Providing Real Training for Real Dogs for Real Life
Providing Real Training for Real Dogs for Real Life
"By and for First Responders"
The job of the First Responder is rewarding but can be stressful and very challenging. Working as a First Responder can take a toll on those who respond and see people in crisis on a daily basis. Addressing the mental and physical well being of Officers is paramount for continued quality to service to the community.
As retired Law Enforcement professionals with over 60 years of combined experience at a major metropolitan California Police Department, the Founders of Blue Line Dogs understand the need for Officer Wellness. Our founders have experience in Patrol Operations, Investigations (Sexual Assault, Child Pornography, Homicide, Burglary), Leadership and Training of First Responders. First hand personal field experience as well as experience as Supervisors of those who deal with crisis situations gives insight into helping those who help others. Our founders have returned to Law Enforcement working as Reserve Level I Police Officers.
They have conducted in training of Patrol Officers, Investigators, Dispatchers, Correctional Officers and Tactical officers in the area of dealing with persons with Mental Illness and dealing with Crisis Situations. They were also instrumental in the creation of Autism training courses for Law Enforcement as well as a Autism Support Group for Law Enforcement Officers.
This combined with over 40 years in the dog training experience set the foundation of Blue Line Dogs canine training curriculum. Our lead trainer is a 1981 graduate of the United States Air Force's 341st Training Squadron, Lackland Air Force Base (AFB), San Antonio, Texas. Its mission is Joint Service assistance in the training of all military working-dog (MWD) handlers and MWDs deployed worldwide.
In dealing with First Responders they understood and appreciated the need and benefit of Psychological First Aid (PFA). Blue Line Dogs incorporates Therapy dogs as a part of a secure and trusted well rounded wellness program.
A Therapy Dog program is part of a overall wellness program that targets First Responders and their special circumstances. Blue Line Dogs, under the umbrella of our partners regularly visits Agency facilities and attends Agency Wellness training days.
All Civilian volunteers are vetted and receive training in understanding the complexity and issues of first responders, Information confidentially, First Aid (Human and Pet), basic dog handling skills and the FEMA Incident Command System (ICS).
It takes a very special dog to work as a Therapy Dog.
Not every dog is suited for this very rewarding work. The work of the Therapy dog is much more that being a friendly dog. Therapy dogs must have many traits Including but not limited to being obedient, friendly, even-tempered, consistent, gentle, confident, resilient, comfortable with meeting new people, and reliable in unusual and stressful environments. They must be able to focus on the task and not be easily distracted.
Above all, they must love people and truly enjoy being around them while being hugged, kissed and petted. Each dog is trained and conditioned to work in various environments. Constant proofing and observation in various situations ensures that the dog is at the top of their game. Dogs in training are closely supervised and field tested.
Each team member must pass the Program's basic canine course and the AKC Canine Good Citizens test. Dog teams are encouraged to test and receive additional task certifications such as the AKC Urban Dogs, AKC Trick Dog, and AKC Community Canine
Each dog is owned and maintained by their handler who is responsible for their care, maintenance and training.
Teamwork takes work !
Understanding that the handling of a dog in public carries a serious responsibility, the selection of qualified a Canine team is important. It takes a special person to be a Specialty Dog Handler. It is more than just holding the leash. A positive attitude of service to the community is paramount.
The Volunteer Handler must be opened to new training techniques and goals. They must be attuned to their dog and be able to know when to trust the dog and when to be a dog leader. Working as a team safely is important. Volunteer Handlers must understand that the goal of the program is to bring comfort to others.
Volunteers wishing to participate in the program must be the Owner of a dog that meets the minimal requirements of manageability and conduct. The minimum age for the Volunteer is 18 years old. They initially must successfully attend the program orientation, pass an interview, and a background check.
Volunteer teams then enter several phases of training which includes the Handlers Education course, obedience course and field training in preparation for work in various environments. Accelerated Phase waivers may be granted for Handlers and dogs that submit to and pass a skills test based on previous experience and training.
Volunteer Handlers must learn about their particular dog breed as well as First Aid and CPR for Pets. They also must take a FEMA ICS 100 Course and Psychological First Aid Course.
Handlers are not compensated for their time or for the care and feeding of their dog.
Working as Team works !
For any Specialty Dog Program to thrive it is imperative that an on going and active training program be initiated. Blue Line Dogs has in-house trainers to ensure a continuous and consistent training program. These trainers can observe and intervene with issues before they become a problem or a liability. Because our Dog Teams come to the program with various levels of training, active realistic training ensures that the dog team realizes their full protentional. Working and training in various scenarios tests the limits of the dog and handler. The trainers can evaluate the teams and immediately assist in any training issues. Trainers work with handlers, the dogs and both as a team. Each team document training sessions to ensure progress.
Safety while handling of dogs is a priority and the responsibility of everyone in the program. Safety protocols are taught and enforced. After each major deployment and on a quarterly basis teams are de-briefed as to their visits.
The initial and on-going training of our Dog teams are done by a team of experienced Dog Trainers. Each trainer has attended and graduated from a formal dog training program and have a minimum of 3 years of practical experience in the training of dogs as a lead dog trainer. Continuing education for the Trainers is imperative as well as research and review of various techniques, studies and approaches of training for both Handlers and the dogs.
Blue line dogs does accept dog trainers in their Apprentice program who work under a trainer and are supervised.
Each trainer is a American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Good Citizen Evaluator, certified in First Aid and CPR training for both humans and pets and have taken a Psychological First Aid Course.
Handlers are an important part of the training experience and their input is always solicited.
Leadership is teamwork !
Help us get the message in and out
Part time manager of our Social Media program.
Don't have a dog but want to Volunteer ?
We are always looking for motivated people.
A Scout is Volunteer trained in the basics of dog handling who serve as a buffer for the dog team ensuring that the environment is safe. They assist the handler as needed.
They explain and promote the program while visiting a location and assist in training scenarios and evaluations.
Scouts receive basic training as Handlers.
This position may be a friend or family member of a certified team member who accompanies them to a location.