This presentation covers the complexities of taking certifiable standards and building deployable skill sets to build successful K9 teams.  It will focus on core skills needed for both the canines and handlers.  We will identify, isolate, address and teach multiple ways to address all of these skills.

Instructors: Eric Stanbro & Ted Summers

The aims of the lesson,

To give you as a handler a greater understanding of operational combat tracking and the knowledge to orientate future training of your K9 towards an operational role.

To include,

Understanding the scent picture, its movement and diffusion

Training a K9 tracker for operational deployment.

The importance of scent discrimination

Visual indicators of human disturbance, how to gather and process information about the quarry from the track that can be used to assist in the apprehension.

Recognizing and understanding proximity indicators in your dog.

Combat tracking formations.

Instructor: Daryll Pleasants

K-9 Nutrition: Is your dog on the right fuel and how do you know?

Does your dog itch continuously, lose hair, have a dull-stiff or brittle coat or show signs of coat dander or flaking?  Do you feed him 5-6-7-8 cups of food or more a day to maintain their weight?  Does your dog’s stool look like a cow patty, are they gassy?  There is a reason for this and you don’t have to look much further than the bag of food…

This is a fast paced, interactive class that teaches the student; how to read a nutritional label, define what “that” ingredient is.  How to tell a good dog food from a bargain brand and understand how minerals and vitamins get depleted in a K9 Officer and pictures of what happens when you don’t replace the nutrients.  You don’t fuel a high-performance car or motorcycle with low octane gas and expect it to reach peak perform and it is the same with your K9 Athlete….  By the end of the class you will be armed with the ability to look at your canine and see the effects of poor diet and what changes you can do to correct them.

Instructors: Dave Dourson & John Howard

Civil Liability and Use of Police Canines

This course will cover the fundamentals of civil liability and the use of police canines as a force option.  Students will learn common sources of liability as well as how to potential civil exposure for using canines.  The course will include a survey of case law from around the country as well as discussion of specific lawsuits defended by the instructor.  Students will also receive an overview of the civil litigation process and tips for persuasive explaining their use of force.

Instructor: Taylor Rahn

By attending the NePoPo®class, you will be armed with tools and techniques on how to connect with your K9 partner on a deeper level, install a desire and passion in the animal who will execute learned behaviors under high distractions in the real world. The techniques learned in this class can be applied to any phase of dog training as well as any Police K9 application.

Instructor: Justin Rigney

Paul completed a 2yr Advanced EDD study at VWK9`s Academy, in which 100+ Police, Military and Private Sector EDD dog teams were tested on an operational based training and Intel gathering exercise and the results will surprise you & reinforce why this speaker session is a must to attend. Correct operational based training and use of task intelligence is the number one factor for EDD team success during operational Tasks.

Instructor: Paul Hammond

Understanding the difference between traditional Detection Dogs, People Screening Dogs and Mass Screening Dogs). All three have an important but very different role in canine operations, and canines should be trained uniquely for each discipline. The threat of a body-worn explosive and weapons attack is real, and understanding the types of detection dogs available and their correct training, use and deployment is key to detection success. This informative presentation is delivered by Paul Hammond, President of Vapor Wake® K9.

Instructor: Paul Hammond

This two-hour course will reveal a new way of observing and deconstructing the chain of behaviors demonstrated during a single “detection” exercise. Utilizing this information will accurately identify the area(s) needing additional training.  This gives the trainer/handler a guide for selecting specific training exercises targeting those areas needing improvement. This system is also of tremendous value when training and evaluating new canine detection teams by earlier identification of weak areas or areas desiring improvement.  This course has numerous video clips of various detection dogs (explosives, narcotics, cadaver and other) to assist and facilitate learning.

 Instructor: Don Blair

Far too often a supervisor with no K-9 experience is thrusted to the helm of a unit. This can be a daunting task. There are many dynamics that go with such a specialized unit that is strafed with liability. You are not only in charge of the day to day activities of men and women known for their type A personalities, but their K-9s as well. This class will specifically address the leading of a K-9 unit with no working K-9 experience.  Sergeant Aaron Peterman will give guidance and leadership advice on this dilemma, drawing from on his own unit’s past practices from having been in this predicament. You will leave with strategies which foster success, garner respect, and reduce liability.

Instructor: Aaron Peterman

This class is based on the research Cameron Ford has conducted with Duke University.  This class is for everyone, if you are looking to enhance how you select dogs or a you are handler and trainer learning cognition testing enhances your knowledge about the dog you have in front of you.

These Cognition tests (Brain Games) help you learn crucial information such as, is you dog strong in memory, is the dog a problem solver, how quick does it make inferences? Additional things these tests show are, does the dog easy follow gestural communication and what is your dogs laterality. If you are a Law Enforcement Agency or Security Firm, these tests help you select a better more trainable dog. In conjunction with the normal K9 selection and evaluation steps you already use, adding these K9 Brain games to your evaluation raises the percentage of dogs successfully picked to end up be working K9’s. Using these tests have proven to increase selection percentages of the right dogs for your program and it has also proven to reduce training time needed to get dogs ready and on the road.

Instructor: Cameron Ford

This class covers what Cognition is and how to best use it in Detection Dog training.  We also cover Classical and Operant Conditioning as well markers/bridges for Police K-9’s.  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

There are many factors involved in the successful resolution of any critical incident and Vince Bingaman covers these and more in this debrief of his last OIS.  When you add a K9 to these scenarios an officer’s responsibilities multiply and often put us in situations markedly different than those experienced by our fellow officers.  Ideally, we train and deploy in hope of avoiding lethal force on the street, but often it is the suspect who dictates the outcome.  This debrief will help to stack the odds in your favor for the scenario that will eventually come your way.

Instructor: Vince Bingaman

This course will cover the selection processes and why they are important.  We will talk about the perfect dog based on your community, and department needs. We will look at our vendors in Europe and talk about how they prep a dog for your testing. We will go over how to match handlers and dogs to create a stronger team and how to match the dog to your training program. The day a dog retires remains a liability and why we need to safeguard the K9 when it leaves service.

Instructor: Ron Cloward

This is a complete debrief of the case out of Grover Beach California where the District Attorney prosecuted a former K9 handler for murder after his retired K9 attacked two elderly adults in Grover Beach. We will walk through the case from the training and selection of the K9 team to retirement and the errors made during the investigation and by the former handler. What we can do to protect ourselves from something like this happening.  This is the first time this complete trial debrief has been done.

Instructor: Ron Cloward

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.

Instructor: Tony Guzman & Bob Suarez

The adage, “the only thing 2 trainers agree on is what the 3rd one is doing wrong” is a well-known saying within the detector K9 community that is based on the real-life outcomes of scent-detection training practices used by scent-practitioners worldwide. Our collaborative investigations, carried out over a period of 10 years with hundreds of practitioners worldwide, in a study which constitutes the world’s largest and most diverse evaluation of scent training aids, reveal that the validity of this statement stems from practices that originate from a misclassification of scent training aids, a lack of quantifiable standards for training aid selection and application, and from an institutionalized misunderstanding that real materials make the best scent-training aids for the imprinting and maintenance-training of detector K9’s.

Using scientific data, videos, operational feedbacks and testimonials from our studies, this class will present a modern, 21st century classification of the varieties of scent-training aids available for imprinting, maintenance training and certifications of detector K9s, including the different types of training outcomes that can result from the use of each category of these aids available.  Insights on how to produce detector K9’s with scent-and-detect capabilities that are superior to K9’s trained with our “default understanding” of scent training aids are also provided.

This is scent detection presented in a way that brings a new understanding to the essential characteristics of ideal scent training aids, clarifying some of the misconceptions found in training manuals and published scientific papers, and is a must-attend class for all active trainers and handlers!

Instructor: Dr. David Adebimpe

What happens in the dog’s nose and brain to allow the dog to detect and identify odor and locate an odor source? A basic understanding of the structure and function of the dog’s olfactory system and factors affecting odor detection can help K9 handlers partner more effectively with their detection dogs. This class covers what happens in the dog to allow odorant molecules to be interpreted as scent and also addresses the diseases, medications and other factors that can interfere with the dog’s ability to detect, localize and indicate odor.

Instructor: Marcella Ridgway

A basic understanding of K9 anatomy as it relates to dog gear and K9 handling practices can ensure that you get the optimal result from your equipment and handling techniques while minimizing the risk of injury to your dog. This class will cover applied aspects of K9 anatomy such as what body structures are impacted by various types of harnesses and collars, what collar placement is most effective for choke versus prong collars, what happens when you “choke out” a dog or use a gag stick, muzzling and other practical aspects of K9 anatomy pertinent to working dog management.

Instructor: Marcella Ridgway

Dr. Furton will cover the history, state of the art and projections for advances in the science of canine olfaction relating to drugs, explosives and human scent and the standardization efforts of the past 15 years starting with SWGDOG, evolving to OSAC Dogs & Sensors, National Standards from the Academy Standards Board and ultimately accreditation of certifying organizations.

Instructor: Dr. Kenneth Furton

Stressing the importance of the K9s ability to work in front, with and behind the team (The Pack Mentality) so team members can focus on the threats that arise. Talk about the importance of K9 selection for SWAT vs the road.

Instructor: Bobby Roettger

Class Description: This class will take handlers deeper into why detection dogs do what they do. Ken will delve into what “drives” are and how they are utilized. The term obedient to odor refers to the dog understanding that odor drives the reward, not the handler. This fast pace class will cover everything from odor imprinting, to reward, to search patterns and the why’s behind each of these components of detection dog training.  Not only is this class highly entertaining, but most of all, it is highly informative.

Instructor: Ken Licklider

With the experience of 27 years and 1900 perimeter containments in his law enforcement career, Jack Schonely has become an expert on suspect tactics. Jack brings HITS 2020 many valuable strategies from his book, “Apprehending Fleeing Suspects”. Having insight into the criminal mindset and the strategies they use to defeat our efforts to capture them is a priceless commodity in modern policing for K‐9 Handlers. Learn from the successes and failures that Jack Schonely has seen and experienced throughout his police career.

Instructor: Jack Schonely

Stay prepared for tomorrow’s threat. With terrorist bombing attacks happening worldwide at an increasing frequency, we believe it’s important for you to understand the current events and trends in explosives.  This presentation will give you the opportunity to walk through multiple realistic explosive laboratories based on recent bombings worldwide. This interactive presentation will engage all your senses. Take the opportunity to walk the terrain and experience the modern explosives lab.  You’ll leave:   With a deeper understanding of how explosives concepts translate into the current terrorist explosive lab.  Better prepared to correctly identify an explosives lab and its inherent danger; and more knowledgeable in keeping you and your K9 partner safe in an explosives lab. 

Instructor: Elie Zussman

Jeff Meyer’s class on Marker Training for Detection Dogs will walk you through the process of establishing the marker training method for both the green dog as well as introducing it to a dog that is already trained in detection work. The step by step program that Jeff uses is effective and easy to implement as your new way of detection dog training method. In Jeff’s class, you’ll see how Marker Training for Detection Dogs will help speed up your training time. Listen as Jeff explains how the quickly the marker will make the essential connection for the dog between the odor, his response and the reward. This class will discuss the other benefits of Marker Training for Detection Dogs, to include lessening the dog’s learning curve, aiding trainers who struggle with poor handler timing, helps reduce frustration for both the dog and the handler during training, removes issues with handler cuing, thus making canine communication clearer with the dog.

Instructor: Jeff Meyer

This 2 hour block of instruction will highlight some of the most common mistakes we make as K-9 handlers when using the E-Collar in training. The technology and reliability advancements in today’s E-Collars have far outpaced law enforcement training and education. As a result, the power of the E- Collar has not met its full potential for many handlers and trainers. Misuse and misunderstanding of the proper way to introduce and use and E-Collar as a communication tool will produce undesirable results in your dog’s performance and train your dog to be ‘Collar Dependent.’  Join Jeff Meyer as he closes the fundamental gaps that have surfaced in across the training fields for E-collars.

Instructor: Jeff Meyer

This class will focus on working the aspiring tracking handler into a successful urban environment. Often times the focus with training is tackling hard surface as the primary tracking issue. Hard surface is a relatively minor detail. The issues are distractions; scent, sight, and sound. Jeff will walk you through his methods to destroying distractions on urban track. Jeff currently trains police tracking dogs throughout the Americas, Europe, and Asia. His program is responsible for hundreds of urban tracking finds each year.

Instructor: Jeff Schettler

Jeff’s tactical tracking program is the primary provider of high risk tracking training for our US military. Jeff wrote the book on tactical tracking and high risk tracking deployments. In this class, Jeff will be teaching the process of building a tactical team around the K9. It is not simply a matter of putting people with the dog and hoping it all works out. The process is technical and it is crucial that the dog and team work well together for the duration of any mission. The problem is that the average patrol dog does not tolerate a team on a track well and it needs to be taught what is expected of it. Furthermore, the team has to learn the proper way to support a tracking K9 as typical high risk tactics are not effective.

Instructor: Jeff Schettler

Detection Dogs, whether for sport or work, operate in challenging environments and many times must detect trace levels of odor.  To ensure excellent performance, training needs to be optimized to support the canine.  In addition, handlers need to e aware of how their behavior and interaction withy the dog can influence their dog’s behavior and subsequent performance.  This talk will provide a brief overview of the new studies emerging from my lab evaluating training for trace odor detection, effects of canine-handler interaction on canine performance, and effects of dog impulsivity and cognition bias on detection learning and performance.

Instructor: Dr. Nathan Hall

Testifying in front of the courts can be intimidating and stressful, especially if you’re not prepared. You know how hard you’ve trained with your dog and you’ve done everything right for every case. But are you fully prepared to testify about your training and paint the picture of reliability for the courts? Andrew Weiman is an expert witness with decades of police dog handling and training experience. Join Andrew’s class and listen as he presents the cornerstones of proper canine recordkeeping that help prove your dog’s reliability. Andrew makes clear sense of both the purpose and the content of canine records. Defense attorneys look to discredit you and the dog by testing your basic understanding of canine learning and canine training.

Come listen to the advice of an expert and take the power of knowledge as a shield of armor for every drug dog case you’re a part of. There’re many angles of attack coming against you in the courtroom by defense attorneys, don’t go in unprepared and unaware. Let Andrew Weiman’s decades of experience take your courtroom battle to a higher level.

Instructor: Andrew Weiman

This class explores common problems faced by operational K9 teams that are encountered in both training and field operations.  Whether it be detection, trailing or patrol related issues, handlers are often left without applicable solutions for resolving them.  Some of the problems to be covered are the “out” and “recall”, high, large and deep hides, trail loss and recovery and much more! This class will discuss and give examples of proven strategies for resolving issues and alleviating common frustrations felt by K9 handlers.

Instructor: Jason Purgason

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.

Instructor: Brad Smith

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