Training and Testing

Each SCK9SAR Dog Team participates in consistent and specifically designed training. Teams are regularly tested throughout the training process to monitor the dog’s temperament and the team’s proficiency. Both the dog and handler must complete a series of tasks designed to demonstrate the skills needed to be a Certified Dog Team ready to be deployed on an actual search. Once both dog and handler have completed all the prerequisites they may apply to take their certification test. Each certification test is designed to challenge the dog and handler with a real-life scenario. Both dog and handler must complete the certification test by locating their subject and notifying command base of their location with no assistance whatsoever. Even after becoming a certified K9 team, each team must retest regularly and train consistently with the unit in order to retain their certification.

Each SCK9SAR Technical Support (“Tech Support”) member-in-training participates in consistent training with the unit designed to teach skills needed to be a certified Tech Support member. Tech Support members must complete a series of tasks in order to demonstrate the ability to perform effectively with a Dog Team when deployed. Once completing the preliminary testing, Tech Support trainees are able to take a certification test in which they are deployed on a mock search with a certified Dog Team where they perform all the skills need when on an actual search. Once certified they accompany dog teams deployed on a search and provided necessary support for the team.

Skagit County K9 SAR Training Opportunities

Northwest K9 SAR Boot Camp:

Northwest K9 SAR Boot Camp is the training branch of Skagit County K9 SAR. Through our Boot Camp we offer training opportunities for K9 SAR teams from around the country and Canada. Each year we hold our annual Boot Camp when nationally known K9 SAR trainers come and enjoy our mild summer weather while providing outstanding training opportunities to K9 teams. We also offer Invitationals to specific K9 teams where we provide pin-point training on specific issues. And lastly, we offer private training opportunities for K9 teams of all levels to come spend time working with us on individual needs with the goal of advancing the team through a short burst of training designed just for that team.

Northwest K9 SAR Boot Camp

2022 Spring Trailing Invitational:

Our Spring Trailing Invitational is set!!! We will have 3 full days of trailing training, in our amazing training locations, from May 20-22, starting with a day of wilderness, then suburban, and finishing with urban. We will have long trails up to 1 mile and 24-hour trails available for those who want them. The cost is $150. Training will be provided by Angelyn Gates, SCK9SAR Team Leader. Trails and exercises will be designed per team so that each handler gets what they need/want. We will work hard and make progress. You will receive a Certificate. There is a limit of 6 teams. Act now if you wish to be included. Fill out the form below and pay they fee via our donation page (PayPal) or mail a check. Fun for all in the awesome PNW.

Angelyn Gates started in K9 SAR in 2008 with CARDA (California Rescue Dog Association). Since that time, she has been a deployable K9 handler with 3 teams (CARDA, SWSD, and SCK9SAR) and certified in Trailing, HRD and water. Angelyn has taught at WASARCON, SAREX, SARCity, and the Northwest K9 SAR Boot Camp. She has trained many trailing handlers at other seminars and one-on-one over the last 6 years. Angelyn learned her trailing skills from seasoned CARDA handlers, at various seminars and from Master trainers Jeff Schettler, Chris Weeks, and Jonni Joyce. Angelyn believes that while foundational trailing skills are generally consistent among instructors, the manner in which they are taught vary and the way they are utilized by each individual team is unique. Time must be spent by each team exploring ways to improve their foundational skills and discovering the nuances that will make the team successful. Angelyn believes that training should always have reliability and reality in mind. And most importantly, be fun for you and your dog.

    2022 Private Training:

    We are able to train in keeping with Washington State Covid protocols. If you would like to come spend time training with us please send an email to