The Woes and Joys of Transitioning K9 Partners



Today, Stacy, Robin, and Crystal discuss the ins and outs of working with a new K9 partner. They explain how to familiarize yourself with the dog’s personality, work ethic, and learned mechanics, as well as how to help them get into the right frame of mind as the two of you build your relationship.

All the while, our hosts encourage us to remember that with every K9 partner, “you have this incredible genetic package and you’re trying to do justice to that.”

They also speak on the importance of working on play development as early in your dog’s life as possible, as this is what serves as their reinforcer as your puppy ages. Likewise they stress the development of the most foundational element in any K9 partnership: communication.

Our hosts remind us that transitioning K9 partners is not replacement. Rather, you are searching for a successor, and with each new successor, your sophistication as a K9 professional and ability to train for excellence improves.

Key Topics:

  • Adjusting to your new K9 partner’s mechanics (2:06)

  • Working with sister K9s (7:33)

  • Why “certified” doesn’t mean “operational,” and the importance of play development (17:30)

  • Adding sophistication to how you train with each new K9 partner (20:18)

  • Making sure you and your dog have a similar personality and work ethic (25:14)

  • You can never replace a dog—you find a successor (41:14)

  • Focus on one dog at a time (55:02)

  • Closing thoughts (1:09:12)

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