Training and Lessons


My training services are designed towards puppy buyers; that is, handlers who want to purchase a puppy out of my breeding and have some training done before taking delivery.  However, I do offer the same training services to “outside” dogs and handlers, depending upon qualifications.

All training programs include a comprehensive assessment and evaluation, and use of my proprietary progression plans, designed to give each dog and handler an organized and thought-out training plan.  With this approach, the handler and I can see exactly how much progress the dog has made while in the program (and beyond, if the handler continues using the progression plan approach). I use this method with my own dogs and my own successes have skyrocketed; I can no longer imagine approaching dog training without using progression plans and the documentation that goes along with them. Progression plans and documentation allow a trainer to not only assess the dog’s abilities but to pinpoint exactly the point in the training when a problem or setback arose, which eliminates the guesswork involved in trying to “fix” training issues.

Training programs include the following disciplines and areas of focus:


Every single dog in my kennel learns detection; in part because it’s just fun for them, but also because it lays such an excellent foundation for other training such as tracking and SAR. Working detection is partially a fitness exercise as well as a training one! I teach either a passive (sit/stand/lie down and stare) or active (bark) indication depending on handler preference. My methods are applicable to any type of detection work including narcotics, accelerants, explosives, human remains, bedbugs, you name it. I customize the program for your goals; from teaching the indication to producing a dog ready for validation. I also hold regular detection indication training workshops; contact me for more information.

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The Obedience program was developed with professional handling, dog sports, and competition in mind. From foundations to finishes, I can polish your dog’s performance and bring it to the appropriate standard for your goals. Whether you are a working dog handler, obedience competitor, conformation dog owner/handler, or other dog sport competitor, I can help you with obedience challenges or put a foundation on a prospect. I do not do “pet” style obedience training (with a few exceptions for specially qualified or motivated clients).



Similar to tracking, there are many styles of SAR with many different requirements. Occasionally I have fully trained USAR FSA and CT-ready dogs for sale (see “Available Dogs.”)  As a validated wilderness, urban, tracking, avalanche, and USAR handler with 25 years in the field, I can also help with training problems that are common in dogs and handlers trying to validate in SAR, such as:

  • Weak or unreliable indication
  • HRD indication and searching
  • Rubble pile acclimation
  • Poor obedience
  • Ranging problems (ranging too far, not ranging enough)
  • Searching independently
  • Agility (USAR style) requirements
  • Tracking difficulties
  • Foundations (how to get started)
  • Temperament evaluation and training plan development


Tracking has such a bad reputation for being boring, tedious, difficult. I could not disagree more! Tracking is my obsession, my raison d’etre. I have devoted five years of nearly full time training and exploration of tracking with many different dogs. I’ve busted myths, tried every method known, done experiments to verify or debunk commonly held tracking beliefs. I’ve brought dogs to validation level and then started over from the beginning again. I’ve competed in different venues with different requirements and trained validated SAR tracking dogs. Refusing to accept that tracking problems “just are,” I’ve learned how to actually teach a dog “real” tracking and how to “fix” tracking issues.

Many people become frustrated with tracking because they have either learned a tedious method, or they feel the dog “should just know how to do it” (I hear that last one a lot). However, tracking is just like any other activity with a dog – it is a natural behavior that, because of the requirements of working with a human handler, becomes a team endeavor that requires cooperation from both dog and human. Yes, there are ways to teach tracking that aren’t boring! I offer tracking lessons for humans and tracking training for eligible dogs – sport tracking, IGP tracking, SAR tracking, apprehension-style tracking, wildlife/conservation tracking – endless choices. Tracking training can range from indication only training to the development of a fully operational tracking dog or title-ready sport tracking dog.



If you are looking for more than one of the above, or have other needs, please contact me to discuss options!

Vetruv training