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Leerburg Dog Training Blog

The best source for dog training news, tricks and treats, right from world class leaders in dog training.

The best source for dog training news, tricks and treats, right from world class leaders in dog training.

The age of the self proclaimed expert!

I frequently get contacts from people in the dog world. One type or group of contacts sticks out more than any others.

Before I explore this let me explain my place in the big wide world of working dogs. I am a law enforcement canine instructor, judge, certifying official, and teaching judge. In that capacity I work with handler, instructors, and dogs that are, for the most part, public safety animals. Those handled by law enforcement, rescue personnel, military, and adjunct services such as security agents contracted to by public safety. I don’t do civilian dog stuff except in the sport capacity as a volunteer (as I believe it should be).

So, back to my start on this blog entry. I get contacts from people all the time that want to break into the business of police dogs. Good for them. Go become a public safety officer, get into dog stuff and we will work together. I will back you 100%.

If you think that by weaseling into the work through some back door please look elsewhere. I have had my fill of back stabbing, rumor mongering, pains in the ass to waste my time on you.

Sounds awful right? Shouldn’t a well intention-ed person be able to help out? Can’t they take a class and become a dog trainer? Can’t they buy a custom suit, train in some obscure sport with minimal or no success on the leash and become a dog trainer? Sure, but that ain’t a law enforcement of public safety instructor…..two entirely different animals. Oh, I know….bunches of dog trainers out there will say they are better dog trainers than cops! I agree but you have missed the point.

I have spent many many hours….mostly uncompensated, fixing well intended training training that has had negative consequences in the public safety sector. I get it, you know how to train a dog! But, you have no idea how to deploy, how, conduct business, how remain between the lines in regards to public policy, legal constraints, and tactics. None, even if you know a cop, are friends with a cop, were mentored by a cop, you cannot have anything other than a cursory knowledge of the job.

In this world of professional decoys (guys that bought a custom suit and played in MR or PSA briefly), nosework competitors, IPO champions be aware, that there is much knowledge in these groups but be sure you are guided through the pitfalls of well intended training that could negatively effect the outcomes of your job!

If this pisses you off, go become a bonfide handler, public safety instructor, and get some field experience. Then come talk to me. Till then… of luck in your sport, pet dog business, or hobby.


  1. Avatar
    Lt. Richard Dickson
    April 19, 2019


  2. Avatar
    Mark Ferrasci
    May 20, 2019

    Been training dogs most of my life.. The one thing I cant do or don’t have experience and skill with, is tactics. How to deploy and handle the dog in a real life street situation. Until and if I ever get the chance to do so on a regular basis, I would never try and pass myself off as someone that is qualified to do so..

    As always Mr. Shelstad, much respect and appreciation for what you do..

Sorry, comments are closed.

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