Hello supporters. I hope you and yours are healthy and relatively sane as we continue to navigate all of the craziness of covid and politics.
I want to explain “Spike’s School” to spread the word and get the ball rolling in an organic fashion.
The idea behind Spike’s School came to us after we assessed our previous five years of Working K9 advocacy. We found that although we can provide equipment and medical care cost assistance, we weren’t reaching enough of the working K9 population. The most significant factor in caring for an active/retired K9 is the human making decisions about how the Dog lives and works. We believe that helping K9 handlers better understand their K9 and care for them is probably more important than the gear we provide and could most likely diminish medical care cost assistance.
At this point, we’ve held two classes. One, a “clean up shot” where we brought in a professional civilian training team to get a new set of eyes on a Police K9 Unit’s Dogs and help them find solutions to lingering issues, and the second was a K9 EMT course. We also provided the proper LEO first aid kit that they learned to use in the class through our donor’s generosity.
As I have become more familiar with the Law Enforcement community, I can see how over-tasked and under-resourced they are.
Spike’s School’s vision is for the word to get out via social media or word of mouth to let others know what we offer. The classes we intend to provide are K9 EMT/care courses, K9 Obedience and tune-up (another set of eyes), Professional Decoying, Search and Rescue solutions, tracking solutions, and at a later date, K9 and Tactical Team Integration.
I am keen to work with trainers I am familiar with, specifically those with an eye to modern K9 training where compulsion is not the lead modality. I am also keen on honesty between the trainers we hire and the recipients of their experience. To be clear, based on my experience with the K9 world, some trainers and vendors are not honest about the K9’s they are helping with because they need to make $. The same is true of trainers who see a human who is not a good fit for K9. We have all seen how these situations occur and work themselves out in ugly ways. K9’s who are not genetically wired for the worst-case scenario in police work or search and rescue can endanger the lives of their team. The same is true for the humans tasked with piloting a K9 under challenging situations.
The bottom line is, our donors are paying for the training. We don’t need the students in Spike’s School to go away with a warm and unrealistic feeling about their capabilities. We need them to go out with an experience in the reality of their abilities. We have all seen or (in my case) been people who write checks with their words that they can’t cash with their actions on the day when things go sideways.
So, if you are a handler and you feel like you need training, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know your specific need(s). Once your request is approved, we will ask you for assistance in finding a venue to host the training and finding other qualified teams to participate. Once we publicize the course, it will be open to any handler that meets the requirements. We will vet every applicant to ensure that our donors’ investment in our mission is respected correctly.
Know that we are interested in actual ability. We will not sugar-coat the truth. I know from personal experience that the way you train is the way you will fight and that suitable training should put pressure on you so that when the time comes, you will have confidence as you approach a life or death situation. The training I went through in the military special operations world was difficult, and at times it sucked, but it did prepare my crew and me for the harsh realities of our mission-set.
Spike’s School aims to do the same for you and your K9 partner.