Legislative Action Center

Robustness in Training with Jay Crafter – Part 2 – K9 Handler Selection in Crucial Conservation Work
January 12, 2023 by AKC Government Relations


Robustness in Training Part 1 was so well received, the AKC Detection Dog Task Force (DDTF) enthusiastically welcomed Jay Crafter of Invictus K9 back for Part 2!

In part one, Jay shared his experiences with recruiting and training dogs and dog handlers to assist in wildlife conservation work in Africa. He and his teams help enforce anti-poaching laws by providing a means to track poachers for apprehension by law enforcement.

In part two, Jay expanded on his training and handler selection processes for this work. His handler selection process is unique because he recruits handlers from local villages who typically do not have law enforcement or military backgrounds. 

An instinct for selecting handlers with competency and dedication to the critical work the K9 teams implement is crucial to success. “Handlers must display personal leadership, mental and emotional composure, and a dedication to team spirit.” 

After the handlers are selected training begins. He emphasizes the importance of investing sufficient time to allow new recruits to succeed, and not to rush through training. Establishing expectations of the dog and encouraging personal handler accountability pays off with fruitful conservation efforts. 

Jay echoed a theme from past AKC Detection Dog Task Force training webinars: “Less is More” in dog training. “It is important for the dogs and handlers to develop muscle memory,” he notes. These attributes help to incrementally develop drive, tracking and endurance for the rough terrain in which Jay’s teams work. 

The AKC Detection Dog Task Force supports and is grateful for Jay’s conservation work and his dedication to developing working dog/handler teams and bond between them. 

View a recording of this webinar, “Robustness in Training – Part 2”, A Discussion with Jay Crafter of Invictus K9, here: https://register.gotowebinar.com/recording/3803044022988819886 


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