On Saturday, May 8, 2021, the AKC Detection Dog Task Force (DDTF) hosted a first-of-its-kind seminar for Patriotic Puppy Program (PPP) participants to work in-person with PPP Manager, Stacey West. Registrants participated in demonstrations with various breeds, varieties and ages of future detection dogs including two 11-week old Labrador Retrievers!
The morning began with discussion topics including the genetics of performance/working dogs, and an emphasis on the importance of the role of the breeder, which impacts the future of a dog’s career. A strong genetic foundation, along with early healthcare and socialization is a key factor in the success of training and deployment for detection dogs. The same knowledge that is utilized in crafting a great pedigree is as important in detection dog/performance dog breeding, whelping and rearing. Subtle differences in rearing litters can form a puppy’s learning behaviors.
Beautiful weather allowed for indoor and outdoor demonstrations by all levels of detection dogs in training. Discussions began with the emphasis on basic puppy training such as the AKC Canine Good Citizen program, and ran to more advanced demos by green detection dogs. West commented that dog trainers should never stop personally learning and growing to be able to “fill their toolbox” with the range of tools needed to build environmentally sound and confident working dogs.
Other topics covered included the AKC Adopt a K9 Cop program, the wide range of potential jobs for working and detection dogs, the challenging process of navigating government contracts and the emphasis of different government agencies, as well as addressing individual challenges in training and rearing detection dogs.
All involved enjoyed the comradery of meeting Patriotic Puppy program participants in person, talking with others interested in breeding and training the future of our country’s purpose-raised detection dogs. AKC GR and the Detection Dog Task Force looks forward to more, similar of these seminars in an area near you!