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

registration page maintains accurate count of available slots, but below we will try to note what is filling in class descriptions below

Pet Friendly Lodging
Super 8 & Days Inn - Both accessible via:Wyndham Hotels & Resorts 
Quality Inn: Quality Inn Alexander City 
Wind Creek State Park (RV) & 3  Pet Friendly Cabins: Wind Creek State Park 
There are a few Air BnB loations available near Alexander City, please make sure they are pet friendly before you book: Alexander City Airbnb

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


- 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 (only 1 spot left!)
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 (only 1 spot left!)
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.



Beginner Trailing
Avaliable slots: 5 students
Instructor: Janet Anagnos
Beginner trailing is for the young dog learning the opening steps of trailing. Motivation, independence and desire will be discussed and demonstrated. Leash handling, reading the dog and other handler skills will be discussed. This class is aimed at the first time handler with a younger dog, or an experienced handler with a young dog just starting out.

Intermediate Trailing
Avaliable slots: 8 students (class full!)
Instructors: Terry Camp & Terry Plumlee
Intermediate Trailing is focused on expanding the dog and handler skills with more difficult trails, interesting scent conditions and older trails. The handlers will get a lot of feedback as they expand into these more challenging conditions.

Advanced Trailing
Avaliable slots: 8 students (Class full!)
Instructors: Roy Lopez & Laurie
Advanced trailing is for the dog and handler willing to work almost anything from wilderness to urban in a variety of scenarios. Instructor feedback at the time will be more limited but debriefs will be done so that the handler can learn the pluses and minuses of their work. Dogs should have a well cemented background in trailing through many conditions and handlers should be able to read their dogs in most conditions.

Urban Trailing
Avaliable slots: 8 students (class full!)
Instructors: Allen Russell & Pam Nyberg
Urban trailing is much like advanced except that the bulk of the environment for this class will be in the urban environment. Instructor feedback at the time will be more limited but debriefs will be done so that the handler can learn the pluses and minuses of their work. Dogs should have a well cemented background in trailing through many conditions and handlers should be able to read their dogs in most conditions.


- 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 (class full!)
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 (only 1 spot left!)
Instructor: Cindy Corcoran
This class is for dogs who have a fair amount of land experience but have not yet transitioned to boat work, or have very little boat experience.

Advanced Water HRD
Available Slots: 6 Students (only 1 spot left!)
Instructor: Janet Geist
Advanced level is for dogs who are comfortable with boat work but need to improve their TFR when working from a boat or ability to be patient.

Instructor Bios

Allen Russell has been a law enforcement officer for over 24 years with the Blount County Sheriff's Office (TN). The majority of that of that time has been spent in the K9 Unit. Corporal Russell has worked 5 different K9s, three bloodhounds and two Malinois (criminal apprehension and narcotic detection). Corporal Russell has run hundreds of tracks searching for criminals and missing/lost persons, assisting Federal, State, and local agencies. Corporal Russell is the head trainer and K9 Unit supervisor for his department and conducts training for other agencies as well. Corporal Russell has been a guest instructor of many agencies throughout the United States, such as the New York State Police and the Arizona Department of Corrections, as well as many others. Corporal Russell also travels frequently to Europe conducting training for search and rescue K9 teams in Sweden and Switzerland. He also taught the Urban class two years ago at the CSAR seminar in Tennessee.

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.

Cindy is a 21 year veteran of the Prince George's County Police Department in Maryland, serving 7 years as a Sergeant/ Supervisor in the Canine Unit since 1990. There, she supervised the emergency operations, daily training, and frequent Public K9 Demonstrations of the 25-member Canine Division. During her career, she has been an Investigator, a Patrol Sergeant, a Police Supervisor Trainer, and an Instructor for the Field Training Officers Program, as well as an Instructor for the Officer Survival Skills Course at the Police Academy. Cindy is the Founder of Public Safety Disaster Response Team (P.S. DiRT), a volunteer K9 Search group comprised of Professional Police and Firefighters, handling only Federal, State,and Local Law Enforcement cases. P.S. DiRT has been deployed to many States on land and water to recover victims and evidence in challenging assignments. She has been involved in Search and Rescue since 1995, proudly celebrating 25 years as a member of CSAR since 1996, and one of the first CSAR Water Instructors. Cindy is also a member of Search and Rescue Dogs of the United States (SARDUS). Following her Retirement in 2001, Cindy remained active in K9 SAR and was called to action September 11, 2001 with her partner, K9 Gretel, to serve at the Pentagon at the request of the FBI Evidence Recovery Team: Operation Rising Phoenix.

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.

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.

Janet Anagnos
Janet lives outside of Chicago, IL and has actively been working with dogs the majority of her career, starting with AKC obedience and tracking competition with several dogs then dabbling in agility and IPO. She has been a member of Illinois Wisconsin Search Dogs for 25 years and is currently training and working her 6th German shepherd. All of her dogs have been cross-trained in HRD and tracking/trailing. She has certified all of her dogs in both disciplines with various certifying bodies. Her two current working dogs are certified with NAPWDA in trailing and HRD.Being part of ILLWIS has given her the opportunity to be active in hundreds of searches throughout her SAR career. Her dogs have been successful in HRD and trailing finds.Janet has been an active member with CSAR since the beginning. She is active on the board and has taught land cadaver classes at several past seminars. She is always learning and loves teaching from her experience.

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.

Laurie Strite has been a member of KlaasKIDS Search and Rescue team for 15 years. She has worked five K9's in three different disciplines. She currently works K9 Quest (Australian Shepherd) and K9 Angel (Border Collie/Belgian Shepherd) in Human Remains Detection and K9 Junior (Bloodhound) and
K9 Skye (Labrador Retriever) in trailing. K9 Nova (German Shepherd) is retired from area search. When not working her own K9's and attending seminars, Laurie loves instructing where she can share her experiences, pass along knowledge learned and continue to learn from students. Besides the K9 field, Laurie works as an Incident Commander, Ops Chief or Plans Chief for SAR missions. Laurie was a developer of a search management collaborative computing environment that allows multiple search planners to work together on large missing person cases where Incident Command is sending hundreds of emergent volunteers into the field. Laurie retired from IBM where she worked as a project manager. She has a Master's Degree in Telecommunications and spent most of her career in the field of computer networking.

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.

Pam Nyberg has been active in volunteer Search and Rescue for 18 years. She was a founding member of Alpha Team K9 SAR - established in 2004.
Pam started her journey in SAR as a Field Support member. 2 years later she started the joy of becoming an operational K9 handler. Over the past 16 years Pam has had 5 K9 partners. 2 operational trailing K9's and 2 operational HRD K9's. The 5th K9 is 'in training' for HRD. All are Labrador retrievers – her favorite breed.
Pam embraces the phrase "train the dog in front of you" – incorporating a variety of training methods that will work best for each particular dog.
Living in the metro Atlanta area has provided numerous opportunities for interesting and challenging deployments in both disciplines. In addition, Pam has participated in numerous K9 seminars throughout the country. She has also instructed trailing classes at some of these seminars.

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.

Roy Lopez started his career in the U.S. Navy in 1987. He completed SEAL training in 1989 and was deployed as a Special Warfare Operator during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.After the Navy, he joined the Border Patrol in 1997 and became a founding member of both the U.S. Border Patrol's Search, Trauma and Rescue Team (BORSTAR) as well as the BORSTAR K9 Program. Mr. Lopez became a SAR canine handler in 2001 and graduated the Border Patrol's SAR Canine Instructor School a couple years later. As the agency's first certified trailing canine handler, he was able to record nearly 2,000 people finds over his extensive career. Roy is a Master Trainer of Cadaver Detection and Tracking and Trailing Teams for the North American Police Work Dog Association (NAPWDA). In this role, he has had the opportunity to train and certify volunteers and law enforcement teams from around the country. Roy retired from the Border Patrol in December 2019 and immediately founded Core Canine Concepts, LLC. Through this new venture he desires to impart his vast experience and knowledge to enhance the skills and abilities of K9 Teams throughout the world.

Terry Camp is a NASAR ST I, a FUNSAR Instructor & Lead Evaluator for the ST II & III, a K9 Lead Evaluator for NASAR in Tracking/Trailing, HRD Land, Area Search & Article Search. She has been involved in working K9's for over 15 yrs. and has certified them in Trailing I, II, and III, HRD Land III, Area Search III and has also with NAPWDA in Tracking /Trailing. Terry was a SAR member and Lead K9 Trainer for the Cherokee County Fire and Emergency Services in Canton GA until she retired. She and her husband moved to TN and is currently an independent K9 handler serving her state and surrounding counties. She has been a volunteer firefighter/EMT and has worked several breeds. She currently works a GSD & Bloodhound in Tracking/Trailing, a Belgian Tervuren&Pitmix in HRD.

Terry Plumlee is a member of the Arkansas Alliance of Bloodhound Search Specialist (AABSS) as a canine handler. Terry retired from his local fire department after 30+ years of service as assistant chief. During this time, he assisted on several local searches and realized a critical need in his area of rural Arkansas for trained man-trailing search dogs. He is a former member of the Carroll County Special Operations Rescue Team and a current member of the Tri-County search and rescue team. Terry currently works his six year old bloodhound, Copper, and has responded to multiple searches throughout Arkansas, southern Missouri, and eastern Oklahoma. He recently acquired his next K9 SAR partner, a bloodhound puppy named Penny, in November 2020 and is currently training her in trailing. Terry has attended several CSAR seminars in years past, along with other seminars in Texas and Arkansas and Missouri. He also is an assistant instructor for the annual national training weekend hosted by AABSS in Arkansas each year. This year was the 21st Annual Search Dog Training Weekend. Terry has done several demonstrations for youth groups like 4H, Civil Air Patrol, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, church groups and local schools. Besides his bloodhounds, he shares his life with his wife, Louetta, who is an HRD K9 handler, on their cattle farm in Northwest Arkansas