Serious Classes for Serious K-9 Handlers


HITS continues to lead the way in K-9 handler training with Instructors from the Netherlands, Great Britain and all parts of the United States. The classes will cover every aspect of k-9 handling. Handlers in all stages of their careers will benefit from the knowledge and experience shared in these classes.

From Puppy to Patrol Dog

Patrol Dog training the Dutch way, from puppy until certified Patrol Dog, Dutch Police/KNPV. Patrol dog class will present the process of selecting and raising a puppy for the KNPV. After certification in the KNPV the testing by the Dutch Police for the use as future patrol police dogs.

Instructors: Hennie Bolster & Ruud Leus

From Puppy till Searching/Narcotic/Explosive Dog

Searching/Detection Dog training the Dutch way, from puppy until certified Searching (tracking)/narcotic/explosive) Dog. Searching/Detection class will present the process of selecting and raising a puppy for narcotics, explosives, or tracking. Class will cover training of puppies through fully-certified K9’s.

Instructor: Hennie Bolster & Ruud Leus

How to Keep the Warrior Mindset

Listen as Marty Dulworth gives you his firsthand account of surviving an active shooter incident that cost him the life of his K-9 and left him an amputee. In an emotional and intense debrief, Marty takes you through the moments where life and death hung in the balance and in an instant life as he knew it, changed forever. Listen as Marty discusses what it’s like to mentally win against the challenges of such a horrific gunfight and beyond. From the physical will to live to the mental train wreck that must be put back on track, Marty helps explain what it takes to be a true warrior in both body and spirit.

Instructor Meet Marty Dulworth

Selecting and Training the Young Police Dog

Acquiring a mature dog whether fully trained, partly trained or green is becoming more and more difficult because demand for this type of dog is World Wide & high which has an impact on rising costs.  For those of us that are limited in our budget we need to look at what other options are available to us to provide quality dogs to meet our needs. In short this means looking at those animals that are currently available for a lower price tag and are less commercially valuable.

This means choosing between 2 categories

a) Mature dogs of lower quality or ability

b) Younger dogs that have not been developed

As purchasing a dog of low quality (either health or ability) is not a viable option this really only leaves us with one choice. Finding, selecting & training the younger dog.

This class explores the option of starting with the younger dog including how to identify the right dog via a tried and tested selection process used by UK and other European police & Border Control units, how to develop the young dog to cope with environmental and socially challenging situations based on an understanding of the dogs mental & physical development and how to develop skills that lead on to the basis for advanced training.

Instructor: Steve Dean

Patrol Liability, “The Reasons we get in Trouble”

Sergeant Bill Lewis II (retired) comes to HITS 2017 as a critical thinker whose forthright and sobering look at some of our most common and reoccurring issues should make us all reevaluate how we operate daily. From the perspective of hindsight, we can clearly see the roadmap to a better, safer and profoundly more effective K-9 industry. By using real world experience and by examining many of the cases that have affected us all, Bill Lewis is able to pattern a better solution to avoid the trouble that faces us daily in the law enforcement K9 realm.

Instructor: Bill Lewis II

Leadership Challenges in the K9 Unit

“Do you think ‘it’s my way or the highway’ is a good way to lead a K9 program? Can everyone be a leader? To be a successful K9 program, leadership isn’t merely restricted to the supervisors and command-level personnel. This presentation will explore a few challenges and leadership opportunities that can be shared within a K9 unit by all its participants – handlers, supervisors and commanders. As a former handler and K9 supervisor, Bill Lewis II will share some of his opinions and recommendations for developing or sustaining a positive program through active leadership development – and he will also solicit attendee input to assist that development to potentially guide willing participants.”

Instructor: Bill Lewis II


K9’s in the Courtroom

Stock your arsenal with the latest weapons of defense. Defense attorney tactics, that is. Learn what it takes to build a “bullet proof” drug dog case. Andy Weiman is an expert witness and K-9 trainer that will lay out everything you need to know to protect your drug dog cases from attack by defense attorneys. K-9 recordkeeping and courtroom testimony are the foundational building blocks. Learn how to effectively maintain and utilize these tools in a courtroom setting. K-9 reliability is multifaceted. Learn how to prove your K-9’s reliability in the courtroom. Knowledge is power, take control by learning how to “bullet proof” your drug dog cases with Andy Weiman.

Instructor: Andy Weiman

2017 Drug Canine Legal Updates

ONLY AT HITS – U.S. Supreme Court Case Rodriguez V. United States heard by the U.S. Supreme Court on January 22, 2015.

Nationally recognized for prosecuting drug trafficking cases, Ted Daus tells it like it is. What a perfect opportunity for K-9 handlers to learn straight from the prosecutor what he needs to hear from you on the stand when presenting your drug cases to the jury. Ted navigates his way through the latest courtroom decision about police detection dogs and takes us along for the wild and sometimes crazy ride. Ted’s abilities as a communicator will keep you on the edge of your seat as he opens everyone’s eyes to what’s been happening in the courtroom and what the future looks like for drug detection K-9 teams across America.

Instructor: Arthur “Ted” Daus

Tactical Area Search

The complexities of any urban setting seldom provides K-9 Handlers with an advantage when searching for suspects on the run. Even the keen nose and solid discipline of a well-trained patrol dog requires the tactical initiatives of the handler and the cover officers to make each mission a success. Jeff Meyer defines the fundamentals of sound tactics for area searches which produce positive results for apprehensions while minimizing the risks that officers must face with each deployment.

Instructor: Jeff Meyer

Dog on Dog Aggression

Every neighborhood has them. Some that run the fence in the back yard and others which roam as strays through the alleys and streets. They are a part of the environment in which we must routinely deploy. In addition to the pets in our community, we oftentimes find ourselves needing or wanting to work K9 search teams in close proximity or in tandem to accomplish our mission. Learn the techniques that clarify the mission for the dog and redirects his misguided intent toward a successful deployment.

Instructor: Jeff Meyer

Tactical Tracking & Woodland Ops/Critical Incident Debrief

With 25 years of police K-9 experience, Jeff has tracked down every type of violent fugitive imaginable. By far the most dangerous conditions we’re faced with today is deploying a police dog to track in a rural/woodland environment. This class examines the murders of Deputy Sheriff Matt Williams and K-9 DiOGi in intricate detail and how their deaths have initiated a national movement toward advanced tactical training for K-9 tracking and woodland operations. Jeff has delivered this training to well over two thousand police officers and counting. We cannot afford to sacrifice our tactical edge when the stakes are this high! These practical training drills and training scenarios are applicable to every member of your agency. The training you provide others about being your cover officer during a tracking deployment may very well be the training that saves your life or makes a positive difference in securing a safe outcome.

Instructor: Jeff Barrett

Selection Testing of Single and Dual Purpose Canines

In this course Bill will review multiple steps that need to be taken in successfully selecting single and dual purpose canines. Bill Heiser has been hand selecting his dogs from Europe and testing dogs for over 25 years. Southern Coast K9 is known in the industry to offer some of the best dogs available. He will share with you the process of selection testing by reviewing the following:

• The drives in the dog; prey, hunt, play, fight, retrieve, rank and survival.
• First Impression of the dog: Appearance, condition, teeth , ears, coat, feet, genitals and over confidence
• Environmental Soundness: Flooring, stairs, darkness, confined area or space, obstacles, noises, vehicles, desks and tables will the dog jump up
• Testing of Ball or Toy drive

Additional testing for dual purpose would include:

• First check civil drive no equipment
• Equipment Fixated
• Bite on sleeve or suit and is it a full mouth bite
• With Suit will he bite legs or arms
• Power Bite? Is Dog committed?
• Bite under stress with whip and yelling
• Multiple Distraction Scenarios & Obstacles
• Dogs focus on bite
• Gunfire reaction
• What type of force and approach does he have.

Instructor: Bill Heiser


In today’s day and age all bomb dog teams need to be one step ahead of the game. We all must think outside the box and train for today’s threat. Today’s bomb dog is not only needed before special events but also during these events. Ask yourself this…can your dog work during a 4th of July Parade. Consider all the distractions that occur during such an event. In Chris Jakubin’s (AMK9) class you will learn how and where to prepare your dog teams. You will learn training techniques to get your dog to hunt and what to hunt without any stimulus. These techniques are solidified in how we practice…how are you practicing?

Instructor: Chris Jakubin

Detection Canine Problem Solving

Problem solving methods for detector teams is this year’s topic for Ken’s lecture. At some point in our career, all detection dog handlers are going to run into a problem we might feel is unique to our dog. Ken Licklider has the solutions, and hearing his methods and techniques for problem solving will put you back on the road to success. Even before a problem develops, the information provided in this lecture by one of the most knowledgeable drug dog trainers in the world can save you countless hours and dollars in the future by giving you the skills to stay effective as a K-9 Handler or Trainer. Let the years of knowledge and experience of Ken Licklider take the guess work out of problem solving for detection dogs.

Instructor: Ken Licklider

K9 Public Relations & Establishing a 501 (C) 3

Course covers best practices on format and content for presentations that provide maximum
exposure for your audience and minimum liability for the agency. It discusses the bridge
established by an agency and the community as a result of these events. It provides options for
off-setting costs to an agency through various means, including partnerships with not for profit
organizations that support the dogs and handlers, specialized fundraising events and/or forming
an agency’s own not for profit organization. It discusses how to create rapport with the public,
local businesses and vendors, and the roles they can play in your fundraising efforts. It provides
various types of fundraising ideas as examples to assist departments in the planning process. It
discusses the pros and cons of starting their own not for profit; this includes how to go about establishing 501(c)3, and how to best work with an established not for profit should they choose not to.
Instructor: Shawn Rosner

Training for the 21st Century

This class covers how animals learn and how we apply that to K9 training. We will also discuss
the fundamentals of K9 training, to include, your monthly in-service training. This class will also
take a look at what law enforcement is facing both around the world and domestically, to see if
we are training for “What has happened” or are we analyzing and adapting to meet the threat
of the ever-changing world we live in.

Instructor: Jerry McClellan

“Normalization of Risk”, In Explosive Detection Dog Handling

“Normalization of risk”, a common human tendency, which is to become desensitized to the risk around us and subconsciously accept high levels of risk as being normal after continuously repeating the behavior without negative consequences. This class will help those handlers who are currently working or considering working an Explosive Detection Dog better understand the specific trainings, practices and utilization that can mean the difference between success and failure in the real world of Explosive Detection and to carefully reevaluate the risks we accept as normal or mundane and build on them.

Instructor: Dave Dorn

This class will provide the necessary information about HME labs in an effort to keep K-9 handlers safe when investigating a clandestine lab. The presentation will include current and emerging HME threats and go beyond the traditional discussions of peroxide-based explosives. We will cover:

• Explosive fundamentals

• HME precursors

• Safe handling

• HME detection

• Distinguishing between HME production and narcotics processes


Instructors: Claire Rayburn & Elie Zussman

Since inception within the law enforcement community, the deployment of detection canines has been proven as the most reliable system to detect contraband. With 19 Billion dollars invested by the Pentagon into research to find stronger alternatives it was nonetheless determined that dogs are the best tool for locating explosives. Even so, detection dog teams often experience deficiencies or breakdowns during training and in the field. These failures can be attributed to several areas in relation to methodologies used to train and handle detection dogs. This class will explore ways in which we will improve in both our handling and training of detection dogs.

Instructor: Jason Purgason

A study of scientific discoveries in tracking and the science of scent and its components. As some feats in tracking seem virtually inconceivable to humans, it is important to understand the science that explains how some of these feats are possible for the canine olfactory system. Believing in what is possible is a big part of successful training and development of a strong street tracker on all surfaces. 

A practical training methodology that allows dogs to learn and attach value to components of a human track that make up the entire scent complex of the tracks dogs are able to identify, decipher and follow. Success in tracking lies in the details, the ability to teach these details to the dog is the great puzzle. I try to give a better understanding of this puzzle to aid successful training of tracking dogs.

Fundamentals of Aggression Control

An examination of the underlying causes and obstacles of effective and reliable aggression control leading into a detailed plan of how to train this complex skill.

A clear step by step outline how to teach and train effective and reliable real world aggression control which is essential for any K9.

The skills taught here make K9s more functional in all deployment situations and allow for usage of dogs in even the most complex tactical situations.

Behavioral Science Applied in K9 Training

This lecture bridges the gap between Behavioral Science and practical dog training.  The scientific terminology has found its way into modern dog training, however, all too often the science ends at the terminology. 

As most scientists, didn’t do practical dog training and most practical trainers have never studied the dry texts of science, the results have been mixed. 

The goal of this lecture is to explain the laboratory science and illustrate where and how and IF it fits into K9 training and to what extent. It gives trainers a key to more effective use of techniques and tools already in use and can aid greatly in streamlining training time.


Instructor: Armin Winkler

The use of Body Worn Cameras (BWC) is possibly the most revolutionary change to policing since the portable radio. Departments across the country are requiring their use by uniformed officers and specialized units, including Canine Teams. As with any new piece of equipment, it is imperative that officers learn to use this new tool properly and that policies are developed considering the rights of the officer, the integrity of the investigative process and the public demand for transparency. These policies must be developed with input from department managers, labor organizations and prosecuting agencies. Television and movies have given the public – our potential jurors – a flawed view of what police use of force looks like. It is our responsibility to educate them as best we can and provide proper context for the sometimes-violent nature of police work that they will now see though our BWC video. Learn from the mistakes and successes of other agencies to ensure that your agency has the advantage in criminal and civil court, as well as the court of public opinion.

Instructor: Michael Pidgeon

Hip Lead course of instruction focuses on the handler operating as an officer first with their canine close at hand. A custom fit hip lead allows handler to have both hands on their weapon. Doing so allows handler to be part of the train instead of trailing behind in SWAT application. A custom fit hip lead keeps the canine in a specific position beside the handler securing the canine from moving away or ahead of the handler, which can be dangerous. With the rise in canine fatalities and serious injuries in the field it is important handlers maintain their focus. Utilizing a hip lead provides the handler the opportunity to have both hands free, their canine close at hand and in the right position at all times for quick deployment in key areas.

Instructor: Joshua Morton

We will start from the beginning phase of training each method to give the student an in-depth understanding why we feel standstill is a safer technique for the officer and has a psychological advantage for the dog as well.

Out heel is the original way of performing the out in police service dogs.  Over the years, we invented standstill for numerous reasons.  This class will discuss how the dog views each method, along with the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Instructor: Rickey Farley

1) Common Injuries of Police Canines Treated with Rehabilitation
This lecture will focus on injuries that police canines encounter during training and field work. Explanation of how the injuries occur and what the consequences of these injuries will be discussed. Treatment of these injuries with rehabilitation therapy will be explained with case examples. Rehabilitation therapy is similar to physical therapy in people with the goal of decreasing pain and returning a dog to normal function.

2) Conditioning Your Police Canine to Prevent Injury and Increase Career Longevity

This lecture will focus on explaining a proper conditioning program that can be implemented to daily life. The goal of conditioning your dog is to keep your dog to it’s highest level of fitness in order to prevent injury. Conditioning programs include both stretching and active exercises to maintain flexibility and strength of muscles, bones and joints.

Instructor:  Dr. Carolina Medina, DVM DACVSMR

Many times, as handlers we evaluate how much medical knowledge we need based on our proximity to veterinarian emergency medical care. From a practical application that is assuming a lot, for example accidental ingestion of drugs or explosives. Most handlers presume if they are minutes away from medical care you need not know how to treat your animal or have the equipment necessary to treat them. This type analyses presumes you watched your canine ingest the hazardous substance. If you did not see the harmful act or if you are unsure you will only know that your animal has ingested a hazardous substance once they begin to display signs of ingestion. By the time you see this, your time to get treatment is dramatically reduced and it is likely you will need to treat the animal on scene or on-route to the veterinary hospital. Dr. Thomas and Dr. McLaughlin will be showing you how to provide basic medical care to common medical emergencies.

Instructors: Dr. Melanie Thomas, DVM and Dr. Chris McLaughlin, DVM, DACVECC

For those that have a misconception as to how beneficial K9’s can be in a high-risk patrol operation or to a SWAT team this class is for you.  We encourage all patrol officers, military, SWAT and supervisors to attend this class.  You will learn how to utilize your dog to find the suspect quicker, yet safer, while maintaining your tactical advantage and officer safety.


We will discuss what to look for during your selection of a Tactical Patrol dog or SWAT dog as well as the handler.  Learn how a properly trained patrol dog and the handler can be utilized during a in a high-risk patrol deployment or SWAT operation when it comes to tracking, barricaded suspects, approaches, entries, blind corners, room clearing, hallways, stairs, attics, crawl spaces, vehicle assaults, arrest techniques and even in a gas environment. 



Courtroom Testimony

Know the answers to the questions before their asked.


Over the year’s handlers have improved their training regimen, increase their monthly maintenance training, documentation, and have improved their report writing skills. The one area that is still severely absent is their preparation for a deposition or testifying in a civil courtroom when it comes to answering the basic questions of your job.  Know the hard questions any good plaintiff’s attorney will ask you to be prepared to give the correct answer because you are a new question.   

Instructor: Brad Smith

The law enforcement community has been under extreme scrutiny the past several years and so has the marine mammal training profession for even longer. The movie Blackfish has changed the marine mammal animal training profession forever. And the working dog profession is not immune from this type of scrutiny. As a K9 handler in today’s climate it is imperative the handler understands the basic principles of animal training. This understanding will assist in avoiding court challenges by defense experts, poor public perceptions on how our K9s are treated and more importantly improve your K9’s performance. Scott will review basics of animal learning and share his concerns regarding how we can collectively best avoid the next “Blackfish effect”.

Instructor: Scott Klappenback

new2This class will show how officers can use their K9’s in buy/busts, felony pickups, and arrest suspects in stolen vehicles with the assistance of SWAT and other officers. What we will be teaching can be used with a one K9 Unit department or a department with multiple dogs. We will talk about the evolution of our unit and the mistakes we made to get to where we are today.

Instructor: Bob Day

James and Rafael will provide you with current hidden compartment trends. Also, the ability to
identify indicators of electronic/ non-electronic compartments while taking into consideration all the safety issues when searching for hidden compartments, safety issues not only for the handler but also the K9. James and Rafael’s years of experience and expertise will provide you with tried and true methods used to safely gain access to electronic/non-electronic compartments. But they won’t stop there, James and Rafael will teach you to identify other methods of concealing contraband in a vehicle by use of stash cans and natural voids in a vehicle.

Instructors: James Hugar & Rafael Vega


This lecture will cover feeding the working dog, the effects of heat stress on the canine athlete and some very entertaining and quite humorous stories about his journey with dogs.  Rob has spent 20 winters in the interior of Alaska racing and his encounters with the majestic Alaskan wildlife have been frequent and occasionally life threatening.  Rob is also owner and formulator of Annamaet Petfoods, a company that has been providing holistic and natural nutrition to dogs for 30 years.

Instructor: Rob Downey

“Power Biting” is a combination of training techniques which has been systematically designed to enhance your K-9 partner’s bite, while greatly reducing the risk of injury during intense training for the dog as well as the decoy. There are many benefits to employing this this system such as; increased depth and bite pressure, reduction/elimination of handler conflict, stops transfer bites, greater speed of entry, reflex response to pressure, improved targeting, and tremendous cardiovascular conditioning.

Instructor: Justin Rigney

K-9 Learning and Clear Communication. This class covers the principles of learning (classical and operant conditioning), the use of markers/bridges. We cover how information is taken in by your K9 as well as how to best deliver the information you wish to train. We go over how to introduce these methods and how to use them in problem solving. In this class you will conduct hands on experiments where participants get to feel for themselves how to communicate and give information. All of this will allow you to become better handler and trainer for your dogs.

Instructor: Cameron Ford

This class will provide an overview of the responsibilities and liabilities of being the Unit Supervisor. We will look at policies we have and should consider having. The use of media and its effect on clear communication and using it to our advantage. The importance of outside audits and a review of critical incidents involving uses and heat related deaths. Handler selection, fitness, and retention will be discussed.

Instructor: Ron Cloward

Most K9 training problems can be attributed to 5 common sources. This class will explore the reality of the training field in all its imperfect glory.  When you go out to train, even the best laid plans sometimes fail, your approach must change in an instant to insure success. Handlers and Trainers of every level will benefit from this simple approach to the variability of the real K9 training world.

Instructor: Mary Davis

Muzzle fighting is the highest level of Bite Work, which is what we use in Special Operation K9’s in Israel to create K9’s who are ready at any given moment. Anyone can take a bite, only a few know how to read the dog’s language and respond appropriately to enhance the K9’s abilities. Reading the dog’s behavior while decoying can make or break a dog.  The benefits of muzzle fighting cannot be skipped, as it is essential for your K9’s everyday job. During this class you will learn how to properly engage in muzzle training to make your dog a super dog. At the end of this class you will leave knowing how to properly teach your dog how to neutralize the suspect, while wearing a muzzle. We encourage Military, S.W.A.T., and patrol handlers to attend this class, as well as everyone who wants to enhance their knowledge on different techniques for their K9.

Instructor: Shay Maimoni

This class provides an individual or group an activity that goes on over the duration of the class, resulting in a “collective” solution, protocols, and techniques to address discussed behaviors identified by the participants. Classroom participation of various “Aggressive Dog” problems by viewing a video timeline, milestones, and other aspects of the case study allow the students to hear multiple solutions to a given issue, as every canine/canine issue is different.

The classroom “participation” format provides an environment that can be used to help students improve their problem-solving, develop their K9 instructional “Tool-Box”, and build on their own previous work experiences.

Instructor: Rob Lukason

This class covers the 4 parts of K9 aggression instincts. This is to simplify the many questions that handlers and trainers have in properly identifying aggressions in their K9 partners.

This class will assist them in identifying the aggression to assist them in the selection of future working dog applicants and to resolve current issues they may have relating to behavior dispositions.

Instructors: Tony Guzman and Bob Suarez

This course will help build a foundation of principles that any Handler or Trainer can use to be more successful in the field. Intelligence driven and operationally validated tactics and techniques will be detailed. Learn how to assist your K-9 be more effective by the utilization of better scene evaluation, search prioritization, and knowing the unique characteristics of the different types of deployments such as preventive sweeps, dignitary protection, bomb threats, investigative/evidence searches, open areas/buried hides, and post-blast scenes. There will be instruction on the appropriate combining of traditional K-9 training and operationally focused training as well as defining the four specific types of aid placement strategies for improved performance. Ways to improve your ability to detect Change of Behavior will also be discussed.

Instructor: Ray Neely

How to apply the basics fundamentals of operant conditioning and how it relates to police dog training.

Instructor: Mike Ritland

A good number detector-K9 scent-training beliefs are misconceptions based on the success/failure ratio of professional experience plus the use of scientific guidelines that miss the big picture. First amongst these misconceptions is the institution-wide belief that real materials make the best scent-training aids for the imprinting and maintenance-training of detector K9’s.

Recent scientific findings now show that this misconception further leads to errors that are significantly responsible for the 3 main shortcomings observed within operational detector K-9s – (i) false alerts, (ii) alerting a distance away from the odor source of a large target material, and (iii) totally ignoring large hides during detection.

Using a cocktail of scientific data, user videos and testimonials, this revealing seminar will explain the reasons for these shortcomings, clarify some foundational misconceptions upon which top-tier K9 training programs have been built, and will describe how these new lessons learnt can be applied towards establishing next-generation training doctrines, achieving higher certification standards, improving case law, and understanding odor better.

This is scent detection at its most fundamental and most comprehensive, presented in a way that brings a new revolutionary understanding to the enigma of odor, to the correct selection and utilization of training aids, and is a must-attend class for all operational K-9 trainers and handlers!

Instructor: David Adebimpe

Learn how to increase your street find percentage by adjusting your units training to start making the finds that you have been missing.  This class will cover the most common mistakes that we all have made and still make at times.  How applying semi-known and unknown training tracks/trails can help, along with understanding the suspects scent a the end of the track/trail.  How to work through it to get that apprehension/find.

Instrustor: Mark Wynn

A review of the leading reasons dogs fail and strategies for preventing it.

Topics: Nonviolent death reasons; Injury reasons; Prevention; Removing roadblocks for a long and healthy working career.

Instructors: Jill Cline, PhD  | Rick Kesler, DVM  |  Russ Kelley

Only at HITS

Dutch k-9 trainers Henne Bolster & Ruud Leus will present 2 new classes that take training from step one with a puppy all the way through to a patrol  and search K-9.

Jason Purgason’s new class “Training Support Personel” will be taught exclusively at HITS 2016


HITS Classes cover all aspects of K-9 handling.  Classes are strategically scheduled so you can attend all the classes you want at HITS.   Topics cover Bomb Dogs – Drug Dogs – Patrol Dogs – Supervisor Isuues.

World Class Training at HITS