NASDA is hosting the 2021 Canine Search & Recovery Seminar

Dates Oct 3-8, 2021
Location: Camp ASCCA, Alexander City, AL
Area, Trailing, HRD and Water HRD

Pet Friendly Lodging
In Alexander City: Super 8, American Inn, Days Inn, Quality Inn
Wind Creek State Park (RV)
Air BnB

we will continue to add information; page last updated 2020-11-28


[click here to download PDF of classes]
[Scoll down for instructor bios, or click the instructor name to go direct.]

- Area -

Beginner Area
Avaliable slots: 5 students
Instructor: Mel Ray
Beginner area should be for the dog and handler working on learning to find and expanding their search skills a little bit. The team may be in the beginner stages of learning their trained final respond/alert/refind. This class would typically be for young dogs or new teams that have not built all of their search skills. This class will include some discussion of search strategy, topography and scent conditions.

Intermediate Area with Trained Final Response / Alert Focus
Avaliable slots: 6 students
Instructor: Anan Chiang
This class is new for CSAR and is for team who have built searching and trained final response/alert/refind behaviors but don't have the reliability they might want. Teams will be challenged with some unique search scenarios, but additional focus and iterations and methods to strengthen the TFR/alert/refind will be a major focus in this class.

Intermediate Area with Team Skills Focus
Avaliable slots: 8 students
Instructors: Mary Margaret Eberle and Sheri Schwartz
This class is for the intermediate team that wants to challenge themselves to new scenarios and subjects but in a more controlled environment and with more on-going feedback than the advanced class. Teams should be well rounded and have a fairly reliable TFR/alert/refind but may want assistance with reading their dog, understanding scent conditions, and pushing their capabilities.

Advanced Area
Avaliable slots: 8 students
Instructors: Natalie Castle and Chris Snipes
This class is for teams wanting to be challenged with unique and fun scenarios and subjects. Teams should be well versed in search/find/TFR/alert/refind as appropriate and be willing to work independently with debriefs from the instructors. Handlers should be able to work existing scent conditions and all aspects of team's skills should be reliable.

- HRD -

Beginner HRD
Available Slots: 5 students
Instructor: Jenn Hirakawa
Beginner HRD is for the dog and handler learning odor, focusing on odor, and building the Trained Final Response.  This class will help all stages of beginner dogs to recognize and commit to odor and will take the handler through steps to help the dog do both.  It will also be for the dog still building both quickness and duration of the Trained Final Response.

Intermediate HRD with TFR/Alert Focus
Available Slots: 6 students
Instructor: Brianna Acevedo
This class is for those whose dogs have progressed beyond beginner but have not yet developed a reliable trained final response in a variety of environments.  Searches will be conducted, but focus overall will be on methods and ways to motivate your dog towards their TFR in many conditions.  Cueing too much?  Dog not quite got the idea when the environment is a little different?  Then this class is for you.

Intermediate HRD with Team Skills Focus
Available Slots: 8 students
Instructors: Darcy Harbaugh & Robin Houston
This class is for the intermediate handler who is comfortable pushing their dog into new situations, has a reliable TFR but wants additional guidance and experience with reading their dog in a variety of situations, understanding scent conditions to help the dog be successful, and challenge both of you without putting too much stress on either handler or dog.   A variety of sources small to large will be introduced in a more controlled environment, but searches to teach handlers to work with their dogs will also be conducted.

Advanced HRD
Available Slots: 8 Students
Instructors: Lisa Higgins & Brad Dennis
This class is for dog handlers who have a consistent dog and want to expand their skills or push themselves into more real world scenarios.  Minimal at-the-moment feedback will be provided but debriefs of search situations will be done so that handlers can learn and feel confident about their work.  Both dog and handlers should be comfortable with blind/blank/double blind and a variety of sources types, sizes and situations.




Beginner Water HRD
Available Slots: 6 Students
Instructor: Christi Raak

Advanced Water HRD
Available Slots: 6 Students
Instructor: Janet Geist

Instructor Bios

Anan taught for us in TN and her reviews all said she was excellent at helping build Trained Final Responses/Alerts and this year we wanted to create a class with that in mind, as so many people struggle with getting this behavior consistent. This intermediate class will also work searches, but will focus more time on methods and techniques to get a solid, reliable TFR for Area work.

Brad Dennis started his SAR career with Escambia County in Florida and has been the main face of the Klaas Kids Foundation since then. He has worked all aspects of SAR in a variety of forms and continues to be active in searches across the country.

Brianna Acevedo graduated from Texas A&KM with a BS in Animal Science. She has a varied background from obedience to service dogs, therapy dogs, narcotic and bomb detection dogs, patrol dogs and SAR dogs in multiple disciplines. She is an active handler with TEXSAR and has assisted at previous FACTS training events. She is well versed in a variety of methods and can apply them to many aspects of SAR.

Chris Snipes is a member of NASDA but has also been on teams in California and Texas so he has a well rounded background in Area. He likes working with handlers to help them think about what they are doing and how it impacts their dog.

Christi was a long standing member of MOSAR, working her GSD in iive and HRD. She is currently training/working another GSD, Jude, and Malinoi, Jynx, in HRD. She has attended a variety of seminars over the years, has learned more about cognition in dogs, has spent a year training non-SAR disciplines at a private kennel and is an HRD trainer for AMPWDA.

Darcy Harbaugh is a long standing member of NASDA and has certified and fielded multiple dogs in both Area and HRD through the years. She enjoys working with dogs and teams to improve skills and put real training and situations together.

Janet is a long standing member of NASDA and is on her fourth HRD dog. She has a long, successful career across all of the dogs on water in particular. She is currently working two Duck Tolling Retrievers, her operational HRD only dog Tusket and her live/HRD in training dog Barrington.

Jenn Hirakawa is owner/handler/trainer at Kawa Farms in Iowa. She has a background from military dog training to obedience and SAR. She has morphed her system to more science based training and enjoys training the dog in front of her.

Lisa Higgins has been training dogs most of her life and is well know from her time as a handler with LASAR. She does HRD work for both her team as well as the FBI and is a kind and patient instructor.

Mary Margaret is a long time handler on our team and has taught Area for CSAR several times. We've matched her with Sherri Schwartz from Georgia's ATSAR team, also a long time and successful area handler. They will be challenging their intermediate class in putting all the pieces together but giving feedback when needed to maintain confidence for both handler and dog.

Mel Rey is Natalie's daughter and has grown up assisting and working all aspects of SAR K9's. She knows how to be a subject to get your dog motivated and is well versed in all areas of Area work. We are very excited to have her joining us and putting those skills to work.

Natalie has a long career in Area, starting with SARDOC in Colorado and now as a member of CARDA. She is well versed and willing to set up some fun scenarios to challenge the advanced class.

Robin Houston is a long standing member of MOSAR and has also done Area, HRD and Trailing. She is well versed in a variety of breeds and real life scenarios.