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Cadaver Dog Training

Cadaver Dog Training


Full Cadaver: Beginner and Refresher Course
May 7-9, 2021 | $450

This couse has reached capacity.
Registration is now closed.

Lodging Option: Comfort Inn, Sylva - Call (828) 477-4950. Ask for group: "Cadaver K9 Training"

This course is designed to imprint beginner K9s, and serve as a reinforcement of foundations for the more advanced K9s, on full body human remains, buried full body remains, bone fragment, as well as lower threshold source.

The training will begin with classwork on the basics of the K9 olfactory system and scent detection work, and the reinforcement of how to limit handler error and intentional and unintentional cuing.  A focus of our training is to develop the working K9 to be able to detect, and give a final response at source independently and confidentially on its own.  After the 101 crash course of the HRD K9 and handler duty, K9s will be grouped by level of experience and begin the training by imprinting K9s on low threshold human remains and advance to large source (full body), buried remains (full and partial body), as well as scattered human bone fragment.  This will be a challenging task to accomplish in just 2.5 days, and we will all be mindful to keep these tasks positive and productive.

One K9 per one handler, lunch will be provided on Friday and Saturday.  The course is limited to the first 18 K9 teams to register, and a couple of spots are available for observers (by special arrangement) at $200.00. Email to inquire about observer spots.

Be sure to add your email to our contact list to receive information about upcoming workshops.

Burned Human Remains HRD K9 Training
May 21-23, 2021   |  $490.00

Register Online Now
Lodging Option: Comfort Inn, Sylva - Call (828) 477-4950. Ask for group: "Cadaver K9 Training"

NOTE: This course is open to Law Enforcement, Fire and Emergency and Disaster Mangaement Personnel only. Agency affiliation will be confirmed.

“Do not expect a HRD K9 to recover that which it has not been imprinted on, nor expect it to give a reliable and accurate final response if it has not been well trained on the many VOCs of actual human decomposition.”   -- Dr. Lisa Briggs

The class will include a hands-on component using a controlled-burn scene with human remains.  Be mindful that negative emotions “carry down the leash” to the K9, so if you are not prepared for the actual scientific process of burning remains, then we recommend that you join us in one of our many other cadaver canine trainings.    We have a lot planned for spring, summer, and fall of 2021.

This course builds on previous WCU HRD K9 Trainings and is dedicated to advancing HRD K9 recovery abilities for cases involving accidental or purposively deaths of victims by fire.   

It is expected that the K9 (and handler) have experience in odor detection of human remains, and the K9 have a solid final response/indication.  While the focus of the course will be on the recovery of full body burned cadaver, cremains, burned tissue and bone fragment training will also occur at our regular cadaver facility: The Forensic Osteology Research Station at Western Carolina University where buried and surface cadavers are available.  

The course is limited to 18 K9 teams.

Lead Instructor Include:

Edwin Grant  - Active K9 handler/trainer, Retired Game Warden, NCMEC TAC, SBI HRD Task Force, Department of Homeland Security Reunification Team, Necrosearch, Kenyon International member, etc),

Ken Mathias - Retired Director of SBI K9 program, Raleigh Police Department K9 program, and United States Police Canine Association National Chief Judge. USPCA Cadaver Dog National Champion.

Dr. Lisa Briggs  - Active K9 handler/trainer, Criminologist, Director Emergency and Disaster Management Program, Director WCU HRD K9 Program, NCMEC TAC, SBI HRD Task Force, Department of Homeland Security Reunification Team, etc),

Clay Bryson  - Active K9 handler/trainer. Current Coordinator for law enforcement K9 program, NAPWDA member, Certified Dual Purpose Police K9 trainer, etc.

Other qualified instructors will be added as needed.

*While we will follow federal, state and university safety practices, participants are reminded that if 6 feet of social distance cannot be maintained between individuals, participants and staff will be required to wear a facemask. 

Our Cadaver Dog Training Workshops are held on the campus in Cullowhee, North Carolina. The workshops are offered in cooperation with the Forensic Osteology Research Station and the Emergency and Disaster Management Program at WCU.

These land-based workshops allow participants to work search areas including grassy fields, mountainous terrain, urban environments, buildings, and vehicles. Participants will have the opportunity to work a wide range of source materials; including the ability to expose their dogs to full body decomposition in the Forensic Osteology Research Station (FOREST).

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