Teaching Seminars for Canine Handlers

CSST Workshops

Long before we started working with historical graves we have been presenting workshops to help train other canine handlers. Our workshops have expanded and become more diverse. We have added new topics and new instructors.

On September 15, 16 & 17, 2006 - ICF and CSST put on one of the many human remains detection (HRD) workshops we do every year. This workshop focused on human remains detection as a first responder to a disaster. As usual Dr. Lorna Pierce, our very own anthropologist, lectured on preservation of evidence as well as human bone identification.

New Lectures Included:

  • Important Legal Issues for HRD Handlers: Cherie D'Arcy, Attorney at Law, canine handler
  • Drive and the Working Dog: Jack Fields of K9 Development
  • First Responder to a Disaster: Lynne Engelbert, FEMA, DART, CSST, CA TF3, Canine Search Specialist


  • Imprinting / Scent Recognition (for beginning dogs)
  • Developing a Training Plan (for beginning teams)
  • Large scent source problems
  • Crime Scene
  • Building searching
  • Scent Theory - A New Perspective
  • Training for the Real World Disaster, realistic training for first Responders in the unique NASA collapsed training structure
  • Overlapping Scents of Equal Strength & Unequal Strength
  • How to build drive
  • Hazards and Dangers

January 12, 13 & 14, 2007 Seminar at NASA

Two search teams; High Country K-9 Montana and Wyoming K9 requested a HRD workshop. We asked if we could fill the remaining spaces with local handlers and they were happy to have other teams included.

Both workshops offered an opportunity for teams to work a large variety of scent sources from large fresh sources to many stages of decomposition in a variety of scenarios. Our most popular exercises were our collapsed structure building searches and our cold case crime scene.

Lectures and fieldwork will include:

  • Important legal issues for canine handlers
  • Collapsed building searching
  • Drive and the working dog
  • Hazards and dangers of building searches
  • Steps and procedures for Canine Decontamination
  • Preservation of evidence
  • Rates of human decomposition

We are also developing a new workshop that focuses on building drive, puppy socialization, learning about stress and canine body language, methods for teaching dogs and clicker training.

Our staff instructors:

Kris Black
Eva Cecil
Cherie D'Arcy
Lynne Engelbert
Jack Fields
Shirley Hammond
Joseph Kral
Pat Lamson
Adela Morris
Bev Peabody
Lorna Pierce
Amy Uecker

If you are interested in having a custom workshop or joining one of the scheduled workshops please contact us.

Human Remains Detection Workshops

3 days of lectures, fieldwork, scenario based problems
and some of the topics we cover in our beginning / intermediate classe

Instructors: Shirley Hammond, Adela Morris, Eva Cecil, Bev Peabody

Developing Human Remains Detection Search Dog Teams

To develop canine detection resources to assist law enforcement agencies in search operations and other legal investigations.

The teams should be able to:

  • Search Dog - to recognize, preserve, commit, and perform the trained alert behavior upon detecting human remains
  • Handler - to read the fine nuances of the search dog behavior
  • Handler - to understand some of the theories and practical knowledge, as well as recognize the capabilities and limitations of the team

Lectures Include:

  • Alert & Reward Systems
  • Choosing an Alert
  • Developing Training Plan
  • Record Keeping, Court, Resume, and Logbooks
  • Problem Solving
  • Clarification of Terminology
  • Handling Material Bio Hazards
  • Preservation of the Scent Item and Scene
  • Handler Technique
  • Environmental Conditions Affecting Decomposition
  • Specialty Dogs vs. Multi Tasked Dogs
  • Proofing off Distractions

Papers Include:

  • Instructors Bio
  • Objective
  • Steps for Training a Human Remains Detection Dog
  • Record Keeping
  • Deployment Equipment Check List
  • Resource Web pages

Field Exercises Include:

  • Imprinting / Scent Recognition
  • Scent Pools
  • Overlapping Scents of Equal Strength
  • Overlapping Scents of Unequal Strength
  • Disarticulated Skeletal Remains & Teeth
  • Building Searching vs. Outside Searching
  • Preservation
  • Buried Problems
  • Vehicle Search
  • Trace Evidence
Materials: Training Aids and Papers

The Teaching Seminar covered by Czech canine magazine PES PŘÍTEL ČLOVĚKA, 1/2004

Eva Cecil with her dog Nessie conducted several "Teaching Seminars" to Police and SAR canine teams in Czech Republic. The press attended one of the seminars, and interviewed Eva at the end of a two-day session.

A reporter called the article Na co nestačí lidé a technika (What People and Machinery Can't Accomplish). This article was published nationwide in the Czech canine magazine, Pes přítel člověka (Dog ~ a Man's Best Friend) in January 2004, issue number 49.

( Click here for full reprint )


Seminar in Four Corners, Colorado

Shirley Hammond in front of the class

Teaching Seminars to Police and SAR canine teams
in Prague, Czech Republic

Eva Cecil teaching canine handlers with her dog Nessie

Lectures and Teaching Seminars

Rhea demonstrating an alert on a bone at a presentation teaching
children how dogs can find historical graves