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The AKC board of Directors formed the AKC Detection Dog Task Force in 2016 to explore and implement solutions to the shortage of American-bred explosives detection dogs. Currently, the demand for US-bred and born detection dogs far exceeds available supply, while reliance on foreign-bred sources introduces many risks. The US government currently purchases 80-90% of its working dogs from Europe. A national detection dog breeding program will mitigate the current shortage of domestic-bred dogs that meet the health and behavior standards required by government, military and law enforcement agencies. The conference included experts in the field on topics of importance to breeders, trainers, vendors, law enforcement officers and more, as well as networking opportunities.

The Task Force, headed by AKC Executive Vice President Mark Dunn and AKC Detection Dog Task Force Project Leader and AKC Board Member Dr. Carmen Battaglia, has interviewed key stakeholders involved in bomb detection including people from academia, government, military, policing, training and breeding. The 2018 AKC Detection Dog Conference was filled with thought-provoking and educational presentations that addressed breeding and early development of detection dogs; training and care of working dogs; and how detection dogs are best utilized for protecting our country. There was a detection dog demonstration on site as well.

Presentation topics included: discussing whether all working dogs think alike, the exploration of a National Breeding Co-Operative, scientifically evaluating welfare in large-scale kennels, early socialization, explosive detection trends, development of a model detector dog breeding program, advances in canine sports medicine, problems with assessment criteria and purchasing contracts for working dogs, advancing public policy for detection dogs, scent work, detection dogs for national events, genetic analysis of working dogs, and more. The conference also included a panel discussion by industry professionals about detector dog standards and certifications.

Now that the 2018 conference has come to an end, the AKC Detection Dog Task Force is one step closer to improving the national security problem and establishing a solution for the shortage of domestically-bred dogs for explosives detection in the United States.

2018 AKC Detection Dog Conference Presenters Included:

  • David Adebimpe, Founder/CEO of ScentLogix
  • Carmen Battaglia, AKC Detection Dog Task Force Project Leader & AKC Board Member
  • Matthew Breen, Professor of Genomics, NC State University of Veterinary Medicine
  • Candace Croney, Director, Purdue University Center for Animal Welfare Science
  • Mark Dunn – Executive VP, The American Kennel Club
  • Sheila Goffe, Vice President, Government Relations, The American Kennel Club
  • Pamela Haney MS, Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Brian Hare, Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology, Duke University
  • Fred Helfers, Founding President -Pacific Northwest Police Detection Dog Association, Owner FH Consulting / Canine Detection Services
  • John P. Kerwick, President (Region 7), United States Police Canine Association (USPCA); Tactical Commander, Metropolitan Transportation Authority Police Canine Unit, New York City
  • Jane Messineo Killion, Founder, Puppy Culture, When Pigs Fly Dog Training and Madcap Bull Terriers
  • Lane Kjellsen, Chairman and CEO, K2 Solutions
  • Dave Kontny, Chief of Staff, Joint Program Office for Countering Improvised Explosive Devices
  • Wendell Nope, K-9 Training Supervisor, Utah Department of Public Safety
  • Cindy Otto, founder/director, Penn Vet Working Dog Center
  • John C. Pearce, Director of Operations, VWK9
  • Commissioner Larry B. Perkins, CFE, CPP, CMP,Vice President and Assistant General Manager,PNC ARENA/CAROLINA HURRICANES
  • Scott Thomas, former breeding program manager, TSA
  • L. Paul Waggoner PhD, Experimental Behavioral Psychology, Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Stacey West, Canine Operations Manager, K2 Solutions
  • LTC Richard Vargus, MWD Program Manager, US Army Provost Marshall’s Office
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