K9 Luna and K9 Gordon are Certified!

September 8, 2020 at 3:13 pm

We have concluded our 10-week basic search and rescue K9 detection school with our two new K9 teams, Warden Michael Latti and K9 Luna along with Warden Preston Pomerleau and K9 Gordon. Both teams recently passed their field certification tests in obedience, article search, tracking, and air scent searches. Along with the field proficiency standards, each handler must successfully pass a written test outlining the fundamentals of their training, K9 health, and deployment strategies.

Warden Michael Latti and K9 Luna along with Warden Preston Pomerleau and K9 Gordon

The growth and development each team has made throughout the 10 weeks has been remarkable to see let alone be a part of. As a training coordinator, there are constant evaluations and judgment calls of pushing teams or holding them back as their skills develop in the training process. Much of K9 training is a fluid and dynamic process that involves many split-second decisions in a training session to make each session productive. Much of this job is more about training people than the K9s themselves. Watching each handler grow and grasp the concepts of K9 training and establish clear communication between themselves and their K9 partners, is probably one of the most rewarding aspects of training new K9 teams. Each K9 and handler team is unique, all having their own personalities and motivations, finding the balance of what works to keep the progression of training productive is a challenge that never ends.

At the conclusion of this basic search and rescue detection school, our new K9 teams are proficient in finding lost or missing people, tracking fish and wildlife violators, and locating evidence critical to criminal cases. The training never ends for these new teams, it is difficult to prepare them for every scenario in the real world, but they each have a solid foundation in the disciplines to be successful and reliable. Each team will continue to build their knowledge and skill sets in all disciplines as they apply what they will learn on each call for service.

There is no real scale to effectively measure the amount of time and dedication these handlers have poured into their initial K9 training. I can say with full confidence they each have done so with our K9 unit's mission at the forefront, to have the most effective and reliable K9s readily available to protect and serve Maine’s people and natural resources. Wardens Latti and Pomerleau will quickly learn the honor that comes with working a K9 in our state as they are called upon for the countless searches to come in their careers as K9 handlers.

Read more from the Following Maine’s Newest K9 Handlers series:

Hasty Air Scent Search

Evidence Search 

Advanced Tracking 

The Start of Tracking 

Basic Obedience 

Selecting the most promising K9s for the Maine Warden Service