people

  • Uses and differences of air scenting versus tracking and trailing

  • Search patterns and techniques

  • Impact of geography and the effects of weather conditions during scent work or tracking

Search and Rescue

A dog’s acute sense of smell can be valuable in assisting search teams to find lost individuals. This unit will provide an overview and some hands-on experience on the basics of Search and Rescue or Recovery:

  • Evaluating and selecting dogs for search training

  • Training dogs to locate victims and lead rescuers to them

  • Introduction to water and avalanche recovery of missing persons

  • Cadaver detection for finding persons due to disasters or homicide searches

  • Search patterns and techniques

  • Impact of geography and the effects of weather conditions during search work

Personal Protection Training

The goal of Personal Protection Training is to teach qualified dogs how to recognize a threat towards their owner/handler and refine a dog’s natural protective instincts to provide owner controlled defense. Although some dogs do not readily show aggression, they do possess the ability to protect their owners. This form of training prepares the dog to defend his/her master on command by naturally enhancing the dog’s suspicion level and building their confidence.

One of the greatest benefits in learning to train dogs in protection work is that the students thoroughly learn how to recognize the difference between real aggression and “bluff” or fear-type aggression. Students who are not certain they will train dogs for protection, find that this part of the course greatly improves their ability to read and deal with all sorts of aggression problems during customer evaluations and obedience training, regardless of the breed or size of dog.

Students will experience:

  • How to evaluate a dog to determine if she/he has the potential to become a protection dog

  • How to evaluate and access an individual customer’s need for a personal protection dog

  • How to enhance a dog’s natural defensive abilities and increase their confidence level

  • The art of criminal agitation through naturally raising the dog’s suspicion level by participating in agitation sessions in supervised workshops

  • How to read and react instantaneously to canine body language

  • Techniques for teaching dog owners of a protection-trained dog to properly use and control their dog’s protective instincts

  • How aggression behavior problems develop

Emphasis is placed on the safety of both the dog and owner. Students also are taught to evaluate the limitations of a protection trained dog. All forms of training to control aggression are accomplished and refined without physical abuse by utilizing the dog’s natural abilities while retaining his/her out-going and friendly personality.

Police K-9 Training

This unit teaches students the foundation of training dogs for Police K-9 or Patrol work. Emphasis is placed on obedience control and proper socialization to ensure safe and reliable Police K-9 functions. In this unit the basics of Police K-9 work theories are covered, building from the principles covered in the Personal Protection, Scent Detection, and Tracking units. This unit provides:

  • Methods for evaluating potential Police K-9 candidates

  • Experience as the “criminal” agitator during attack training

  • Techniques for teaching dogs the “out” command, which means to cease all aggression immediately

  • Techniques for developing a proper and safe bite attitude

  • Exposure to training methods for suspect apprehension, search and transport function

  • Exposure to training for crowd control, building search, drug and bomb detection and more

Kennel Management

Students will receive instruction in Kennel Management, including kennel design, proper ventilation, business operation, record keeping, sanitation, and more. Through lecture and a guided tour of the National K-9 kennel system, students gain the knowledge needed to design kennel facilities of any size or to purchase and renovate existing kennel set-ups in order to keep those kennels operating safely. Topics addressed include:

  • Zoning regulations as it pertains to kennels and training centers

  • Design and construction of new kennel buildings or renovation of existing facilities

  • Kennel cleaning and sanitation procedures

  • Record-keeping procedures for training and boarding dogs

  • Stress-reduction and stress management in kenneled dogs

  • Proper handling and care of boarding dogs

Small Business Operation

The Master Trainer Course is rounded out by instruction on how students can set-up their own dog training business. In-home training, studio training, and a complete boarding/training facility are discussed. Topics include:

  • Efficient bookkeeping

  • Required training equipment and supplies

  • Advertising, promotion, and public relations

  • Preparing for and benefiting from public appearances

  • Designing advertising material

  • Handling the competition

  • Customer interaction

  • Pricing services

  • Continued observation of the National K-9 staff trainers as they conduct evaluations, private lessons, and follow-up lessons

 
 
 
 
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