Category Archives: Training

Detect and Protect…

Portrait of K9 Handler in C5 aircraft. Copyright Dawn Rabinowitz, Canines on Duty.

I attended the certification week at Westover Air Force Reserve Base April 25 and 27 2017. My assignments were to photograph Stanton Dog Foundation K9s and their handlers in addition to creating images on my own self assignment of the other units attending.  One of the benefits of photographing at these K9 trainings is that I learn more and more about the incredible dedication these teams are required to have in the line of duty.  Certification is hard work but required so it is necessary that all teams pass to do their jobs.

Certification of K9 teams is required to prove street worthiness and go out to patrol the respective communities in which the department resides or that particular team.

“Having a certified K-9 team is invaluable in proving credibility and reliability in the eyes of the courts… It is a requirement for effective prosecution of cases and liability protection.”
– Officer Joseph Brewer, Wilbraham Massachusetts K-9 Unit

K9 Handler Tim Ullrich and his partner on a C5 Aircraft.

There are several organizations that offer certification for teams.  This certification was overseen by North American Police Work Dog Association (NAPWDA).

“The test is completed on a pass /fail basis.Only an accredited NAPWDA Master Trainer may certify a NAPWDA member K-9 team upon their successful completion of any or all phases attempted. This certification is only valid for a period of one (1) year from the date of the test(s), and as long as the handler is a current member of NAPWDA and the team remains together.” NAPWDA Website

K9 teams may certify in several areas.  A team may not certify in both Narcotics and Explosives, however, due to the means of identifying the scent and the special operations involved when managing a confirmed presence of drugs or explosives.

“To obtain a “Police Utility Dog” certification title, the police work dog team must pass all phases of the utility dog testing areas. Prior to testing for this title, the handler must notify the Master Trainer of his/her intent to obtain this title. The testing will be conducted during a one day test, unless it is conducted during a NAPWDA national or state workshop. The team must pass each phase on the first attempt and will be tested in the following areas:
1.) Obedience (MUST be passed to go on to the other areas.) – This test is to determine if the police work dog is capable of performing off lead obedience exercises. The test is designed to test the dog’s ability and proficiency and the handler’s total control over his/her dog. The obedience test must be passed during the current consecutive maximum 7 day testing period prior to attempting certification in the following areas: SAR Area Search, Building Search (Aggression Trained Dogs), Aggression Control and Cadaver Detection Teams.
2.) Article Search, (except for explosive detection teams) – This test is designed to test the police work dogs ability and proficiency in searching a designated area for articles having human scent on them. This would represent a search for discarded evidence or lost items. Master Trainers will observe the test from outside the search area. The Master Trainer will designate the search area.
3.) Area Search – The obedience test must be passed during the current consecutive maximum 7 day testing period prior to attempting certification this test. This test is designed to test the police work dogs ability and proficiency in search for a hidden suspect within a large area when no known track is available. The team being tested should use the wind and air currents to their best advantage.

4.) Tracking or Trailing – Tracking :: This test is designed to determine if the police work dog is capable of tracking an unknown subject in an unfamiliar area. This test is intended to be closely simulative of working situations. This is a test of the dog’s ability and proficiency and the handler’s control of the dog.
OR
Trailing:: This test is to determine if the police canine is capable of performing a trailing exercise in a simulation of conditions which are encountered during working situations by the police work dog team. This test is designed to test the dogs ability and proficiency and the handlers control of the dog.

Alerting to suspect in container. ©Dawn Rabinowitz, Canines on Duty

5.) Building Search – The obedience test must be passed during the current consecutive maximum 7 day testing period prior to attempting certification this test. This test is designed to be simulative of a working situation. Three (3) basic types of buildings are selected and described for use on this test. The Master Trainer will accompany the team to observe the entire test, as could happen when a backup officer or superior officer would accompany the work dog team during an actual search. Survival tactics should be considered.

Building search with sim rounds. Copyright Dawn Rabinowitz, Canines on Duty.

6.) Aggression Control – This test is to determine if the police work dog is capable of performing exercises encountered by the police handler and his/her dog under simulated situations encountered while working. The test is designed to test the dog’s ability, proficiency, courage, and the handler’s total control of his/her dog… Whenever possible, the suspect will be unknown to the dog. The suspects may be other handlers being tested or volunteers with the approval of the Master Trainer, or in some cases the Master Trainer themselves. In the phases requiring the dog to physically apprehend the suspect, the dog must fully engage and hold/fight the suspect. Failure to engage or excessive, unnecessary mouthing and readjusting of the apprehension is grounds for failure. In the phases requiring the dog to stop his pursuit and apprehension of the suspect, the handler may use any command or series of commands to control the dog. Failure of the dog to release and/or to respond to obedience commands in a timely manner is grounds for failure. The handler must demonstrate sound tactics during all phases of the test. When a search of the suspect is called for the handler must demonstrate a safe approach, simulate handcuffing and search the suspect for weapons.” NAPWDA Bylaws

SEARCH and RESCUE AREA SEARCH TEST – The obedience test must be passed during the current consecutive maximum 7 day testing period prior to attempting certification this test. This test is designed to test the K-9 team’s ability and proficiency in searching designated areas to locate a lost or missing person.

It is required that this canine team demonstrates sociability with the Master Trainer conducting this Search and Rescue Area Search Test prior to this certification. Any display of aggression by the K9 during any part of this test will constitute a failure.

This certification test is open to current NAPWDA Regular and Associate members. Any accredited full Utility or Tracking/Trailing Master Trainer who has either provided to the NAPWDA secretary written documentation showing that he/she has successfully completed a formal Land Navigation class or who has attended the approved NAPWDA Land Navigation class (includes administration of this test), may conduct this certification test. All handlers who wish to test must have a current certificate from the American Heart Association or the American Red Cross in Basic First Aid and CPR. Land Navigation Testing: All handlers must successfully complete Land Navigation Testing to the satisfaction of the Master Trainer prior to performing any field testing.” NAPWDA Bylaws

NARCOTIC DETECTION TEST – This test is designed to determine the proficiency and reliability of dogs in the detection of narcotics. As defined by the NAPWDA narcotic detection rules for testing, the minimum acceptable level required to pass is 91.66%. The basic narcotic odors (and their derivatives) that can be tested in are marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine and are not to exceed five (5) different narcotic odors. The safety of the detection dog will be the sole responsibility of the handler, (such as overdose).” NAPWDA Bylaws

EXPLOSIVE DETECTION TEST – This test will determine the proficiency and reliability of dogs in the detection of explosives. No electronic collar will be permitted to be worn by the K9 during Explosive Detection certification or training regardless whether or not it is active or inactive. Search Time: It is recognized that increased search time endurance and proficiency of the explosive detection canine teams for deployment and future training requirements is necessary. Agencies should be including this in their in-service trainings. Explosive Detection K9 teams should be training towards being able to work 30 minute searches and still be proficient.

During testing, all necessary precautions should be taken to ensure that the handler has no prior knowledge as to the location of explosives training aids. Canine teams should search the way they were trained. No assistance or leading the team by the Master Trainer or anyone else, shall be permitted.

Detection for EOD. Copyright Dawn Rabinowitz, Canines on Duty.

The canine team should be able to locate all explosive training aids within a 2 meter (6.56 feet) radius of the source without disturbing the source, regardless of the height of the source, barring extenuating environmental conditions deemed relevant by the master trainer. If the handler identifies a canine final response that is within 3.05 meters (10 feet) of a hidden explosives training aid, but not in the immediate area of the explosives training aid, the master trainer will advise the handler “Not at Source.” Prior to the test beginning and to encourage handlers to trust their canine and discourage handlers from counting the training aids during testing, handlers shall be informed by the Master Trainer that once they leave a search area, (room, vehicle, etc.) they will not be permitted to come back to that specific search location.” NAPWDA Bylaws

Here’s to 2017…

Dawn is excited for a new year and new opportunities to work with K9 Units and Military Working Dogs all across the country.  Any working dogs are always welcome to grace the front of her lens as well!

Dawn offers on-location photography anywhere, anytime.  Pricing is based on a job’s location, use of photography, and the time required for production.  Reach out today with details on what you are looking for and we can discuss how Dawn can delivery working dog photography that works for you. Private commissions and business commissions are always welcome.

2016 AWMA National Championships IPO

Held in Saco, Maine on October 14, 15 and 16 2016 the AWMA (Malinois) National Championships.  The dog sport, IPO, is a three phase, multiple day competition where tracking (nosework), obedience, and protection abilities are judged.

The weather was cool but gorgeous and the participants worked hard.  It was an honor to photograph this intense dog sport where obedience is paramount.

Photographs can be purchased by clicking here.

Enjoy my favorite images here::

K9 Guardians The Movie FREE for a Limited Time…

Simply click on the GET  OFFER button below and type in THINBLUELINE at checkout.  Limited time offer and stream/download the ENTIRE documentary for free!  My images were used throughout the production of this educational movie. Thank you to Irondog K9 for making Tracer, my Malinois, and I a part of the team!

 

Mt. Major with a Malinois…

Tracer and I hiked Mt. Major’s Orange trail (aka The Boulder Loop Trail) Tuesday, July 26, 2016.  The weather was perfect and we enjoyed the challenge of this short hike and an AMAZING view at the summit!

Great weather, a fabulous hike and my dog by my side = happy lady!

Great weather, a fabulous hike and my dog by my side = happy lady!

Getting there :: I used Waze app on my iPhone and typed in Mt. Major and it gave me the trail head as an option.  The drive took a little over an hour and was easy peasy.  Plenty of parking and there were 4 port-a-potties in the lot.  Keep in mind, we did this hike on a Tuesday morning in the summer so there were fewer people there than will likely be on a weekend during the Summer months.

Signage and orange markers were plenty and easy to follow along this trail.

We encountered some rock climbing, nothing requiring ropes and harnesses, but not for those who aren’t physically fit (including your dogs).  This is a great hike for working dogs, my Malinois served as my sherpa with a light and capable pack from Good2Go which we picked up on our way to the hike at a local Petco.  I purchased the large Good2Go in Yellow/Green ($29)- Tracer is approximately 75 pounds.  I was able to pack one standard size water bottle in each pouch (one on each side), a collapsable dog water/food bowl, a payday bar, trail mix, band-aids, Neosporin, car key, USB/iPhone charging cord, a power pack for my iPhone, id cards, dog treats, and my cell phone.  There was a little room for more but I wanted to also keep the pack light for Tracer.  I made sure that each side was balanced so it didn’t tilt and sit awkwardly from lack of balance and equally distribute the weight in the pack.  Adjustments for size were easy to make and Trace wore it with no problems for his first time with a pack.  I should state that prior to this hike, he was used to wearing a working dog harness so that made it an easy transition to a hiking pack for him.

Good2Go pack on Tracer the Malinois. Purchased at Petco.

Good2Go pack on Tracer the Malinois. Purchased at Petco.

Tracer in his Good2Go pack at the summit of Mt. Major

Tracer in his Good2Go pack at the summit of Mt. Major

The hike was intense in certain portions and climbing for Trace was easy for him but again, he’s used to climbing rocks and other obstacles.  Fit dogs with agile builds and capabilities are best suited for this hiking route up Mt Major.

Tracer and I just before the Summit. – Selfie thanks to a nearby tree with good branches 😉

Daring greatly is not about winning or losing. It’s about courage. In a world where scarcity and shame dominate and feeling afraid has become second nature, vulnerability becomes subversive. Uncomfortable. It’s even a little dangerous at times. And, without question, putting ourselves out there means there’s a far greater risk of feeling hurt. But as I look back on my own life and what Daring Greatly has meant to me, I can honestly say that nothing is as uncomfortable, dangerous, and hurtful as believing that I am standing on the outside of my life looking in and wondering what it would be like if I had the courage to show up and let myself be seen. -Brene Brown, Daring Greatly

 

Taking a moment to feel the sun on my face and say Thank You from my soul for this day and this journey in life!!

Taking a moment to feel the sun on my face and say Thank You from my soul for this day and this journey in life!!

We reached a wide flat area that had lots of wild blueberries and trees which I thought was the summit.

Wide flat area before the summit, good shade and wild blueberries were abundant.

Wide flat area before the summit, good shade and wild blueberries were abundant.

Video from just before the summit (we thought we had reached the top but had a lil’ further to go yet!) Finally we reached the summit!

Enjoy our review and reach out to the companies who have products that made this hike much more enjoyable!
NRA
Swell Bottles
Good2Go Dog Backpack
Payday (YUMMY)
Ranger Up (T shirts that say it all!)
E-Collar Technologies (for control off leash and training)

The things that made this hike even more awesome...

The things that made this hike even more awesome…

Then I saw the orange trail band markers (paint strips) and we continued to follow those to what was clearly THE SUMMIT.  Wide open rock and views upon views upon views!  Here is a video of that actual summit – too windy to hear what I’m saying – but you can see how gorgeous the scenery is and the perma-grin on my face is proof positive that we had reached the top ;). The windy warm air offered us a refreshing recharge but makes it hard to hear my summit “commentary”…

The SUMMIT - Mt. Major Alton, NH

The SUMMIT – Mt. Major Alton, NH

Irondog K9 Seminar in March 2016…

I’ll be with the Irondog K9 crew March 2-3, 2016 to create photographs of the amazing team that train.  Join us!!  Click the training details image below to sign up…

Screen Shot 2015-12-13 at 9.47.13 AM

Click the image above to REGISTER for the seminar!

k9Guardians_060114_1120Efb Day3_COD_idk9cairo_MG_1305fb Day3_COD_idk9cairo_MG_1115fb

Being briefed to track a suspect at Fort AP Hill, Virginia

Being briefed to track a suspect at Fort AP Hill, Virginia