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Back to Basics (Santa Paula, CA)

  • National Distaster Search Dog Foundation (SDF) 6800 Wheeler Canyon Road Santa Paula, CA, 93060 United States (map)

Registration Deadline: June 14, 2019


Hours: 16

Handler Participant Registration Fee: $450 per student

Observer: $200 per student

Optional Room & Board Fee: $155 includes 2 night’s stay at SDF’s Handler’s Lodge and meals

This weekend will focus on strengthening training skills that are the bedrock of Search Dog work! Training elements from the FEMA Foundation Skills Assessment (FSA) / SUS&R Type II test will be folded in to help both green teams preparing to test and seasoned teams who could use a refresher, as well as those who may need help in specific areas. The stronger the foundation, the better the team! In addition, a portion of the weekend will focus on Advanced Reward Systems, once referred to as “Drive & Decoy” training. Handlers will learn how to develop and channel drive, as well as better motivate a variety of breeds, so as to get the most out of each Search Dog on their task force.


The National Disaster Search Dog Foundation (SDF), in conjunction with Instructors Teresa MacPherson and Deborah Burnett, are pleased to announce that we are opening the gates of our National Training Center (NTC) for a series of US&R Live Find team training weekends throughout 2019! These training weekends are an opportunity to work with your canine partner in a variety of real-world scenarios on 125 acres. You will receive quality one-on-one instruction delivered by Teresa MacPherson and Deborah Burnett, to include problem-solving and feedback. These two-day training weekends will be largely field-work, concentrating on disaster search that may include foundation training elements and wide area search scenarios, building and rubble search areas.

The description and objectives of each training weekend will vary. Each time, we will be able to accommodate up to sixteen (16) canine teams on a first-come, first-served basis. In addition, up to ten (10) Observers may register for the full workshop in a hands-off capacity (no dogs), at a discounted rate. These training weekends are customized for and available to US&R Live Find canine teams only. Various levels of experience will be accommodated. 


  1. All dogs must be:

  • Under control and well-behaved

  • Healthy

  • Dog may not be in heat

  • Non-aggressive

  • Trained indication on LF

  • Handlers must be affiliated with a recognized agency.


NOT required – Completion of Type II/FSA or Type I/CE certification(s).

Earlier Event: June 21
HRD K9 – Foundations
Later Event: July 12
Water HRD K9 Workshop