Good Advice, Bad Advice and Where Do You Get It?

Show Notes

Do you have people you rely on for advice? Do you have an open mind when it comes to improving your hounds and hunting experience? Jeff Barrett is one of those people Heath goes to for advice. Jeff is co-owner of Handler, instruction, training seminar better known as (HITS). One of the largest K9 training affiliates in the LE and Military world. Jeff is retired from Lakeland, FL after 33 years of service, 31 being a K9 handler and trainer. Heath and Jeff hit on topics such as. 

  • Mentorship
  • Egos
  • Circles of influence
  • Dog training mistakes
  • Advice from someone who sees 1000s of dogs a year  

    If you are serious about becoming better Jeff will point you in the right direction. This is a part of the Journey to becoming better!

Show Transcript

[00:00:00] The Houseman XP podcast Network is taking you on the journey. Your host, master trainer, Heath Hyatt, will combine his decades of experience as a Haman and as a professional trainer that will light the path forward and make our PACS lighter on this lifelong journey to become better hunters and hounds men.

There are no shortcuts, so lace up those boots and grab a dog leash. The journey begins. Now, I've been a member and supporter of Go Wild for over a year now, man, how time flies? Their social media platform is for hunters by hunters. And if you followed me for any length of time, you know that I'm in the woods or on the water if I'm not working.

And yes, some ask Do you work? And unfortunately I do. It is a place that I post all of my trophies no matter how big or small [00:01:00] mine. Mostly small, I get tips, tricks, tactics, and advice from people who eat, breathe, and sleep the outdoors. I log all of my outdoor adventures, including the time spent listening to the best podcast in the land, the journey hosted by no other than yours, truly.

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So let's get your journey started today here on Go Wild.

We're gonna go back a little bit.[00:02:00] And it's been 10 years. I didn't realize that until we were sitting here doing little chit-chatting, but, in the dog world, and I don't care what world it's in, we're in the hound world, I've also been blessed to be a part of the law enforcement side of it and do a lot of training and teaching on that end.

But I've always said this, and you've heard me say it on this podcast, that without coaches and mentors, I would not be where I'm at today, and I would not have the, some of the knowledge that I've been so fortunate to, to take from others because there's nothing that I talk about in this podcast. It's mine.

It's always, it's been learned from somebody else. Somebody else done it 200 years ago and we're still implementing those tactics or training tips. And yes, we have evolved. We do a lot of things different than we did, back when I started 19 years ago. But mentorship is [00:03:00] huge. And for you, young guys that are younger guys that are getting into the, to the dog world hounds more specifically, if you can get somebody that'll take you under their wing, it's gonna do you invaluable justice because they're gonna save you a lot of headaches time that you could be enjoying yourself instead of being frustrated.

So today I've got one of my good friends, I considered him a good friend and a mentor a with us, and I've got Jeff Barron on. Jeff lives in Lakeland, Florida now. But Jeff and I both have he's got ties back to Virginia. We'll go through that in a minute. And Jeff is one of the co-owners of Hits, and you've heard me talk about hits several times on here because I pull a lot of my knowledge from the variety of instructors they have at this seminar.

And it is by far the best seminar canine wise that I've ever been [00:04:00] to. Last year we were in Orlando, Jeff, how many people were there? 1600? Yeah, we had 1600 plus. Now that's 1200 attendees. That's the police officers and their supervisors and trainers that attended with us. And then we had about 400 vendors and instructors and admin people.

Yeah. Yeah. So what an amazing number it is. And it keep again before we get too far into this, like from the time that I started going. In 2013 was my first I'll just walk you down the path so we, we don't have to go back and redo it. In 2013, I went to St. Louis, Missouri. And just to give you guys a little bit me I actually paid my way to go to the seminar.

My sister lives in St. Louis, so I was able to go out and stay with her, and then I paid for my entry to the seminar [00:05:00] and i's how much I wanted to learn. I wanted to know, I wanted to get information and that was the best way to do it. Now since then, my department has been a hundred percent taking care of the financial part of it, but that was the start of it, 2013, August, 2013, to be exact.

So I go up to the registration counter. And guy sitting there, we start ha having a conversation. He hands me, he asked me my name. I tell him, he hands me my badge and my badge says, Christiansburg, Virginia. And he goes, oh. He goes, you live in Christiansburg? And I said, yeah. And he said he said, I'm from Virginia.

And we got into this conversation and Jeff's from Ville and a lot of you bear hunters listening. Y'all know where that's at. That's, that's in some of the heart of the bear country around here. But Jeff's originally from Tasl. And that was our connection. We started having conversations and talking about Virginia and it grew from one thing to another.

[00:06:00] And Jeff comes up when he comes up to see's mom. We've had, I've had him over a couple times. He's actually came, this is so important. He's actually came and stayed with me and went to our canine training. I mean that he come to our canine training and helped. Me learn and helped our guys improve.

And then as that relationship built, we actually had his group up doing and I don't remember what year it was Jeff, but y'all come up and done a detection class, three day detection class. So I can't remember what year that was. It wasn't too many years after 2013. I don't think. I wanna say 15 is what I wanna say.

It was right. Yeah. You guys come up and we had a huge blast dogs from all over the east coast and y'all done a three day detection seminar. And I'm gonna roll this too before I get let Jeff tell about himself. So through Jeff, through my relationship with Jeff and we have ties because, he's from Virginia.

I'm from Virginia. I have got to know a lot of the guys [00:07:00] in the hits foundation. I guess that's the way you can say it. So there's a couple guys in there. So Andy Erman. He does the detection stuff down in Florida, and then you have Ted DOLs, who's an attorney down in Florida. And cause of my relationship with Jeff, I'm able to tap into those guys.

I can't tell you the times that I've sent Ted email on case law and stuff and he, he gets right back with me and answers it to the best of his ability or gives me really good guidance or advice. Andy, the same way I've sent him emails on some detection problems that I was having. And then on a case that come outta Idaho here just a while back and Andy gets right back with me, that circle of influence it continues to grow.

And as it grows, you gain more knowledge and you get better. And I can't be thankful enough that, air paths crossed because a lot of what I know now has come from you, Jeff, or [00:08:00] the seminars that I've been to over the years, and I've been to several of them over the years. I had, let's, so to 10 years.

I've been to at least six, maybe seven of them I missed. I missed the one in Chicago. You had one out, I guess you had one in Arizona a couple years ago, or San Francisco, where was that? Yeah, we had one in San Francisco and then we had one in Phoenix as well. Yep. Phoenix, Scottsdale. They're neighbors yep, we're back there.

Yep. So that's the three that I've missed. So out of 10 years, I've missed three years. And that's because they're on the West Coast and, I don't really feel good about asking my department to pay for me up. 1500 plane ticket out there back. But so that's, that, that's how our paths crossed the mentorship.

And I'm sure as we go through talking, we're going talk about that a lot because Jeff has fielded phone calls from me after phone calls from me. And not only me, several other guys in our group have called and asked questions and he, he has [00:09:00] a, he has such a diverse group of in his circle that I can get about any answer from any discipline that I need.

So I felt like that it was important for me to go over that before we get into everything else. So Jeff, just tell everybody a little bit about you. Your years of service, your years as training dogs. You guys travel all over the country training dogs, and that's why. I wanted to have you on cause we're gonna talk about some of that.

Yeah, we sure do. Life is so funny when you get to look back on your own life and you think had they asked me someone where I'd be in 20 or 30 years as a career police officer, what would that look like? I wouldn't have ever had a clue. And I was probably 20 when I first [00:10:00] went to Lakeland. And of course I was born in Richlands, which is in Taswell County.

And then my mother and father moved us to Florida when I was seven, but I went back every year and spent the summers with family there. It's definitely home to me and I still get back there as much as I can. But when we moved to Florida I. I got outta high school, went to work for a prison, and saw their bloodhounds there.

And I thought that was just the neatest thing. I had been raised with hog dogs, catching hog dogs, hogs with dogs, and so that was my first experiences. My grandfather was a foxhound guy. So that was my early experiences with dogs. As I learned more about that whole process, I think it was just a great way to get together with friends, go out for the night and enjoy selves on the mountains, listen to the dogs run.

They could tell which dog it was that was theirs according to them, but that was my first experiences with [00:11:00] dogs. And when I went to the prison, I saw the bloodhound thought, man, that's the coolest job. I like that. But I never got there. I always wanted to be a cop, but I didn't really give too much interest to the.

The policing side of it when I saw my first police dog and I thought, that's the job I want. I'd rather be out there chasing bad guys, trying to catch 'em with a dog than to do anything else in my life. And it was just a passion that I had

about, what it took. I saw that finished product in the backseat of that police car, and I thought, this is where I want to be. This is what I want to do. And I think I was a cop for 20 months when I got my first one. And my police department was kind enough to leave me in that position for 31 of my 33 years that I worked there.

And that was such a blessing to me. And I'm not one of those guys that just sits in the position [00:12:00] and rides it out as a way to retire and not ever advance myself. So I was, I. Always going to classes. And you talked about paying your own way. I paid my way to so many different classes over the years.

I remember early two thousands, Bob Eden. Great mentor. One of the guys at had this traveling seminar where they would go and they'd train people and he'd come to Florida about. Three or four years in a row. And it was always a different topic. And I took every single class that he had to the point where he gave me my last check back.

Cause I had taken so many of his classes. He's I've paid enough into his services that he wanted to gimme a class. And I had learned so much through that stuff. But I had this passion to want to give back to people and educate them on what little bit I knew. But I'm a [00:13:00] student of this game to this day.

And not necessarily exclusively to the law enforcement side of it, but to every other aspect of sporting dogs, just training dogs. It's just a passion that you have when you get into different fields. It really opens your eyes to. What these dogs can do. And I could live 10 lifetimes and still be learning from the different types of training that we do.

Whether it be hounds, whether it be bird dogs, whatever the case is. Just the fact that we can manipulate the genetics on it and then use that to exploit the training and the techniques to get 'em to do what we want 'em to do. It's just amazing to me. And it never gets old. But yeah, I spent 30, one of my 30 year, 33 years with a dog in the backseat and a leash in my hand.

And over the years my, [00:14:00] the first thing that I said today was you never would ever guess where you'd end up. After 20 or 30 years of doing this stuff. But I was blessed enough to meet some good people that wanted to do some business with me. And we entered business together and started training dogs and we traveled to country doing it.

And our first little gig was through M C T F T, which was the multi-jurisdictional counter drug task force. And Frank Campbell hired us through the college. We were paid through the college and it was two tuition free training for police dog counters to go to it. And our class stayed booked up.

It probably cost them more money to teach our class cuz it was the hands-on stuff and not lecture type stuff. But that's where we pretty much met Frank Campbell. Andy Wyman. Started a little business called Canine Development Group, and Andy and I are still in that company. [00:15:00] And we have software for the record keeping side of it.

And then we also met Jeff Meyer at our first Little Hits conference. And Andy had been to a conference for narcotics guys and he understood how that was laid out and wanted to do the same for police dogs, and that had never been done before. So if you think about the history of how we've always trained our dogs, It was always a hands-on seminar where everybody got together and we worked dogs.

And that's still true today and that's a very valuable piece of it. But when we introduced hits, it was all lecture. And so that's five breakout classes, running eight hours a day for three days and it become wildly popular. And I sat back one day and I was talking to Andy and he said, did you ever think about the [00:16:00] impact that we had on this industry being law enforcement canine and the way training is delivered?

And I thought I had not until you said something. And when you think about that, when you're looking at. Given this type of training, now we're up to a thousand, 1200 people annually at one conference under one house with all these people who know so much, what an impact that has made on the education of handlers.

And my first dog was outta somebody's backyard in 1988. And if we wanted new dogs, we'd put an ad in the paper and say the police department needed a new dog. If anybody was interested in getting rid of a German Shepherd, we'd go look at it now. That's how far back we were. We didn't have the internet, we didn't have cell phones, so we'd [00:17:00] used the newspaper to advertise for us and word of mouth.

The guy that put us into. Canine back in the day, I always considered him the godfather of canine, especially in the county where I worked cuz he worked the first police dog there. And then he put me into canine. One day I went to training and I was wearing a Taswell Bulldogs sweatshirt from the high school there and he said, boy, where'd you get that shirt?

So I told him and he said, you have got to be kidding me. Now, we had known each other about a year and this is the first time that topic come up and he said, my family lives in TAs. I was born in Tawan. I still go back there cuz all my folks still live there. And I had a family history book that I gave him one time when he went home for a.

Family reunion and come find out we're related and past cousins [00:18:00] type of thing. But what a small world it is sometimes to have those types of connections. But getting back on the subject of dog training. The value that we have in networking can never be. Overstated it.

And I've learned that over the years to be able to pick up the phone and call people when you have a problem that you don't know how to fix. And a lot of times we're so optimistic as canine handlers that we can fix problems that, that we live in that moment too long and we hold onto a dog that's just not worthy of the job based primarily on the genetic makeup of the dog.

But we usually hang on them, hang on to 'em too long. And even with a little bit of knowledge or even a whole lot, there's just simply nothing we can do. Frank Campbell used to say that he couldn't make chicken salad outta chicken crap. And there's just nothing you can [00:19:00] do with a dog like that other than making maybe a pet at home.

So optimistically we tend to hang on too long to those dogs. But getting back to the point of that is having those contacts and reaching out to people and not being afraid to ask that question that you think is silly. Cause it's not, it's just that you don't know the answer yet. And it might be simple and fun fundamental to us because we've seen whatever the issue is before and we pretty much have the answer.

And what I've come to realize is that no matter what the dog and what the training, it's like a chess game. And the more you play, you might understand the game. And have those fundamentals, but you've got to have three or four moves ahead of that dog in anticipation of all the other moves that he might do to counteract or get [00:20:00] around what it is that you're trying to accomplish.

And when you don't know those moves, it's important that you have somebody there that you can reach out to and help you identify which direction you're gonna go next. And what happens is a lot of times the guys will. Ignore those issues, continue on down the path without ever really fixing it.

They mask it. And that don't just apply to police work. That's in every aspect of dog training cuz they won't reach out. It's usually their egos. They get hurt when they have a problem and they don't want to address it. Our egos live and die with the performance of our dogs. And that's one of the hardest things for us to ever get over.

And so I always try to emphasize that point whenever I train people in any seminar is that when you're with me, it's time to put that ego on the shelf. We're not gonna criticize you [00:21:00] if we do. It's always run anyway. So it's so important to be able to have those people that will. Reach out to you.

And I had this yearning to teach people early on. I wanted to have them be as enthusiastic and energetic as I was about getting better. And it was always disappointing to me when I would try to help somebody who would reject it. And I felt so frustrated with that. And I learned over the years that you can lead the horse to water, but you can't make 'em drink.

And so I stopped leading them to the water and let 'em come to it. And those that come to you for that are the ones who want to drink and they will. And so those are the sponges that I like to fill up with knowledge. It's the others that I can't waste my time on because it just, it'll beat you down when you're trying to teach somebody something that don't wanna learn [00:22:00] it.

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The first being when you talked about the vast knowledge that you have at your seminars, and putting your ego aside is like learning, like from those guys that are working in these cities that are getting for me, you know our utilizations are. Where I'm at, of course. It's really dropped for me because I had to take my dog out of a narcotic side of it because of the marijuana.

So I'm just doing tracking and apprehension and I've had two apprehension dogs now and have not got a bite. I've had several opportunities, but something happens, they end up having a weapon or something happens. But back to what I was saying is that listening to the guys that are [00:25:00] working these, like getting, they're getting, five and six, eight and 10 deployments a shift.

Like they have so much knock work, they have so much deployment knowledge, you not listen to 'em. Like it's there like they have it. And I think that has helped me being able to pull from their mistakes or what they've learned and try to implement it in what I'm doing. And I think it has helped me.

I think it's helped my success rate on the law enforcement side. The second thing you, that you said that I want to touch on is you can't make people learn what they don't wanna learn. And that's hard in our field because bear hunting or hound hunting in general. Let's just go hound hunting in general.

I don't care if you're a competition. Coon Hunter, I don't care if you're a lion, hunter, bear hunter, we're very clique-ish and you don't like to go outside your [00:26:00] circle. And it's a, it's ego driven and we have to be able to like, and you posted this a while back and I've seen it float out across the, Facebook and Instagram several times.

Is that a man's ego is a a big burden for a dog to bear. Yeah. And it is because our expectations are here. And like you said, people mask the problem, they avoid the problem, they don't deal with the problem. Simple, becau simply because they don't ask or reach out to somebody that knows. And just in the law enforcement side, I couldn't fix half the stuff that I've had to fix if I hadn't called you or somebody that you have connected me with.

That's helped me. And I understand that if I don't have you guys that are, you're training all over the world. All over the country. And in fact, I listened to a podcast, you and Jeff and ap and somebody else was on it. I can't remember who.[00:27:00] I was actually Oh DA Daniel Darr and yeah, a couple other, Jeff Myers was there.

Yeah, he was doing the podcast. Yeah. But you were actually at some training and y'all were doing like the question and answer and I was listening to it. I was coming back from North Carolina Bear hunting and I was listening to it on the way home, and I think you and AP or maybe AP had brought it up and said that you were surprised that like some of the dogs did really good and then the other dogs, it was no in between, it was either failure or the dogs were able to perform the task.

And I don't remember exactly what, I don't think you guys even said what you exactly were doing, but you said the next day when we come out and you adjusted things and was able to coach them through the process in steps, how much more success that everybody had. Yeah, it's incredible to see how quickly you can see progress in, in some of the classes that we run.

But the downturn on that is when you go home you can't say the [00:28:00] dog knows it. We give you the tools and the techniques to advance that. And just like everything those are diminishing skills. So if you don't keep up with them, it's not like you can rest on that plateau and say, I've got it.

And that's why we have maintenance training because this is a never ending pro process. It's not, like I say, it's not like a savings account where you put a little bit into it and it grows by itself. Yeah. This is something that it's always going to fall, falter. If you don't keep up on, keep up with it and try to advance yourself.

And if you say, we did that for three days and you know he's got it. He don't. And that's true with every single aspect of dog trained, doesn't matter whether it's a floppy or dog or a pointier dog. And don't matter what you're doing with it, if you don't continue to work with it and work on it, it's going to, it's gonna [00:29:00] diminish in its value to the dog.

So it's a perishable skill. It sure is. Perishable skills and everything we do. And one of those things, one of those questions and I won't give the guy away, just there was a guy from a small agency, one dog in his agency, and he had to travel to get anybody to train with. And your guys' advice were, you've got to hook up with somebody whether you have to drive an hour or two, or if you can train one day by yourself or, the next training day.

Try to venture out and go with somebody that's got that experience. Which I'm gonna tie back into what I'm talking about is there's a lot of guys that have been hunting hounds for a lot of years, and they have a lot of knowledge and a lot of times if you reach out to them they'll help you with that problem or they can give you some tips [00:30:00] or some tricks that they've learned to try to do that.

And Jeff, one, I can go back on all these. One of the things that I've learned in canine training is. That the bigger your toolbox is, the better you're gonna have for success, because dogs are not cookie cutters, no dog is ever the same. And that if I have three or four options, I then I can pick out the option that best suits that dog.

And I know if I know the process, which I should, if I'm continually learning on how to implement that process, when I switch him to a different training technique, I would say. Is that sound right? Yeah. Everything we do is based on generalities. Everything that we teach is just in general.

We know that the techniques that we talk about are sound. We know that they work because we've implemented them [00:31:00] and. When I take any technique, I don't care if it's obedience to tracking, and I tell you, this is the process, this is gonna be the technique, and it works flawlessly. And the dog performs as he should, just as I told you it would.

It makes me look like a million bucks, right? But where I earn my money is I. It's the problem child that doesn't fit the mold, that doesn't accept the technique, and it takes a thousand reps for the damn light to come on with this dog and say, oh, this is what you've been wanting me to do. Others fall right into it, three or four times of doing something, they're like, Hey, I get this.

I know what, what's going on? And they flow very easily into the process of training. But where we make our money as trainers is those problem children those troubled souls that just refuse to understand and make the connection. And so then we [00:32:00] really have to look at our techniques to make sure that we're doing what we need to do in the right way.

And then there's just other times where, and this is where the gray area comes in, is when I tell you a technique. There's a lot of guys that see everything in black and white. And it's either. Yes. It's documented and this is the rigid way, the rigid technique, and it's not working.

And they cannot fall into that gray area, adjust it a little bit, and come up with the right touch. If it were a stew and you're trying to perfect the flavor of it, you may take a little less salt, a little more salt to make this technique work. And they have such trouble envisioning that.

And a lot of times when I talk about these things and I talk about the dogs having trouble, it's as much or more probably more the person[00:33:00] in trying to process what I'm telling them. And applying it to real life. They'll nod their head and look at you and say, I got it. And then, of course we're all gonna dance with two left feet.

But I'll tell you I've trained hundreds, if not thousands of handlers, probably thousands. And I've seen so many dogs over the years. And of all my students very few have ever, probably none have ever been as receptive, understanding, and have such a vision as ap. I didn't know AP until I put him in the canine unit.

And you it really benefits you to know a handler's personality before you give him a dog. So I gave him a dog that was a little soft. He was a little harder handler, but I can talk to him. I. Or he can hear anybody that knows more than him and they'll give him a crumb of an idea technique and he can [00:34:00] see it, take it, he'll be able to hold pie out of it and be able to work with it.

And that's just how good he is. He's way better of a trainer, in my opinion, than I am, and I'm the guy that trained him to begin with. But it's people like that who really shine in any probably any environment. But we're talking about dogs and training. So when these people come around and they're open their heart and their toolbox to you don't be afraid to pick their brain about it because they're gonna give you something and don't necessarily say it didn't work for me, so therefore it doesn't work at all.

We know what we do works because we've done it so many times. And I've had that happen to me where I've learned techniques and thought, wow, this is really gonna benefit me. And Come to find out, it was just a tool in the toolbox that I rarely ever used because it just didn't work for me. Especially like recalls from a bite where you're sending them and calling them back had some techniques that I thought, this is gonna [00:35:00] work pretty good, but it really didn't.

You keep those in mind for dogs that it might work on, and then you move on and you just keep putting those tools in your box. So one, one of the things that I see, and I'm pulling this from my law enforcement side, the training side, and I'll ask you this because you see thousands of dogs a year foundation, the solid, the more foundation that you put in a dog, and the better the more solid the foundation is, the easier it is to work the kinks out and deal with the problems.

Is that true or not? Yeah. And there is nothing that says you can't take a step or two back and go back to that foundation and shore it up. If you start to see some problems that you've maybe advanced too far too quickly and you start to see the dog struggling the particular angle that I'm talking about is tracking.

There's so many different layers to this[00:36:00] that complicate it. And if you're trying to build to a level that's more complex where you have longer tracks, less odor, more distractors, you can't just jump right into something like that, you have to take away one of those elements, two of those elements if you're gonna make one of 'em harder.

So if you're going to make it a longer track, You don't age it as much. If you're gonna make it a harder, more contaminated track, you're gonna make it shorter. Maybe make the surface less. Hard surface is hard obviously, but you have to think these things through. Those elements you have to work with and manage.

You can't just throw it out there, but the foundation of that starts real easy. I'll give you one perfect example of ignorance and on my part with teaching dogs to track was I wanted tracking was my bread and [00:37:00] butter and that's where I made my money. And it was the most difficult thing to do.

And of course, if that's i's where you want to be, you're gonna focus on that or you should, you don't hide it. A lot of guys just ignore it and hide it because it is a difficult job to do, especially with some of the different genetics for the dogs. But I wanted to do hard surface. I wanted to do a dog that was just great on hard surface.

So I said, I know the technique is sound. I know how to use it. So I started the dog off on it, buddy, I'm telling you, this dog will find you on hard surface. And I had worked that for weeks and I thought, and won't be a problem putting in, grass, stuff like that cuz that's easy right now. I watched this dog and he watched the track layer through the grass off the side of the [00:38:00] road, lay his track and come back.

And I asked him to track and he turned 90 degrees away from that track and started working hard surface cuz we were right there on the side of the road. And in his mind that was not the picture. And I knew better. I just thought that really didn't apply in this case. Dogs paint these pictures in their heads of scenarios and that's what we're doing for dogs is putting as many pictures in their head.

But it was just like starting over. A hundred percent. He did not understand the concept of a track that was in the grass because I had done so much hard surface. He turned 90 degrees up and down that road we were on and wanted to try and find something to follow. And so that taught me right there that you have to be diverse pretty quick.

And I had laid such a foundation for that dog on hard surface that putting that easy grass on there wasn't easy at all. From then on we started breaking it [00:39:00] up and doing all those different surfaces at once so that we painted those pictures simultaneously. But the foundation is so critical.

I've had guys come to me and said I do the advanced stuff better than this basic stuff, and I just chuckled to myself. Cause you can't do, you can't do anything in police work without control. There's no tactics without control. And control was just basics. And once I imparted that idea to, it made a little more sense to him.

But I can tell you that if I were to advertise a class today, and I advertise it as a fundamental basics class, I'd only get about a third of the interest if I'd run the exact same class. Instead, it was advanced. Because people want advanced. But when they come to class, they can't do basic what I'm hoping they'll do.

Because they can't do the basics. Yep. And a lot of times what I do is I spend a lot of time with [00:40:00] those guys who wanna do the advanced when they come to class running through some techniques that will get them up to speed before they can ever do anything more advanced because they just don't have control.

Yeah. And that's a good point you made, and I don't guess I've ever said that out loud, but the wrong foundation, or not the wrong, but a foundation in one direction can definitely set you back when you're trying to do multiple things. Yeah. And y you guys, when I first hit through your class, you guys start off on hard surfaces.

We don't, we start off on. Vegetation, because most of our deployments are rural areas. Yeah. Very seldom. Not a lot but we have, tracking through town and even if we did, there's so much grass and so many islands in the parking lots and stuff like that, that, I can find a productive source pretty quick and get back on it where you guys are a lot more [00:41:00] pavement oriented.

So yeah, I picked that up when, when I was sitting through y'all's stuff that that you guys, and you had said, I think you had actually said that in your class one time about you'd think it would be easy, but if you don't it's not yeah. You'd think it would be easy and, once you've introduced the dog to it's probably more crushed vegetation than it is anything else.

But he's, that brain's working. So hard with that nose picking up all those things and recording them that the process is probably really more than, we like to talk about what we know about the dog's nose, but I doubt in all sincerity that we know anything close, to what's going on. And a lot of it honestly is genetic driven. I have a difficult time finding high drive dogs that'll track like I want 'em to track. And that's, that truly is genetics. Now you can see plenty of videos where these [00:42:00] guys are working owas and these high speed dogs on hard surface, and they're very methodical.

And I know that, these people that make these videos are very sincere about it, but that's not every case, that's not, I don't think that's the norm where these dogs are going down the streets and filled with people and being able to do that. I'm talking the, the malawa types and stuff that Yep.

Doing that. It's funny you bring that up. I had just done a podcast with Miguel from Spain, and one of the things that Miguel said, and it's, and I wanna go back after that too, but one of the things that he said is, the thing about our field that people don't realize is, like in the hunting world, my dogs are genetically driven to catch game.

They're bred to, to track Trail Tree Bay. A bear or a cat [00:43:00] or a coon or whatever in the law enforcement side of it, those dogs are not genetically bred to chase humans. That's a game that we implement and the like, the dog's not, I don't wanna say overly excited. He has a job to do and some dogs do that task very well.

But it do, it's not the same excitement level that you see outta my dogs when they catch a bear. And he, and it opened my eyes. I'm like, that makes sense. Our dogs are not, they're not, that's not a genetic makeup to just to track a man. That's not their, that's not exactly what they bred for, but were you, like you said we're taking those drives and implementing, our training and stuff.

But I, I thought that was pretty interesting that he said that and I got to looking at it. I'm like, yeah. And Jeff, one thing that you're talking about that a lot of the listeners don't understand is those the pointier dogs. And I've seen it more, and you would [00:44:00] know well above me, but you and I both have another, that commonality too is the tracking is what got me into the police dogs.

Yeah. Catching people using a dog to hunt. And that's what I love to do with my hounds. And, you and I got in at about the same time I'd been in this job 18 months and I got my dog. And of course you've got a lot more years in than I do and a lot more experience.

But I wanna attract, man, but the pointier dogs, and I see it more with Malley's and Dutchies, is that visual stimulation and I think, is that what you were saying? Yeah. They're very visual. Yep. My, my shepherd now my shepherd that I have is not that visual, like he will put his note and you talk about the more methodical that in him, more so than my mally that I used to have.

Now, my dutchie that I have now is, he's a decent balance, but through the [00:45:00] training that I've got from you guys and other people that I've been to, I was able to create that when I started his foundation and made it so that he was not just site tracking everything that he was doing. Yeah it's something that I just don't know that we can overcome to the degree that we want it to be with some dogs.

And that's just the realization. Everybody wants to track better. If you're so inclined to, to advance yourself, you're going to reach out and that's where your contacts come into play. And, the, that networking is so important and I don't wanna be the dead horse, but I don't think that I can ever overstate the value of that to reach out to people to find the ways.

And, if your heart's in it and you want to do good and it's not something that you're looking for the accolades from the police department for, you're looking at it from a self-satisfaction. Cuz [00:46:00] that's pretty much where we have to be if we want to really be good. We talked about.

Paying for classes out of our pockets. Because we just want it to be better. But, for the guy that has to travel an hour, if his heart's in it and he finds the people that he can connect with, that will help him advance that hour drive. Just, it might suck a little bit, but it's a sacrifice that people like that are willing to do.

And I know I've certainly done it. I've got people that, are an hour and a half away from me that hour and a half drive ain't nothing for me to go see these people and talk to 'em and train with 'em. That's just the way it has to be because of the thing that I want for myself.

And it's not, I'm retired, but I still learn. Yep. Speaking of learning, we got a new company called Smart Talk and that's gonna be two days before hits this year, and that's really for the. The guys who aren't in law enforcement and the ladies who aren't in law enforcement that [00:47:00] want to train dogs and learn from a lot of the instructors that'll be at hits.

We're trying that out this year. We've got about a hundred people signed up so far for it, and it's a two day seminar. And our focus, because we do have to have a focus for the two days cuz civilian dog training is just a 360 degree view. There's so many aspects of it. But our focus this year is search and rescue and then the nose work. And that's really Another, that whole civilian side of everything plays such a value in what we can do with our police dogs that it's been overlooked for years. We used to think that we were better and thought that we were separate, and we knew what we were doing with police dogs much more than any civilian trainer.

But there's so many different things out there to learn and not just having a ball with all this stuff. There's scent detection work where people get together with their dogs and [00:48:00] they compete like a drug detection certification and they don't find drugs. They just do the different scented oils and stuff, but it's a huge thing. And so people wanna learn that sort of thing too, is the detection side of it. But search and rescue's huge. All these different aspects of. Dog training. We're just gonna have different stuff with the Smart Dog training conference in the coming years that we do this con conference.

That's gonna be another great asset for people who want to learn more about developing whatever skill it is that they want. Because these basics are a lot of times just that they're universal and they're basic and we can advance it. But, you were talking about the drives of the hounds and the difference in the way they perform with the tracks and versus the police dogs.

And that really evolves down to[00:49:00] the reward system. We, I. These hounds are being rewarded genetically interested in the thing that they find, whatever animal it is that they finish up with, whether they treat it or whatever. But that's an interest that is shared by the single hound as much as it is the group.

If you're running a pack, they're learning from each other. They're feeding off of each other's enthusiasm to do that job, and then they're learning at the same time. Now their genetics may push them straight into how to use that nose, that brain, but it's the pack that they're learning from to find home that skill.

And, we talk about dogs being able to track every single one of them that has a properly they're not some type of issue physically with their nose not working, but they know how to track. But obviously it's up to us to. To hone that skill to the level that we want it. And when we talk [00:50:00] about trying to find the drive and to take that drive and enhance it for ourselves, it all boils down to what reward system that we have.

So the hounds have that straight into their d n A to do it. And then their packed mentality enhances it and hones it. And then of course we need to shape that as we go as well into the direction that we want it for different sport. I talked to a guy the other day that had some pointers and he was getting into the sport of the bird dogs.

And I was floored at the amount of control that these guys have to be able to go out and. Compete against one another. And one of the aspects was that your dog had to work with my dog having never seen my dog before in, in control and allowing one dog over the other to, to lead that point.

And so it's just one more [00:51:00] thing that it opened my eyes to just how much there is to learn out there from these dogs and from the guys who know it that was just unbelievable. At the amount of control that they could work on the dogs. Yeah. And a lot of it's genetics, but, we put our human influences on it.

But the point I was making is that it's the reward system that really drives them. Yeah. And you said something there that we, I've touched on this quite a bit in, in, in this, my podcast is, dogs learn so much faster from other dogs because they can interpret their body language and what they're doing.

That pack has a lot of value to it, where, you know, when we separate the dog and we're trying to teach it in what human thinks it should be, a lot of times that get distorted. Yeah. And, we've talked about, you've trained this, we've done it, we've put a crate.

I know Franco had us do it. We put a crate out in the field, [00:52:00] put the dog in it, let him watch all the other dogs work. We, I know you talked to me about it, about muzzle work, letting the dog watch doing that muzzle work and that pack has a significant value that a lot of times I don't think we.

As ha as dog owners put enough weight in it. And I can give a real quick example. And this goes to a lot of guys that have really gamey dogs. That if you've got one or two dogs that like to pull fur, I mean they like to get in there and get after it, then you're gonna have a whole pack of that.

And if you have a dog or two that stands back and works, a dog, an animal, like a cow dog, which is what I prefer, I want my dogs, I want my dogs on the rear end, not the front end. And I want 'em back, and I want 'em baying, and I want 'em putting enough pressure on the animal to stop it.

But at the same time, I want 'em to have enough sense not to get tore up. And they learn I that I can't teach that. I can't teach it. The PAC [00:53:00] teaches that. Yeah. So much value in that. So much value. Yeah. There's, it. It transcends across the lines of anything that we want to do is that these dogs learn from each other.

And the AK C's gonna do a presentation that hits this year and the guy that's doing it, forget his name, his last name's West, I think. But they have done some breeding to try and now everybody does breeding to try and enhance the breed. But they've made some successes in the detection dog work, the labs and stuff that they use with a breeding program that that they believe is scientifically sound and it's worked for them.

So I, I want to hear what the guy has to say about their process and their thinking and how they've developed this whole thing cuz And anything that we're doing with these dogs, genetics [00:54:00] is really a sharp indicator of how far we can take it, if say we were working at knee level on a dog who's genetics are there, we may only in performance rise to the waist, but if we can breathe them with that right genetic coating and that comes out strong at the waist, we may be able to take that, to our shoulders or above with what we know about it.

And that doesn't just isolate itself to one particular style of dog disciplines, dog training, that transcends 'em all. Yeah. No genetics. And we, we talk about that as, that's your start is Yeah. How strong are your genetics for whatever you're using the animal for?

It's, yeah. You can't, yeah, you can't. Manipulate that a whole lot. If it's there. And if it's not. And it's so important. You can still take one with good genetics and not knowing what you're doing and training, and it would be [00:55:00] just a couch potato because of the things that you've allowed it to be, involve itself in, around the home or whatever pictures that it's developed so that you can just have a couch's potato basically. But there again, if you've got that good genetics, the first 12 weeks of a puppy's life is so impressionable.

And if it ex is exposed to things that have traumatized it in that first 12 weeks, it can carry those fears to the end of its life and it can manifest into unwanted behaviors. That just reduces it down to a pet. And a lot of times we'll see that in the police dog world too. But even dogs that and I'll give you a perfect example of the border collies and the guys who raise them, they will, from day one, when those puppies are born start putting environmental exposures to 'em because they're [00:56:00] very sensitive dogs.

And every day, they play loud music in the kennels. They play different thunderstorms over the speakers, so they're exposed to that hot towels, warm towels, flipping 'em on their back. And so every day they're exposed for those first weeks of life to try and just inoculate 'em to that little bit of stress before they ever get a negative exposure that might traumatize 'em for the work that they perform.

Yeah. Yeah. Jeff, before we wrap this up, what you've been training, training, handling, and training dogs for 31 years. What can, what advice would you give to the listeners about dogs or dog training? Like what is one piece of advice that you would want to want people to know?

Yeah. To reach out to those who you think know more than you and not be afraid to ask those questions and to never just rest on [00:57:00] what you've done so far. Because none of us know it all, and I can tell you that I'm still learning, but if you will, if you have the de desire to be better, And just don't dismiss the value of learning from others.

And my police departments canine units. One of the best, I think, and I'm not trying to brag about it, but I've seen thousands of police dogs and their performance can be matched to antibodies. And it's not because of what I did, but it's because I gave them the freedom to explore other trainers techniques and to bring those back so we could all learn from it.

And I've seen some, and I've had people literally tell me in my training seminars that they love what I'm teaching and they're believing what I do is effective. And they turn around and say, the [00:58:00] sad part is I've got to go home and do what I'm told I can't. Get out of that bubble. I can't get out of that circle.

That they keep us in. And he says, I'm surprised that I'm even here. Yeah, you're welcome. But so I'm surprised that I'm even here because they like to keep us in that circle. So that's to me, what, when you give people that type of freedom to go out and learn from others, you're broadening yourself and their abilities.

And that's one thing I was gonna add to earlier and you just brought it back up, is that's one of the hardest things for me to learn in the law enforcement side was that I was taught a certain way and that's the way I knew and that's what I did. And I did not like to branch out. And the biggest part of that was because I didn't understand it.

Or I had not been able to do it myself and implement it and [00:59:00] see that it works. And I feel as a dog owner, that's something you have got to have a chat with yourself about is you have to be open-minded and you have to understand that there is going to be 15 different ways that you can do this.

And yeah, if the dog that you're handling, your hounds, if it works on that hound, just like you was talking about ap, you give him a soft dog. As for us as trainers, that's something we have to do. We have to pair our dogs with our handlers and you have to know their personalities and stuff.

And you have to be able to say, okay I, I learned through an old time method. That I won't give it away, but in certain agencies still uses that method. And I feel like I have evolved 10 times of what the way I learned it, and they still use that method, but they have perfected their craft.

They are really good at that. And they, what people don't know is [01:00:00] they perp pick out certain types of dogs that fit their method and they wash a lot of dogs because they don't fit that style of training. And as a handler, you've gotta be able to branch out if you wanna become better.

And I don't care what field it's in. Hunting. Yeah. Retrieving, pointing, police world, you've got to be able to tell yourself that I need to learn different ways because there's one point in time that I may need to use that way. Yeah, that's exactly right. And yeah. And so yeah, in a nutshell that is the advice that I would give people is that and it's funny that you talk about the different ways is everybody's gonna tell you something a little different.

And it always frustrates it and confuses the new guys trying to train the dog. Cuz they'll, the first thing that happens is when something don't work out is you're telling me one thing and somebody else is telling me the other. And so I'm always [01:01:00] constantly trying to calm 'em down and say, listen, if I'm worried, that's when you need to start worrying.

But if you don't see me worried, Don't start worrying yourself. This is just a process. And so a lot of times I will allow that person to work whatever techniques it is that they're being taught by the trainer that they're under at the time. And later on we'll talk about what I think about it.

And I've found that to be the better technique as the trainer is to not give too many different conflicting ideas to the handler at first. Cause it's so they're dancing with two F left feet to begin with and so to, say, do it this way. And then the other guys just told him to do it a different way.

And it's not that either of us is wrong, it's just that they're different. And so I try to limit myself sometimes when I go to, to see the progress of class being taught by somebody else. [01:02:00] Yep. Jeff, I appreciate you taking time this evening and sitting down. I hope when you get back up this way, you gimme a shout and we can catch up.

I know I won't be in Arizona this year, so I won't get to see you out there. Alright. Man. I look forward to it. Thanks for having me on. All right. Thank you for helping us teach, train, and learn all.