General Topics

  • Using Cues and Reinforcement in Dog Training

    Using Cues and Reinforcement in Dog Training

    General Topics 11/28/2013 at 4:42 pm

    Following is an excerpt from the book Thoughtful Owners, Great Dogs by James Akenhead. Obedience training is usually thought of as mastering a series of commands that indicate what behavior we want the dog to do, combined with a release cue that tells the dog when he can stop doing […]

  • E-Collar Basics

    E-Collar Basics

    General Topics, K9 Health 11/14/2013 at 9:11 am

    Electronic is an interesting adjective that Webster’s defines as: 1. of or having to do with electrons; 2.operating, produced, or done by the action of electrons or other carriers of semiconductors, vacuum tubes, etc.; or 3. carried on by or making use of electronic equipment. The word “electronic” conjures up […]

  • Using play drive in bite work

    Using play drive in bite work

    General Topics, Patrol 11/01/2013 at 9:28 am

    When training police dogs to perform certain tasks, we use the dog’s inherent drives. That’s why, when we test a dog for police work, we must be sure that he has the appropriate drives for the task. For example, in scent work — whether it is for tracking, narcotics or […]

  • Paper Protection

    Paper Protection

    General Topics, Patrol 10/09/2013 at 6:08 pm

    My K-9 instructor consistently repeated, “If it’s not on paper, it didn’t happen.” Being naive, I never truly appreciated this piece of advice until I pulled down my first load of narcotics that went to court. When I apprehended my first load, I had been a handler for about a […]

  • Fit for Duty: Handler and Dog

    Fit for Duty: Handler and Dog

    General Topics, K9 Health 09/19/2013 at 10:29 pm

    “Lack of activity destroys the good conditioning of every human being, while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it.” ~ Plato K9 handlers across the country are challenged daily with high stress deployments. Dealing with the stresses takes a mental and physical toll on both the handler […]

  • Police Dog History

    Police Dog History

    General Topics, Patrol 08/28/2013 at 2:48 pm

    They are among the most loyal and steadfast officers of any police force. They are highly trained and immensely dedicated. And they are usually the only police officers that are routinely called “adorable.” They are the four-legged officers of the K-9 unit, and whether they are searching for missing children […]

  • Military Working Dog History

    Military Working Dog History

    General Topics 08/14/2013 at 3:04 pm

    Throughout the centuries, dogs have shared not only the comforts of mens’ homes, but also the danger of combat. The lineage of today’s modern military working dogs extends back through time to the ancient peoples of Persia and Assyria. Chainmail-clad dogs marched alongside the Roman Legions through the Middle East, […]

  • Challenge Coin History

    Challenge Coin History

    General Topics 07/23/2013 at 8:59 pm

    If you’ve served in any branch of the armed forces, chances are you’ve received a “challenge coin.”  But you may not realize just how this longstanding military tradition came to be.  These coins have a fascinating story and lore all their own. The history of the challenge coin has developed […]

  • Are we truly VALIDATING our training for Working Dogs with the currently available “certifications”?

    Are we truly VALIDATING our training for Working Dogs with the currently available “certifications”?

    General Topics, Patrol, SAR 07/03/2013 at 9:36 pm

    Combining my 28 years in research and quality operations and my 35+ years’ experience with “down in the dirt” dog training experience, I have often wondered if our current system, which hasn’t changed much in my 35 years of dog work, of so-called certifications truly “validates” our training as it applies to […]

  • Now accepting contributed articles

    Do you have a great idea or article that you would like to see published on the K9Handler blog? We welcome contributions from qualified K9 community members. Please email your article topic and your credentials to for consideration. Thank you for your interest!