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what is a "K9 handler"
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Old 02-12-2017, 07:59 PM   #1 (permalink)
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what is a "K9 handler"

I was hiding for a dog and started to wonder what is the definition of a K9 handler.

You have a dog but does that make you a "handler"?
You've had several dogs, does that make you a "handler"?

What makes a 'handler'? Is the ability to work not only your dog but someone else's if you know the basics of the other dog (commands, etc)? Is a handler someone who could pick up the lead and be able to get some kind of creditable performance from the dog? Are you a 'handler' even if the only dog you can work is your own?

I know some folks who use it as a cachet and tote it about like a trophy. It's like the first thing they do is get a stenciled T-shirt (in really BIG letters) that cover their backs from shoulder to shoulder and from the neck to the waist on both the front and the back. On the other hand, I've met some that were quiet and unassuming, dressing in an old shirt and jeans, but you could see the confidence in how they hold the leash and touch the dog and it was poetry to see them work with dogs right out of the gate.

So what is a "K9 handler"?
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Old 02-12-2017, 09:07 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Interesting thought.. I am curious if the question was prompted by the 'handler' of the dog to whom you were hiding for?
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Old 02-12-2017, 11:21 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: what is a "K9 handler"

A K9 handler is someone that is teamed up with a particular dog.

It doesn't mean that person can take any dog and work with it.

I also look at the term K9 as opposed to canine as being a legit working dog such as a police K9 or a SAR K9.

There are dogs out there that have "working" police K9s in their breeding and my be in a high level of bite sport dogs but that doesn't make it a K9.

Howard could better answer the question being a LEO K9 handler but I doubt that there are to many, if any "handlers" out there that work another "handler's" dog.

Also being a "handler" of any sort has little to do with being a trainer.
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Old 02-13-2017, 01:59 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: what is a "K9 handler"

The handler reference is more tactical in construct for me, as in a trained operator.

That said, I do also refer to people at the end of a leash as handlers. As such that would be applied to a generic application in casual dialogue like the one we had about approaching dogs.
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Old 02-13-2017, 06:38 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: what is a "K9 handler"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Misty Wegner View Post
Interesting thought.. I am curious if the question was prompted by the 'handler' of the dog to whom you were hiding for?
No, it was prompted by the picture of someone I vaguely know working a BH with the grossly over-marked (IMO) T-shirt.
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Old 02-13-2017, 09:13 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: what is a "K9 handler"

I guess my last comment sounds like a bitchy statement on a person but when I see stuff like the HUGELY letter T-shirt always starts the audio clip from the first Shrek movie where Shrek first sees the large tower at the castle and says: "Do you think he's compensating for something?"

Which is what started me thinking on exactly what is a K9 handler? I tend to think of it as a technical term like Nicole does but I guess the follow up question is: What qualifies you?

You aren't allowed to call yourself a doctor until you have passed certain criteria. Ground searchers are expected to pass certain standards before they get the rocker. But dog people seem to come out of the gate with this stuff emblazoned on their chest. So is it something you should wait to wear or call yourself until you have passed your certification test? Is it something the unit or agency should bestow when you show that you can do basic skills like reading the dog, lead handling, know basic emergency canine first aid, understand basic scent theory, can detail a plan to deploy the dog based on the current situation, etc.

Is 'K9 handler' something you should earn through knowledge, proficiency, and performance of skills (much like SAR TECH II or a documented mastery of skills) OR is it just something handled out to anyone who shows up the first day with a dog?

Is this designation something that should be held back until such a time as the person has passed a basic course or met certain criteria before they are considered qualified to be called a 'K9 Handler'?
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Old 02-13-2017, 09:52 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: what is a "K9 handler"

Hey, you can hold a leash, you are a handler.
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Old 02-13-2017, 10:42 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: what is a "K9 handler"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Khoi Pham View Post
Hey, you can hold a leash, you are a handler.
You are just too funny. It sorta reminds me of the Holiday Inn Express commercial. The one with a bunch of people looking at a guy performing surgery and come to find out he's not a surgeon BUT he did stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.
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Old 02-13-2017, 01:04 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: what is a "K9 handler"

The term "K9 Handler" is subjective IMO. Anyone holding a leash on a dog trained for a specific task or "work" can be considered a K9 Handler. Proficiency, effectiveness, and ability determines whether you are a great handler, or a shizz handler. I suppose it's easier to call anyone with a trained dog that does any kind of work a handler. That handler's peers determine what kind of handler they are. Lots of handlers think they are the shizz in their own mind but no matter how great they think they are they can't over rule their peers. It's much like being on American Idol. Lot's of singers who, in their own mind, think they are the greatest. Yes they are singers, but they suck. I use the American Idol example because it's fresh in my mind. Last night I went to a restaraunt for my dinner break and they had Karaoke going on. Boy those people sucked, but they thought they were great. All that caterwallin' almost made me eat my gun but hey, they were singers.
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Old 02-13-2017, 02:03 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I can see where the term can be highly subjective, especially when one who is 'handling' the dog is a newbie, clueless, or as Sarah mentioned, perhaps a bit of both and screaming it out to the world with lettering..

For me, a K9 handler would be anyone who handles a dog in a working environment.. However, how I refer to that person when talking to another is dependent upon their abilities. We have those 'handlers' on our team that are not certified, and while at practice seem committed, however, the progress or lack thereof is indicative of playing at it. So I would refer to them more as a K9 handler student.. Not that we aren't all students of K9's, but specifically the handler aspect..

As with it is in the horse world, you can talk a big talk and boast all you want, but when reality clearly spells out a different story, all respect and leeway is lost and you are relegated to the 'talk more than know' category.
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