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Cadaver Dog Training

Collage of cadaver dog training sessions

 

Beginner & Refresher Course: Full Cadaver
March 24-26, 2023
Limit 18 Teams  |  One K9 per handler  |  $450.00 per person

Register Online  - Registration Opens at 9:00AM EST on Thursday, February 7.

This course is designed to imprint beginner K9s, and serve as a reinforcement of foundations and source exposure for the more advanced K9s.   We will group K9s accordingly.

While working full body human remains, buried remains, bone fragment, as well as other lower threshold source materials will be included, part of the course will focus on search theory and best practices for successful case recoveries.  Included with this course, from the instructors, will be classroom lectures including actual case reviews of successful recoveries.  They will share “lesson’s learned” on actual cases.  Also, included will be lectures on Osteology and actual lab experience comparing human bone to animal bone.   Opportunities and guidance will be provided on “proofing” the K9 (and handler) off of animal bones.

The training will include 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.  Odor recognition, commitment to odor, and clear final responses of the K9 will be a focus.  

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 at $200.00.  Only those who have officially registered with the university will be able to participate or observe.

Lead instructors include:

Edwin Grant (Active K9 handler/trainer, Retired Game Warden, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children TAC/SAR specialists, State Bureau of Investigation 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 Executive Board Member).

Dr. Lisa Briggs (Active Criminologist, Director Emergency and Disaster Management Program, Director WCU HRD K9 Program, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children TAC/SAR specialists, State Bureau of Investigation HRD Task Force, Department of Homeland Security Reunification Team, etc),

Other qualified instructors will be added as needed, and each instructor will have a student assistant.  

“Do not expect a HRD K9 to recovery 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

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Thanks to the many cadaver donors who have given their remains in the name of science to Western Carolina University, the craft of training human remains detection dogs is possible.

“Do not expect a HRD K9 to recovery 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

NOTE: All participants will be required to follow federal, state and university COVID practices that exist at the time of the training. Currently, facemasks are no longer required inside all university buildings.

ABOUT THE PROGRAM:

Western Carolina University's Cadaver Dog Training Workshops are held on the main 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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