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K9 Scent Theory and Detection with Mike Suttle (Harrodsburg, KY)

  • MCFD Station 12, 2805 Louisville Road, Harrodsburg, KY 40330 (map)

This class brings in one of the top detection trainers, Mike Suttle from Logan Haus Kennels, to present a comprehensive class on detection theory and application. This class is suitable for all levels of K9s doing detection work in Search and Rescue, Law Enforcement, and other related venues (HRD, narcotics, explosives, accelerants, etc..). This class focuses on the foundational skills and drills necessary for a reliable detection dog which means there will not be high levels of reps for the working dog spots. Time will be split between lectures, working on timing and criteria setting (using chickens as the teaching tool), and working the dogs that have a working spot.  Hosted by Search Dogs of North America (SDONA)

This class is not suitable for dogs doing live find SAR dogs unless they are being transitioned to add HRD odor.  

Topics Covered:

  • The concept of how animals learn through the four quadrants of Operant Conditioning  
  • How to correctly use classical conditioning to prepare the dog for marker training
  • How to properly motivate the dog for training
  • Drive theory in training
  • Reward VS reinforcer
  • Timing of reinforcement
  • Primary/secondary reinforcers
  • Reinforcement schedules
  • Stimulus control
  • Behavior chains
  • K9 selection
  • Fundamentals of training an odor detector dog based on timing, criteria, and rate of reinforcement
  • Training tools and techniques to develop accurate and reliable detector dogs
  • How to teach dogs to ignore all distractor odors with no punishment
  • How to teach a focused Trained Final Response (TFR).
  • How to teach a dog to search a pattern independently of his handler