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Teaching Focused Scenting to the Disaster Search Canine

“Teaching Focused Scenting” is a three-day course to be presented by FEMA Instructor, Mentor, Evaluator, and Canine Search Specialist Elizabeth Kreitler and FEMA Canine Search Specialist Konnie Hein at the Connecticut Fire Academy on July 18th through July 20th, 2008. 

This course introduces a method of disaster search canine training developed by Kreitler and Hein based on the training method of nationally known detection canine trainer Randy Hare of Alpha K9.  The fundamentals of this method are centered on positive reinforcement through operant conditioning (using “the game” as motivation and reward) through which the detection canine learns to distrust its eyes and ears and focus solely on scent.  No corrections are used in this method and the canine is allowed to teach itself what actions bring reward.  Canines exposed to this method become obedient to the source of the target odor (in this case live human scent) while ignoring distractions and incidental movements of the handler.  Focused, energetic, single-minded, and enthusiastic are all trademark characteristics of canines taught using this method.  These are essential attributes of a reliable disaster search canine.  Canines started in other training methods also can be easily re-trained in this method to improve focus while searching. 

The three-day course includes one day of classroom instruction and two days of active training.  This course is open to FEMA and SUSAR canine search specialists only and is appropriate for beginning through certified canines.  FEMA and SUSAR handlers also can register without their canines and attend at a reduced cost. 

Course Number: 09068

Connecticut Fire Academy application for seminar.

Cost for handler with canine (limit 15) = $200

Cost for observers without canines (limit 10) = $75

Class fees include lunch each day.

Lodging information:

Candlewood Suites

149 Ella Grasso Tpke
Windsor Locks, CT 06096
(860) 623-2000

Airport Information:

Bradley International Airport (BDL)

Contact for additional information:

Konnie Hein



Elizabeth Kreitler