Current Instructors

We are pleased to bring forward another great set of instructors for our 2023 seminar!


Karen Paquette

Karen began her SAR career in 2003 in Pima County, Tucson, AZ, and has deployed on over 150 searches in wilderness, urban, water, and support of law enforcement investigations. Karen serves as Training Director with Pima County’s volunteer K9SAR team, Southwest Rescue Dogs, Inc., (since 2014). She is NASAR Lead Evaluator in Land HRD and Area Search (2010), has achieved NASAR certifications (and recertifications) with three canine partners in Land HRD, Water HRD, Area live find, as well as IPWDA HRD Land and Crime Scene certification. Karen has assisted with FACTS workshops since 2013 serving as wrangler, assistant instructor, and instructor. Karen has planned, assisted with, and instructed at several Arizona State SAR conferences and SAR HRD seminars. She is now training with her 6th canine partner.

Karen retired from the field of education after 25 years, working mostly in Special Education with students with behavior disorders, developmental disorders, and learning disabilities. She also worked in a leadership capacity as a teacher mentor, coach, curriculum support provider, behavior interventionist, and specific academic interventionist. She achieved KPA-CTP (Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner) in 2018. Karen enjoys gleaning training skills and concepts from sport dog training to adapt and implement in SAR training.


Supporting Karen with Area will be Mark Paquette.


Joni Owen

Joni Owen has a bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from Tarleton State University and a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice Leadership and management from Sam Houston State University. Joni is currently working as a Texas Game Warden K9 handler. Her first K9 partner K9 Bosch was certified in Human remains detection through Utah POST and NAPWDA. She and her K9 partner assisted many local, state, and federal agencies with calls for service.


Joni is on her second K9 partner, K9 Cam. She has been instructing at the Forensic Anthropology Center is San Marcos Texas, as well as traveling around the US to multiple locations with her company, K9 squared, to instruct various Search and Rescue Teams.

Joni takes time to train the dog/handler team individually and has skill in adjusting scenarios to meet each team’s needs. Joni loves instructing and wants the human remains detection K9 handler community to continually get better as a whole.


Deb Hurlburt & Joe Hurlburt

Deb Hurlburt majored in Behavioral Psychology, Philosophy and minored in Religion at Saint Louis University. She started Ski Patrolling in 1993 and started in Search and Rescue in 1999. She became a professional ski patroller at Grand Targhee Resort in Alta WY in 2000 where she worked with their Avalanche Dog program. She joined Wyoming K9 in 2006 as a flanker/support member.
In 2008 she started her first dog and since has trained and certified 2 more K9 partners in Area Cadaver, Crime Scene HR, Avalanche, Water Boat and Shore, Wilderness Trailing, Urban Trailing and LE Tracking.
Deb has served countless missions for local Sheriffs, the FBI, the National Parks, the Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the Oregon and California Trails Association. She is currently the President of Idaho Search and Rescue Dogs and part owner and instructor at Dog Training in the Tetons.
She owes her success to many well established instructors such as Steve Stewart and Edwin Grant from the INBTI and Kevin Baughn of GAK9. Her greatest influences have been from Ann Christensen the NAPWDA SAR liaison, owner of High Country Shepherds and founding member of Idaho Search and Rescue Dogs and Sandy West K9 handler from Pacific Crest Search Dogs and owner of Boulder Creek K9 West.
Deb enjoys helping teams reach their highest potential by challenging them through thoughtfully set up problems, helping them to learn to read their dogs in demanding environments.



Joe Hurlburt started in search and rescue in 1999 and became a professional ski patroller at Grand Targhee in 2001.  He served as an avalanche forecaster and head of explosives. 

In 2006 he started his first dog for avalanche rescue and recovery. In 2008 he certified with the Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dog Association and also joined Wyoming K9 Search and Rescue and served as their Testing and Training Officer until joining Idaho Search and Rescue Dogs in 2018.
Joe Hurlburt lives in Driggs Idaho where he is part owner and instructor at Dog Training in the Tetons. He is the Testing and Training Officer for Idaho Search and Rescue Dogs. Joe retired from Teton County Fire Department in 2020 where he was a Firefighter/EMT.
Joe has certified his dogs in Wilderness Trailing, Urban Trailing, Law Enforcement Tracking, Avalanche, Area Cadaver, Area Live, Building and Water Boat & Shore. Joe’s current SAR dog Archer is certified in Trailing, LE Tracking, Cadaver and Water Boat & Shore. Joe also enjoys working his dog Zeke, a non SAR K9, to assist local hunters, guides and outfitters for blood trailing injured game.