Over the years we have had an amazing cadre of instructors. Below are the instructors that have supported this seminar over the years through sharing their knowledge with participants.
2023 was our fifth year hosting the Southern CA K9 Seminar. Instructors included Karen & Mark Paquette for Area, Joni Owen for HRD, and Deb & Joe Hurlburt for Trailing.
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 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 & 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.
2022 was our fourth year hosting the Southern CA K9 Seminar. Instructors included Chris Terpstra for Area, Bonnie Coe for HRD, and Jason Supple for Trailing.
Jason Supple is the owner of Ardent K9 Training LLC., a combat disabled veteran operated business. Jason served in the United States Marine Corps from 2008-2017 as an 0311 Infantryman having served on 5 deployments including 2 combat tours to Afghanistan.
In addition to working full time with dogs, Jason is also a volunteer with Jerome Police Department where he is a K9 Trainer and Trailing handler. Jason’s current partner is K9 Logan, a German Shepherd. Jason and his K9 partner Logan received a Life Saving accommodation in 2021. Jason has assisted multiple agencies in Arizona with establishing K9 programs from the ground up. One of his passions in dog training is to train handlers to read and handle their K9 well in their chosen training disciplines. Jason is also a volunteer with Jerome Fire Department and specializes in Technical Rope Rescue and Swift Water Rescue.
Jason has acquired numerous certifications from Georgia K9 National Training Center (GAK9) in the specialty areas of K9 Trailing and Imprinting, K9 Trailing and Scent Theory, Scent Evidence and Crime Scene Processing, MPC Combat Tactical Tracking, Trailing Trainers Course, Detection Trainers Course, K9 Health and Welfare, K9 Nutrition and Wellness.
In Technical Rope Rescue Training, Jason has acquired the following certifications: Technical Rope Rescue 1-3, Ropes that Rescue Artificial High Directional, Tactical Wilderness Rescue, Mountain Rescue Workshop and Rescue 3 Swift Water Rescue.
2022 was our third year hosting the Southern CA K9 Seminar. Instructors included George Huertas for Area, Roy Lopez for HRD, and Michelle Delaney for Trailing.
George Huertas began his career in the Border Patrol at the Ajo Border Patrol Station in 2005. He transferred to San Diego, California in 2007 and has been stationed there since. He has deployed to several counties over the United States in response to Search and Rescue Missions. He joined the United States Border Patrol Search and Rescue team in 2008 and went to SAR Canine school shortly after in 2010. From 2010 until 2021 he has worked with his canine partners throughout the southern border in response to Search and Rescue missions and was responsible for over 1000 human detections over that span. During that tenure, George went to SAR Canine Instructor school, and worked alongside retired Border Patrol Agent Roy Lopez, instructing and maintaining training for the SAR Canine program in southern California.
Roy Lopez started his career in the U.S. Navy in 1987. He completed SEAL training in 1989 and was deployed as a Special Warfare Operator during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
After the Navy, he joined the Border Patrol in 1997 and became a founding member of both the U.S. Border Patrol’s Search, Trauma and Rescue Team (BORSTAR) as well as the BORSTAR K9 Program.
Mr. Lopez became a SAR canine handler in 2001 and graduated the Border Patrol’s SAR Canine Instructor School a couple years later. As the agency’s first certified trailing canine handler, he was able to record nearly 2,000 people finds over his extensive career.
Being a member of one of the busiest SAR Teams in the country Roy quickly recognized a need for human remains detection dogs to assist in recovery efforts during searches. He attended the six week New England State Police Cadaver Dog Course in 2003 and set out on a mission to develop a full HRD course for the Border Patrol. In 2007, his plans were realized when the first course was launched. This is the Federal Government’s only complete HRD course. Graduates of the 400 hour course include Border Patrol Agents, State and Local Law Enforcement and many Foreign Law Enforcement Officers. Both nationally and internationally numerous missing persons have been recovered and many criminals have been prosecuted as a result of this program.
Roy is a Master Trainer of Cadaver Detection and Tracking and Trailing Teams for the North American Police Work Dog Association (NAPWDA). In this role, he has had the opportunity to train and certify volunteers and law enforcement teams from around the country.
Roy retired from the Border Patrol in December 2019 and immediately founded Core Canine Concepts, LLC. Through this new venture he desires to impart his vast experience and knowledge to enhance the skills and abilities of K9 Teams throughout the world. He lives in San Diego, CA with his wife of 25 years. They have three children, two grandchildren and two grand dogs, Lexy and Jolie.
Michelle Delaney has been a firefighter EMT for 28 years. Michelle Delaney also functions as an Associate member of Southwest Florida K9 Search Unit and is a K9 handler as well as a member of USAR Task force 6. Michelle is primary trainer and owner of Shelzsmide K9s that specializes in tracking and trailing, and is an evaluator for American Kennel Association. Michelle has assisted with seminars in Advanced Man Tracker with numerous organizations such as National Network of Canine Detection Services (NNCDS), Arizona SAR K9 Conference, Canine Search and Recovery, Inc (CSAR).
Michelle is SAR TECH II certified. She has seventeen years of experience in search and rescue and has been deployed on numerous searches with the FBI and Law enforcement agencies.
She has trained and certified 4 German Shepherds in live find and area search with NASAR, National Association for Search and Rescue. And in Tracking, Trailing, Building search, Area search and Obedience through North American Police Dog Association (NAPWDA).
Michelle has attended numerous seminars and classes, ranging from search and rescue techniques, crime scene preservation to FEMA classes. She also provides presentations to law enforcement and other emergency responder groups on Lost Person Behavior, Lost Person Strategies, Components of Search and Rescue and Scent Theory.
2020 was our second year hosting the Southern CA K9 Seminar. 2020 was especially challenging due to the pandemic. However, due to the flexibility and understanding of our students, instructors, and staff, we were able to have THE BEST SAR seminar of 2020 (never mind that it was the ONLY SAR seminar). Instructors included Nadine Conner for Area, Sonja Nordstrom for HRD, and Dr. Coby Webb for Trailing.
Nadine Conner has worked for over 30 years as a professional dog trainer and working with the public. She currently teaches classes in basic pet training, competitive obedience, rally, nosework, is a Canine Good Citizen evaluator, therapy dog evaluator, and has done limited service dog training. Nadine has been involved in Search and Rescue since 2009 and has certified her German Shepherd, Carlee, in Air Scent and her German Shorthair Pointer, Freck, in HRD both land and water.
Nadine is currently an evaluator for NASAR and AMPWDA and has taught at seminars for both organizations. She has accumulated over 200 hours supporting the Forensic Anthropology Center at Texas State (FACTS) for their HRD K9 seminar that is held biannually. In addition, she has attended over 300 hours of SAR seminars throughout the United States. Nadine currently is the K9 Director for Great Plains Search and Rescue K9s, Inc. which is a SAR team based in Kansas. Nadine is a lead evaluator for NASAR in the following areas: Land Evaluator for Area Search, HRD Land Type Other, II and IV, SARTECH II and III evaluator and currently holds her SARTECH II. She is also an AMPWDA Master Trainer and Evaluator for Area Search. She holds certificates for Kansas Fire & Rescue SUSAR Conference and Technical Conference. Nadine has completed training from the University of Edinburgh Animal Behaviour and Welfare, the Duke University Dog Emotion and Cognition, Canine Theriogenology for Dogs, Introduction to Forensic Science, Forensic Psychology, and Witness Investigation.
Sonja Nordstrom is a retired Special Agent of the FBI with 24 years of SAR/Detection K9 experience, 10 years involved in competitive dog sports (Schutzhund/IPO, French Ring, Mondio Ring, and Scentwork/Nosework) and nearly 6 years as a professional dog trainer since retiring from the FBI. This history has resulted in a unique blend of SAR K9 training and field work, investigative field experience, legal and courtroom experience, and a treasure trove of component and precision-based K9 training techniques to address the most challenging aspects and applications of Human Remains Detection K9 training for both Handler and K9.
Sonja began her journey in K9 SAR and Detection in 1995. For 10 years, she served as the K9 Specialist member of the Los Angeles FBI Evidence Response Team (ERT) during which Sonja and her K9s completed thousands of hours of training under nationally and internationally recognized K9 trainers, attained state and national level search dog certifications, and completed hundreds of field missions with her K9s for the FBI and local law enforcement both professionally and as a volunteer. At the same time, she received training and field experience in the collection of forensic evidence with specialized training in clandestine grave/human remains recovery. In 2003, Sonja received her Detector Dog Trainer’s Certification from Vohne Liche Kennels and later developed a 40-hour P.O.S.T. Cadaver Dog course for Law Enforcement K9 Handlers. She has provided hands-on SAR and detection K9 training to volunteers and Law Enforcement K9 Handlers. Her K9 deployments with the FBI ERT included supporting kidnap/homicide investigations throughout the Western United States, in high threat locations within Mexico, in the Middle East, and several disaster scene deployments to include the Pentagon after the 9/11 attacks. Since retiring from the FBI in 2014, Sonja has also deployed to Europe with her K9 to assist in locating the remains of WWII MIA soldiers.
While serving as a Special Agent, Sonja was the Case Agent for hundreds of violent crimes investigations, handling and supporting all investigative aspects from the initial complaint to final conviction and sentencing. For each of these investigations, Sonja conducted victim, witness, and subject interviews; prepared, coordinated, planned, and executed federal search and arrest warrants; and testified in all phases of prosecution. She is also a court expert with respect to cadaver K9s in the state of Utah. Sonja certified as an FBI General Police Instructor and provided training to federal agents and hundreds of local law enforcement personnel on topics including the use of K9s in missing person/homicide cases and cyber related crimes against children. In addition to her investigative assignments, Sonja served as the Innocent Images National Initiative (IINI) Coordinator and as the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crimes (NCAVC) Coordinator for the Salt Lake City Division of the FBI which covers the territories of Utah, Western Wyoming, and Idaho.
Sonja currently volunteers as the President, Lead Trainer, and Handler for Great Basin K9 SAR, and deploys with her 5 th HRD certified K9. She also owns and operates Sonja’s Dog Training where she trains and has worked with dogs of all ages, breeds, and temperaments; offers Nosework/Scentwork workshops; and is both a UKC Nosework and AKC Scentwork Judge.
Dr. Coby Webb
Dr. Coby Webb started her law enforcement career in 1992 when she knew her goal was to be a police officer and eventually a K-9 handler. While working a patrol assignment, she was asked to research the need of a Bloodhound for the Sheriff’s Department. She found there was a local volunteer and other volunteers in neighboring counties working Bloodhounds for her Department.
She began to attend the volunteer trainings and found other sworn officers were starting Bloodhound programs for their Departments. She was told and believed these dogs could track/trail-aged old trails and were able to scent discriminate. However, later she found a Bloodhound is a dog and a dog is not perfect nor can it be a miracle animal. She wrote the proposal for her Department to start a Bloodhound program, but it was denied. She was told if she volunteered her time and proved the Bloodhound was “reliable, needed, and an asset” for the Department they may adopt the program.
Webb obtained a Bloodhound from a working litter and volunteered her time to attended tracking/trailing schools in Colorado, Maryland, New York, and South Carolina. She obtained tracking certifications for her Bloodhound and began call outs on her own time. Soon the Bloodhound began finding suspects and a lost hiker, which saved countless man hours. Sheriff’s Administration realized the benefits of a bloodhound program and adopted the program into the Sheriff’s Department.
Webb believed the bloodhound program was a success because of the support she received from the Sheriff’s Administration, and due to the high volume of requests that were received by deputies who realized the bloodhound program was an asset to their investigations. Webb’s goal was always to be a patrol dog handler, and volunteered her own time with the canine team to agitate and help in any way needed. Webb tested for a canine position, and was selected as a canine handler with a Belgian Malinois in 2000. Webb became the first and only “dual handler” with the Sheriff’s Department.
During her K-9 years, Webb received many distinguished awards to include; Officer of the Year, Distinguished Service Medal, CPOA Officer of Distinction, Hero’s Award, and AKC Honorable Mention for 2 years in a row along with numerous commendations.
Webb’s Bloodhounds, Maggie Mae, and Abbigail, were on the FBI’s call-out list and responded to Samantha Runnion and Danielle Van Damm kidnappings along with other high profile cases. She has also worked numerous SWAT missions with her Bloodhound at local and national levels including the Sierra SWAT Challenge for several years. She was also asked to participate and teach tracking/trailing with SWAT for Urban Shield.
Webb earned her Instructor, Evaluator, and Judge Certifications for tracking/trailing or all dog breeds. Webb does not believe Bloodhound’s are the only dog breed that can scent discriminate and trail. She stayed in the K-9 program for years and worked four patrol dogs. She furthered her patrol dog experience by attending K-9 SWAT schools with her patrol dog and worked two narcotic dogs.
Webb became the K-9 Sergeant for a 22 dog program for her Department. Approximately, eight years ago, Webb traveled to Africa and assisted the Mara Conservancy with tracking poachers. Webb receives continual invites to travel international and teach tracking/trailing for all breeds. Webb is currently training Bloodhounds in Southern California for several large law enforcement agencies on the west-coast.
Webb is also the Founder of Find’em Scent Safe which is a tool to help families be proactive to collect and store their loved one’s scent to help K-9 search teams with an uncontaminated scent article if a loved one is ever missing or lost. www.findemscentsafe.com.
Lastly, in 2010, Webb earned a Doctorate Degree in Management with a focus on Organizational Leadership. Webb is a Recognized Court Expert in Scent Discrimination and Tracking/Trailing. Webb is a Board Member of the National Police Bloodhound Association and is consulted on high profile cases regarding tracking evidence.
Webb is a mother of 13 year old twins and is a Police Captain in Southern California.
2019 was our inaugural year hosting the Southern CA K9 Seminar. Instructors included the late Cindy McArthur for Area, Bill Dotson for HRD, and Roy Lopez for Trailing. We will be forever grateful for these instructors taking a chance on an unknown and coming from near and far to share their knowledge with participants that year.
Cindy McArthur started training dogs and their owners in 1977 on an in-home basis, specializing in obedience and behavior modification. She has been a SAR K9 instructor since 2000 when she joined the Search Dog Unit of Yavapai County Sheriff’s Response Team in Prescott, AZ. Since 2009 Cindy has been with Coconino County Sheriff’s SAR K9 Team in Flagstaff, AZ. In 2011 she also became a distant member of the K-9 Search & Rescue, Inc in Dolores, Colorado and their AZ Division Supervisor. Cindy has been deployed by the National Park Service at the Grand Canyon numerous times. Her HRD K9s have worked cold case missions for the Federal Bureau of Investigations, AZ Sheriff’s Office, private investigators and AZ Police departments. She has trained and NASAR certified 9 SAR K9s over the years who have performed hundreds of missions, accumulating numerous documented live, HR and evidence finds. Cindy has instructed both Area and HRD in CA, TX, AZ, NC, LA, OK and NM for various SAR organizations. She is an instructor/evaluator for SDONA, Warby Working Dogs, NASAR and NASDN.
Bill Dotson began dog training in 1971 when he and his wife became interested in AKC obedience. He later transitioned to Schutzhund (German protection dog sport) in 1975 and then founded and was training director of the California Rescue Dog Association in 1977. He earned “Mission Ready” status with the Swiss Disaster Dog Association after training in Switzerland. From 1978 to 1980, he assisted the Davis California police department as a volunteer police dog team. After moving to Virginia, Bill joined Dogs East and was an operational member from 1982 to 1997. During his long canine career, Bill has responded to a very long list of national and international disasters. Because of his experience, he was tasked with assisting FEMA in the development of their criteria for FEMA Disaster Task Force dog teams. He also worked with Virginia Task Force 2 (VA-TF2) in the development of their K9 teams. Bill is a regular speaker and seminar leader on Search and Rescue, Disaster and Cadaver search dogs. He has acted as an advisor to numerous search and rescue teams around the world. He is also the founder and President of Applied K9 Technologies.
Roy Lopez started his career in the U.S. Navy in 1987. He completed SEAL training in 1989 and was deployed as Special Warfare Operator during the first gulf war.
After the Navy, he joined the Border Patrol in 1997 and became a founding member of both the U.S. Border Patrol’s Search, Trauma and Rescue Team (BORSTAR) as well as the BORSTAR K9 Program.
Mr. Lopez became a SAR canine handler in 2001. Since then he has had nearly 2,000 people finds via tracking and air scent as well as numerous rescues and recoveries. He has personally trained 11 dogs from beginning through certification in the disciplines of trailing, area search, and/or cadaver.
Since graduating Canine Instructor School in 2004, Mr. Lopez has had the following accomplishments:
- Master Trainer of Police Work Dog Teams for the North American Police Work Dog Association (NAPWDA)
- Graduate The New England State Police Cadaver Dog Training Program
- Developed the Border Patrol’s Canine Human Remains Detection Course
- Founding member of the Border Patrol’s Horse Patrol Canine program
- Taught canine related courses and conducted certification testing at workshops and conferences around the nation
- Executed (7) Introduction to Tracking Workshops for more than 20 Narcotics Detection Canine/Teams
- Awarded the Blue Knight Award for the tracking rescue of a newborn baby
Roy is currently the dayshift supervisor on the San Diego Sector BORSTAR Team. He lives in San Diego, CA with his wife of 25 years. They have three children and one grandchild.