Part of the requirements of becoming an IBBRA member is having unshakable professional ethics measured by skill, achievement, and experience. We are proud to welcome Pat Currey and K9 Operations aboard as one of our team members.
Working as a canine handler is a well-trained sophisticated vocation that requires advanced handling and working skills; something that is certainly lacking and desperately needed within the bed bug scent detection dog industry. K9 Operations doesn’t search for bed bugs; they train dogs, teach handlers and “fix problems”.
I’ve had the privilege of working with Pat for quite a while and I asked Pat about the biggest problems he personally encounters with handlers training and he replied; “99% of the time it is the handler’s fault. The other 1% of the time…It’s the handler’s fault. Most issues handlers encounter are social in nature, thus needing to be taught how to communicate in a language the dog understands”.
I wrote in my bed bug scent detection book a couple of years ago – Changes need to be made as we embrace the fact that the industry is still evolving and learning from its early mistakes. With the recent 20/20 news program “scare” and the consumer doubting the efficacy of bed bug detection teams; 11 canine teams were deployed to search for bed bugs in a staged setting. Since I have a vested interest in the industry, I wrote the news station and asked they didn’t air the segment for the protection of those teams that were included. I believe that failure is only an opportunity to perfect their skills.
Nothing is ever done perfectly the first time someone tries it—not in sports, not in games, not in school, and most certainly not in dog training. The point isn’t to promote failure for failure’s sake. I don’t advocate for a moment that failure ought to be the objective of any endeavor. Instead, advocate learning. Leaders don’t look for someone to blame when mistakes are made. Instead, they ask “What can be learned from the experience?”
Pat and my conversations have included his observations, “In recent years there have been many positive changes for K9 Programs in general. However, the key elements in making the transformation of the working dog is to establish the difference from pet and a professional K9 athlete; which require a complete and systematic approach to training and working. The training is not only specific to the dogs, but more importantly, the success of the program lies in the training of the human counterpart (Handler and manager). The handler MUST understand the requirements for getting the most out of their program and continually look for ways to make the teams more effective with quality training and productive working standards. Any handler that lacks a complete understanding of what an affective K9 program looks like is destined to fail, no matter how great your intentions are.
Unfortunately, some see lack of production from the K9 Team, to mean lack for the need for continued training and education. Many an agency/company have lost their financial investment because they have succumbed to what is the industry norm and fallen victim to the smoke and mirrors of the K9 Industry and not explored new ways to improve their team’s effectiveness. The K9 Team can be MAJOR resource when it is properly trained and utilized. Simply relying on a ‘follow the pack’ mentality of looking at the way neighboring agency/company training and utilization of their K9 Teams can quickly turn your investment into a loss”.
Patrick Currey began his Military career in August of 1988 with the United States Army and went on as a Detection/Patrol Canine Handler and Military Police both stateside and overseas in 1989. After extensive training with the Department of Defense (DOD), as an Explosive/Patrol Detector Dog Handler, Pat was stationed in Nuremburg, Germany and then reassigned to Grafenwoehr to produce more qualified K9 Explosive teams. Pat job was ensuring all canine policies and procedures were met for training and certification of the assigned canine teams.
From 1996 through 2004, Pat took on the position of Canine Enforcement Officer for the United States Customs Service. During his time he advanced to Procurement Office and trained over 60 canines for narcotics detection.
With continued focused education he advanced further and performed duties as Field Training Officer for Explosive, Narcotics and Agriculture Detection K9 Teams and served with K9 in search warrants with ATF, DEA, Postal Investigators and local municipalities as well as working all Michigan Ports of Entry (resulting in millions of dollars’ worth of narcotics and money found in; vehicles, warehouses, mailrooms, luggage, aircraft, vessels, cargo, semi-trailers, and on people).
He worked with “Leader Dogs for the Blind”, as a Canine Instructor/Trainer. He trained 10 guide dogs during a three month period, teaching them to be able to assist a blind handler during their everyday needs. After training the dogs he went on to teach the students how to work with the trained K9 in a variety of environments.
Pats history and biography list is to lengthy to mention all in this article but I must say there has not been one single stone that he hasn’t turned. His reputation precedes him and he’s known as a “Top Gun” in his industry.
My interest in Pat came from having written the first Bed Bug Detection Dog book and knowing the never ending problems and challenges in the pest control industry. After my first conversation with Pat he knew my training/handlers background and I his and we shared our collective concerns for the pest control industry.
It’s rare that one can find someone with the same passion and Pat certainly has passion for what he does. I shared my mission of providing top notch professional training to help those in the industry that were failing after being let loose in the industry as a “professional team” after having only a three or four day handlers course and a seminar here and there. Pat couldn’t agree more and we’ve decided to team up and put our best foot forward to help people in the industry perfect their skills.
Pat has written a detailed handlers training book which will with no doubt cover every aspect of handler training and should become a part of any handler’s library. The book takes you into a journey inside the dogs mind and help handlers best understand the important role they have in knowing and trusting their dog.
How to expect the best, reward or correct, how to be the leader, the working dog, checks and balances, principals of dog training, science of training and learning, working dog handling skills, unconditional and conditional responses, the dogs mind, bad behavior vs. good behavior, correction and reward, how dogs communicate, body language, tone, touch, the effects of genetics and breeding, science and the brain, age comparison, the senses, smell, sight, hearing, touch, taste, six sense, hormones, the behavior effects of estrogen and testosterone, the pack mentality, the pack, hierarchy, punishment vs. praise, kennel sanitation and the safety of the dog, kennel environment, vehicle, cleaning and sanitation, fecal matter/urine, boarding kennels, interaction with other dogs, veterinary care and vaccinations, proper care of canine health, feeding, kennel maintenance, basic first-aid, and much more.
Expect the book to be out by the end of June 2014. It will be available through Amazon, Kindle and of course through the IBBRA. www.ibbra.org
I believe that any Bed Bug Detection Dog Handler whether new in the field or somewhat experienced, could certainly benefit from reading his book and should be made mandatory reading before one should make the decision to become a professional handler.
Aside from his daily passion working with training handlers, Pat owns Currey’s Family Pet Care Inc. The focus of his company is to help repair dog owner relationships, ranging from new dog owners with uncontrollable dogs to aggression issues. Since opening their doors, they have worked with thousands of clients with small to large breeds; working to give them the skills to take control of their dogs.
They even host fundraiser events, donating their time and expertise to help “make a difference” to include local animal shelters. Pat also mentors aspiring dog trainers to help them achieve their goals of becoming dog certified trainers and preparing them for certification.
Aside from the addition of a wonderful book for our members and teams, we are also working on evaluating and building an entire K9 program from initial training, daily and weekly training, reliability of the K9 Teams in the areas trained to work in, record keeping, Standard Operating Procedures/Policies and solutions that they could implement to become more effective.
Reach out to Pat at K9 Operations and welcome him aboard and know he is there to help you with any issues or questions you may have. IBBRA members get discounts on his canines and training/handler services. www.k9operations.com