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Training

Training

'Teach this to all:

a generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service

and compassion are the things which renew humanity.'

Buddha

Real world training with NATIONAL prepares you for real world responses    Consider becoming a force for good in your community by serving those who are hurting, and those who serve.

Train with us, with or without a canine partner, to develop the skills that make a difference for someone in crisis.

NATIONAL Crisis Response Canine teams are trained to provide a safe haven for people affected by crisis.

Following completion of an intensive 6 month training program and rigorous 3 day qualification practicals, only those canine teams that are able to demonstrate proficiency in all aspects of crisis response are recommended for certification.

 

Canis Major + Canis Minor™ mentorship   NATIONAL developed the first comprehensive mentorship for training crisis response canine teams, the Canis Major+ Canis Minor™ Mentorship program.

Before any training begins, NATIONAL Crisis Response Canines are first selected for temperament. We assess the individual canine across a matrix of 24 core traits that indicate a high potential for working in the crisis response environment.

During the mentorship, each new volunteer is paired with an experienced and certified NATIONAL crisis response canine team. This mentor guides the new handler and canine as they develop the special skills, teamwork, temperament, stress management and field experience required to work in the complex physical environments of disasters, and to safely interact with people experiencing intense emotions in the aftermath of crisis,

 

Funny Name. What does it mean?  The name Canis Major + Canis Minor™ means Big Dog and Little Dog.

It comes from the name of the two dog constellations that follow the hunter Orion constellation in the night sky. The special relationship between humans and dogs was immortalized by the ancient Greeks when they placed the hunter and his dogs together in the heavens for all eternity.

 

Pre-requisites for training   The work of crisis response is not for every dog.

While most dogs are sensitive to the feelings of people, many dogs find the intense emotions of people in crisis to be extremely distressing.

The canines' natural survival instincts prompt them to move away and avoid people, especially strangers, showing signs of distress, grief, frustration or anger.

In contrast, the crisis response canine truly enjoys people and actively seeks the company of people, including strangers in crisis.

The crisis response canine is healthy, mature, confident and affiliative, and intuitively moves towards the person who is distressed, grief-stricken, frustrated or angry.

As with any working canine, it’s important to know if the canine is willing and has the capacity to do the work at hand.

Before any training begins, NATIONAL Crisis Response Canines are first selected for temperament. We assess the individual canine across a rubric of 24 core traits that indicate a high potential for working in the crisis response environment.

Some of these core traits are innate to the individual canine, while others are the results of it’s life experiences and previous training.

The potential crisis response canine has been a member of the handler’s household for a minimum of six months and is:

  • Willing to work

 

  • 18 months old (minimum age)

 

  • Any breed or mix breed

 

  • Tolerant or disinterested in unfamiliar dogs

 

  • Tolerant of unfamiliar dogs in close proximity (less than 3 feet away)

 

  • Walks on loose leash at handler it’s side

 

  • Focused on handler regardless of distractions

 

  • Current with rabies vaccinations (or titers per state/local laws)

 

  • Negative for Fecal Parasite Test (within past 90 days)

 

 

Training the crisis response canine team:  The curriculum    NATIONAL’s mentorship curriculum is delivered through a combination of real world practicums, instructor-led webinars, self-paced on-line courses, workbooks and technology.

This evidence-based curriculum is continuously updated to include the latest research and most current emergency management forecasts.

Subject matter experts instruct on the psychological and behavioral considerations of crisis; advanced canine handling and public access skills; stress management, self-care and teamwork; FEMA Incident Command and phases of the disaster cycle; community partnering and outreach; and technology for responders.

During the mentorship, the canine team develops the special handling skills and deep partnership required for crisis response by working closely with their local ethical methods dog trainer.

NATIONAL’s curriculum exceeds the requirements set forth in 'The National Standards for Animal Assisted Crisis Response' (rev2010)

 

CURRICULUM

'Practice what you'll do.

Do what you practiced.'

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Real world and real people   The real world practicums of NATIONAL’s mentorship include a wide variety of experiences, drills, mock disasters, public access training, working with our community partners and more.

While the canine team is developing the skills and knowledge they need to be responders, they’re also supporting their community’s efforts to be prepared to respond to and recover from crises and disasters.

Instructor-led NATIONAL webinars provide the opportunity to share the lessons learned from 20 years of actual deployments, as well as provide the canine teams in-training with specific guidance about the skills they’re working to develop.

Some coursework is on-line and self-paced. This allows the canine teams in training to complete the required FEMA and other certificate courses at times that are optimal for them.

Where we have Canis Major mentors near the canine team in-training, they meet two or more times each month to work together. In the areas of the US where there are no certified teams nearby to mentor new volunteers, the Canis Major will work with them through frequent phone calls, emails, online video meetings, video uploads and other digital media.

In either case, as the canine is learning how to do his work, the handler is learning how to be the best handler for his canine partner. Together, the handler and the canine partner learn the advanced skills they need in order to work safely in disaster areas.

 

How crisis response canine training benefits local communities    NATIONAL Crisis Response Canine teams help our own communities to be better prepared for disasters and crisis.

NATIONAL identifies the community coalitions that respond to people in need, and extend our support and collaboration to them.

Some of the community coalitions we partner with include CERT and CISM teams, United Way agencies, regional American Red Cross and the Salvation Army.

We also partner with children & family services, domestic violence shelters, special needs schools, faith-based ministries, fire-rescue, law enforcement and employers, to name a few.

NATIONAL Crisis Response Canine teams support state and community emergency management multi-agency drills, disaster simulations and other training exercises, as well as outreach safety and health programs that teach residents how to be prepared for and respond to disasters.

Through collaborative efforts amongst community agencies, we build working relationships and knowledge of local resources in advance of a disaster. This allows better coordination of community volunteers to avoid duplication of services and help recognize unmet needs.

 

Join the Conversation    Consider becoming a force for good in your community by serving those who are hurting, and those who serve. Train with us, with or without a canine partner, to develop the skills that make a difference for someone in crisis.

We invite you to Join the Conversation to see how your experience and skills can be used for the greater good.

Join the Conversation is an informal conversation with a certified crisis response handler, a Canis Minor volunteer in-training, and folks like yourself who have questions about whether this work is right for them.

Please let us know if you’d like to Join the Conversation by simply submitting the Contact Us form. We’ll get back to you promptly with more info about an upcoming Join the Conversation.

 

Certify

'When you make a commitment,  you build hope.

When you keep it,  you build trust.'

Unknown

Commitment   Being there for someone on the worst day of their life takes training, practice, preparedness, readiness, skills, knowledge, and a deep personal commitment.

NATIONAL Crisis Response Canine teams are committed to providing a safe haven for people affected by crisis.

Following completion of an intensive 6 month training program and rigorous 3 day qualification practicals, only those responder and canine teams that are able to demonstrate proficiency in all aspects of crisis response are recommended for certification.

The crisis response canine team consist of one human and one canine. Each canine is a member of the handler’s household, lives indoors and is cared for and loved by the handler and members of their family.

Handlers deploy only with the canine partner they certified with; likewise, canines deploy only with the handler they certified with.

Certification requires continuous training, skills and knowledge building, demonstrated teamwork, community partner support, and active deployments for both the handler and their canine partner.

Every 3 years, certified canine teams repeat the rigorous 3 day qualification practicals to renew their certification.

 

Certification Requirements   Each crisis response canine handler must earn the following certificates:

  • Psychological First Aid (NCTSN National Child Traumatic Stress Network)
  • Suicide Prevention and Intervention (ASIST or ICISF)
  • First Aid (American Red Cross)
  • CPR/AED for Adult/Child/Infant (American Red Cross or American Heart Association)
  • Canine First Aid/CPR (Pet Saver)
  • FEMA Incident Command System ICS100
  • FEMA Incident Command System ICS 200

 

Each crisis response canine team must successfully complete the 6 month curriculum and practicums, and the 3 day qualification practicals.

They must demonstrate proficiency in safely and effectively delivering psychological first aid, advanced handling skills, public access skills, navigation and driving skills, technology and communication skills, and team work and chain of command (ICS).

Certification requires the handler to have a verified criminal history background clearance.

Certification also requires that the handler completes a two hour instructor-led training on confidentiality and ethics, and signs a Confidentiality and Code of Ethics Agreement signifying their commitment to protecting those we serve, and those we serve alongside.

Certification requires continuous training, skills and knowledge building, demonstrated teamwork, community partner support, and active deployments for both the handler and their canine partner.

Every 3 years, certified canine teams repeat the rigorous 3 day qualification practicals to renew their certification.

 

RESPOND

'Being a responder means

being there for people on the worst day of their lives -

sometimes on the day their lives end.' 

Brian K. Rice

Preparedness   Bad things happen to good people every day, at all hours of the day and night.

Being a NATIONAL Crisis Response Canine team means being prepared to immediately respond, to provide a safe haven for someone who’s hurting, no matter when the call comes in.  It means being fully present for someone for however long you’re needed.

 

Community response   In hometowns across the country, NATIONAL Crisis Response Canine teams are prepared to respond to critical incidents like the child or family overwhelmed by personal crisis, a neighborhood coming together after a disaster, or a community touched by tragedy at school.

 

Incident Command response   When authorized to mobilize by Incident Command, NATIONAL Crisis Response Canines is also ready to respond with self-provisioned strike teams to mass casualty incidents.

 

Self-Provisioned strike teams   We work alongside responders, community organizations, law enforcement, NGO’s and counselors without charge.

Each canine strike team deploys with its own strike team lead, provisions, water, food, travel, transportation, lodging, logistics and safety, for the duration of the deployment.

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