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We start our annual drug dog certification today. Each dog will be tested on 3 sets of 7 vehicles. One set will have marijuana and cocaine hidden in two of the vehicles. One set will have heroin and meth hidden in two of the vehicles. One set will have uncirculated currency and plastic bags hidden in one of the vehicles (negative test).

Then each dog will be required to conduct a search of 2 sets of 7 rooms. Each set will have drugs hidden in two of the rooms. Then an invetory of thier drug training aids and back to work. Each certification takes 2 days and I do 6 dogs each day. Usually it's a relaxing exercise, the handlers are pretty confident. I believe that certification, if you are training correctly, is a lot simpler than the average training day should be.

DFrost
 

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No sir, we don't video certifications. However we do, at times, video training.

DFrost
 

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About 4 years ago we did our “building drug certification” in a series of motel rooms. I let my dog free search each of the rooms and I was done in about 10 minutes. The evaluator had a fit that I didn’t detail my dog and that the certification rules required us to work as a team.

I thought we did… I said “seek dope”… he did. He said “I found it”…. And I threw a tug at him. Why make it more complicated than you have to! ;-)
 

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We have our own certification, but we also attend USPCA as time and manpower allow. It never ceases to amaze me at some of the score sheet. Even though the dog finds all four targets, the handler will lose a point for "other". Occasionally they'll lose one for leash control or other silly thing. The handlers' always question, what the heck is "other". I tell them I've been involved with USPCA off and on for 30 years and I've never figured it out. AS long as the dog is find all four targets, don't worry about it.

DFrost
 

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We have our own certification, but we also attend USPCA as time and manpower allow. It never ceases to amaze me at some of the score sheet. Even though the dog finds all four targets, the handler will lose a point for "other". Occasionally they'll lose one for leash control or other silly thing. The handlers' always question, what the heck is "other". I tell them I've been involved with USPCA off and on for 30 years and I've never figured it out. AS long as the dog is find all four targets, don't worry about it.

DFrost
I’ve never quite figured out the whole “certification is also a competition” thing… seems like if you get too focused on “points” it will hurt performance on the street.
 

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> Same here I have a few labs who have been on the street for several years and can search a room with the handler outside talking and will sit and wait until given the reward. Not good that they do this(handlers), but I had a verbal disagreement with a cert authority who was observing training when he disagreed with these 2 handlers allowing the dogs to free search for the finds. After arguing for a lengthy time I finally told him in no kind words get the !#%&*_+=??/ out of my training area!! Needless to say he never certified any of my teams. If your team is finding dope then it is nobodys business how you do it.

> I tell all the teams I train on the very first day of a drug dog class, while in training here you will do it "my" way, once you leave here you can do it any way you want as long when I do a spot check you are finding the drugs, if not we have a problem!!

> What business is it of theirs as long as the team locates the plants. I have never been one for scoring on a cert, you either passed/ failed the task according to the requirements of each. In my opinion worrying about points just adds more unneeded stress on the handler. No problem in competitions however.
 

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I frequently have teams from other deparments come and train with us. I always tell them; I'll hide, you find it. I don't try to change what they do. If they have a problem I'll offer suggestions, but they work the way they were trained. In drug training I only have two rules; 1. No pseudo. 2. You can't watch me hide it. I've actually had teams (from other departments) that will not train with me because I don't allow the handlers to know where (even if, for that matter) training aids are hidden. How they work, other than my own handlers, is none of my business.

DFrost
 
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