As promised here’s the update on our certification weekend. It was a busy, fast moving event in which we were able to test 18 outside K-9 teams plus five from our team. I’m happy to report that all the members from our team passed their certifications in the discipline they tested for. Way to go team!
First, our team certifies with an outside association. In this case it’s the International Police Work Dog Association (IPWDA). This makes sure that it is a third party with set national standards states, “yes” the dog team is deployable. Notice, I said dog team. There are things that our dogs are tested in and things that the handler is tested in too. We also have the actual certification test that has be to completed. All tests have a time limit and the Master Trainer tends to ask questions while you are running your search pattern. This adds a little stress and makes sure that you have basic understanding of how your dog works, searching, and map reading.
As many of the longtime readers of this blog already know, Küster is not a fan of the long down test. The five-minute-long down takes place during the obedience elements of the certification test. After a very stressful long down two years ago that almost cost us our certification. Küster and I have been working on this piece of the test. My goal was to pass this and get it out of the way. Küster did it. Although, he did start doing a belly crawl towards me at around four minutes. Luckily, he stopped and I did not touch him. Our evaluator did however take notice and not let me return to him right away. We went another minute.
Another part of the certification that many might not know is that the evaluators go through our training logs. Now, they do not go through each and every page, but they do take their time and go through many of them. They look at maps. They look at the notes that were taken. They ask questions about any comments and goals that you were thinking and planning.
All in all, we had seven states represented. Not everyone passed. But, everyone finished with a better understanding of things to work on or things that we needed to keep doing because it’s working. We left each night hot and tired.