Northwest K9 SAR Boot Camp: For A Sound Start

Other Training Opportunities
  • HRD August 9-12

  • TRAILING August 17-20

  • Skagit Valley Washington

5th Annual Northwest K9 SAR Boot Camp HRD and Trailing

Instructors Jennifer Hirakawa (HRD) and Angelyn Gates (Trailing)

All searches have one thing in common – a start: A beginning, a plan, a thought. This year we are including “the start” into our otherwise awesome training

HRD: 4 days of enthusiastic search exercises, including training strategies with an emphasis on K9 behavior. Our Special Start Event will be a ½ day classroom exercise setting up search strategies and then implementing those strategies in a pleasantly manageable wilderness environment.

TRAILING: Is your PLS a vehicle, building, park bench or a shoe? Are you clearing an intersection? Checking a footprint? Checking a trail-head? Getting a direction of travel? These are all “starts” and your start strategy affects your result. We’ll have 4 days of trails emphasizing the start. Enjoy our fun locations while running trails of various lengths and ages.

Come enjoy our Puget Sound breezes and unique and spacious training locations in beautiful Skagit County Washington.

Lunch, Tee-Shirt, swag-bags, and It’s a Wrap Dinner included

To register contact angelyn@sck9sar.org

Jen Hirakawa

Jen Hirakawa

We are very excited to have Jennifer Hirakawa as our HRD instructor this year. We are thankful that she could find time in her busy schedule to come to the Pacific Northwest and bring her over 30 years of K9 training experience with her! Jen brings a unique perspective to our HRD training that we think you all will thoroughly appreciate.

Originally from Ewa Beach, Hawaii, Jen joined the U.S. Army in 1989. It was in the Army where she first started working K9 detection dogs. She served as a Military Police Officer and worked a Narcotic Detection Dog. In 2013 Jen retired from the Army at the rank of Master Sargent. While in the service she provided a variety of training to other K9 teams. During her service, she also became interested in and studied human behavior. After retiring, she brought her knowledge of K9 odor detection work and human behavior into civilian K9 training.

Jen has developed a strong understanding of techniques to reduce negative K9 behaviors while increasing positive behaviors to train dogs. She currently dedicates herself to K9 training at home and at seminars from her base at Kawa Farms – her training facility in Winterset Iowa. Jen’s wide training spectrum includes training service dogs, law enforcement K9s (narcotics, EDD and dual purpose), SAR HRD dogs, SAR live find – scent specific and air scent non-specific, and K9s in need of behavior solutions. With patience, she provides clear guidance, works to instill a sense of empowerment in K9 handlers and creates a productive and valuable training experience.

Jen has certified with NASAR, SARDUS, AIRES, and NNCDS. She is a member of the American Standards Board – Dog and Sensors committee, Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT – Premier Member and C.L.A.S.S. trainer/evaluator), a Trainer/Evaluator with the American Kennel Club, a supporting member of the International Association of Animal Behavioral Consultants (IAABC), an instructor/trainer with Military Working Dogs (MWDTSA), a Canine Search Specialist and Master Trainer with Iowa SAR K9s, an Examiner, Chief Examiner, Mentor for K9 and Canine Search Specialist III/II with the Alliance for Emergency Response Examiners, an instructor of K9 with National Network of Canine Detection Services (NNCDS), an instructor for Canine Search and Recovery (CSAR), a member of Called to Rescue, a member of Klass Kids Foundation, a member of the National Police Canine Association, a Trainer and Behavior Consultant with Puppy Jake Foundation, a member of the Pet Professional Guild (PPG), and has deployed with Nebraska Task Force 1 as a Canine Search Specialist, .

This year at our Boot Camp, not only will Jen give us 4 days of her personal training but she will include a morning session with SARTopo where she will demonstrate how she would plan an HRD wilderness search. She will then work with handlers in preparing for their own searches, which we will execute in a pleasant and manageable wilderness environment that afternoon.

Jen has developed countless training plans and objectives for working dog handlers for years. With that knowledge and expertise, she will provide our Boot Camp handlers with an amazing individualized one-on-one training experience.

Handler spots are $400. Observer spots are $100.

Angelyn Gates

Angelyn Gates started her K9 SAR Trailing ‘career’ in 2008 with CARDA. Since that time she has been a certified and deployable K9 trailing handler with 3 teams: CARDA, SWSD, and SCK9SAR. Angelyn is currently working her third trailing dog and is the Team Leader of the Skagit County K9 SAR unit (SCK9SAR). She is a member of the Washington State K9 SAR minimum standards committee, SARDUS, and NASAR. She is the Master Trainer for SCK9SAR and has been training other K9 SAR handlers for over 8 years both one-on-one and in seminars and clinics, including WASARCON, SAREX, SARCity, and the Northwest K9 SAR Boot Camp. Angelyn learned her trailing skills from watching other handlers, in various seminars and from Master trainers Jeff Schettler, Chris Weeks, and Jonni Joyce. Angelyn has been teaching a focused starts program for several years and continues to refine and expand strategies designed to produce a solid and reliable start for K9SAR teams. A reliable start also includes a clear indication of no trail. Angelyn enjoys developing nuances that make each team successful. She believes that training should always have reliability and reality in mind. Her goal at this Boot Camp is to assist handlers in identifying areas of discomfort in their start and to develop clear strategies and training tools to work starts and trails in a way that produces improvement and clearer decisions for the team. Angelyn strives to create an enjoyable and productive training environment for the handler and K9 while providing trails varying in location, age and length. The trails and exercises at this Boot Camp will vary significantly and handlers will have the opportunity to run trails of up to 1 mile and aged up to 24 hours. Angelyn believes that including challenging problems with clear and manageable solutions during the Boot Camp will give handlers the opportunity to learn, grow and gain confidence. After all, as trailing handlers, a degree of comfort and confidence is a nice thing to have!

Handler spots are $250. Observer spots are $50.

Angelyn Gates