Updated: Dec 9, 2020
That was the first thing that ran through my mind as Moses barked in the distance.
It was around midnight on a rainy November night. We were searching for a missing eldery man.
Moses found him.
This was a pivotal moment in how I viewed myself as a dog training professional.
As I reflect on this event, it was the moment when I realized every time I trained my dog....
Training a dog who finds live people or explosives dog is an incredible responsibility. How well you and your dog do the job can directly affect if someone lives or dies. How well other detection dogs perform also can affect whether or not someone goes to jail, or if a bad guy gets away. Whether or not a family gets closure when we bring home their loved one. Whether or not pests are detected early and exterminated so they don’t spread disease.
For service dog handlers it may be whether or not the night terrors continue.
To train dogs and their handlers/trainers to perform at this level, you need a training collective. A village. A tribe.
You can’t train in a vacuum.
This is a gratitude post.
Just like a real community, many people have played a role in the advancement of my skills and how I train a dog to do their job. This includes all of the students and trainers who take classes, come to open trainings, and challenge me to be a better instructor.
I have just certified a fifth dog to the FEMA standard. This is the fifth different breed and each one required me to train differently to achieve the same set of behaviors.
My understanding of behavior technology not only comes from reading, but was catapulted to the forefront of my curiosity while attending a Bailey/Farhoody Operant Conditioning Chicken Workshop. Fortunately for me, I was able to attend another workshop taught by Parvene Farhoody right before she went back to finish her PhD.
Parvene then spent three months with me at the farm. This was life altering. It altered how I view behavior. How I explain it to people. How I train. Not everyone one is lucky enough to have their mentor work with them for 12 hours a day. I am eternally grateful to Parvene for her patience and willingness to continue to share her knowledge. To this day, we talk and exchange great training ideas. Having a PhD in learning processes and behavior as a mentor and friend is humbling.
I am grateful to Janey Fuller with Cougar Creek K9 who spends hours a week discussing the fine points of training detection work, puppy and working dog development, odor/scent theory and in general hashing out new procedures.
I am grateful to Jennifer Hirakawa at Kawa Farms who is incredibly persistent and helps push the envelope to train like you fight. She’s also critical for getting our new program for Veterans up and going.
There are a whole slew of trainers over 20 years that have influenced how I train. All my former and current team mates have pushed me and supported me.
Thank you to every single one of you for being a part of this journey.
Robin Greubel Robin has been training working dogs since 2001 and educating working dog handlers and trainers all over the nation since 2008. While working in corporate America, she managed relationships and people using the same behavior principles she honed training dogs. Not only can these principles transform your ability to work at an elite level with your dog, but apply to every animal (humans too!) you work with. She is the CEO of the K9Sensus Foundation, a foundation that focuses on coaching the human end of the leash and is a certified professional coach.