2016 Fall Canine Seminar

The 2016 Alpha Search and Recovery Fall Canine Seminar will be hosted in Huntsville, Texas on November 3rd through the 6th. Every year Alpha Search and Recovery has held a seminar for search dogs and their handlers as well as provide certification opportunities through NASAR.

National Association for Search and Rescue
The purpose of this seminar is to further the training and education of individuals and their K9 partners so that those teams can go back to their hometowns and make a positive difference for their community and region. We bring in top-quality instructors and utilize the most up-to-date techniques and training aides available to maximize what our students get out of their training.


Having a discussion about training for the day.

During this seminar, students and their K9’s will be challenged by both indoor and outdoor scenarios as well as some classroom instruction. There will be certification opportunities and we encourage your feedback as to what certifications you may be interested in acquiring.

The seminar is open to all levels of training, from new to the search and rescue field or a seasoned veteran, we welcome you to join us.

INBTI Logo - International Bloodhound Training Institute LogoTrailing students should purchase or be familiar with the book “How to Train a Police Bloodhound and Scent Discriminating Patrol Dog.” as the instruction and scenarios will be based on these methods. The book may be purchased through Amazon by following the link or by contacting us ahead of time and we will bring some for sale. The International Bloodhound Training Institute (INBTI) will be providing the instructors.

Maverick working a bush line on an incline.

HRD Canine Maverick

There are a variety of registration opportunities, with and without lodging and/or food, and individual options for NASAR Certifications. Preference for NASAR Certifications will go to those attending the seminar, but if there are available slots, we will open additional slots. Please contact the team (info@alphasar.org) if you are interested in a NASAR Certification, but not the entire seminar. Please visit our registration page to register and pay. All registration is first come, first served.

Visit our photo gallery to see pictures of the past years events.

Instructors (click for bio):

  • Cindy McArthur- NASAR HRD Evaluator and Instructor



    Cindy, a professional dog training since 1977, holds a Master of Education degree from the University of Arizona. She began her SAR career in 2000 as a dog handler with Yavapai County Sheriff’s Response Team Search Dog Unit, where she held the offices of Canine Elevator, Training Coordinator and eventually Strike Team Leader. In 2005 her two eldest dogs, Nitro and Levi, jointly received the Association of Pet Dog Trainers’ SAR Dog of the Year award. Since 2006 she has been a certified Wilderness First Responder, and in 2007 she was inducted into the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Search and Management Unit.

    In 2008 she earned her NASAR SARTECH II Certification and currently holds SARTECH II Evaluator status. In 2009 Cindy and her youngest dog, Inspector Gadget, were the recipients of NASAR’s Peter A. Chaney Canine Handler Scholarship. In late 2009 she moved to Flagstaff, AZ and joined the Coconio County Sheriff’s SAR Canine Unit. She is currently a K9 handler and has held the positions of K9 Team Leader and K9 Evaluator. In 2011 she also became a member of K-9 Search & Rescue, Inc in Dolores, Colorado and their AZ Division Supervisor. In 2012 she was awarded Member of the Year by Coconino County Sheriff’s Sar. Her dog Nitro was posthumously awarded the NASAR 2012 K9 of the Year.

    She currently owns and Stretch who holds NASAR Area Canine SARTECH I and HRD Land Type III certifications.  She also owns and handles MacGyver who is a HRD Specialists holding a NASAR HRD Land Tyle III certification. Cindy is a NASAR Canine SARTECH Lead Evaluator for AREA and HRD Land and an AKC CGC Evaluator.

  • Bill Dotson- HRD Instructor

    Bill DotsonBill Dotson began dog training in 1971 with AKC obedience. He worked in Schutzhund (German Protection Dog sport) in 1975 and earned a “Schutzhund I” title. He founded and was Training Director of California Rescue Dog Association, Inc in 1977. He has responded to numerous national and international disasters and assisted FEMA in developing their criteria for FEMA Disaster Task Force dog teams. He also has developed and delivered many seminars on Search and Rescue, Disaster, and Cadaver search dogs. He advises search and rescue teams nationally and internationally. He is the founder and president of Applied Technologies, K9 Training Director of FEMA Virginia Task Force 2 (Ret), and responsible for developing the K9 component. He is also the founder of Search Dog Organization of North America and is Founding President.

  • Diane Christian- NASAR Trailing Evaluator

    Bio coming soon.

  • Opal Kocher- Trailing Instructor

    Opal Kocher

    Opal Kocher

    Bio coming soon.

  • Kevin Pirtle- Trailing Assistant

    Kevin PirtleKevin is a firefighter/paramedic at DFW International Airport. He is an Asst. Instructor for INBTI and Asst. Trainer for American Mantrailing, Police Work Dog Association.  Kevin is a member of MARK9 Search and Rescue in Dallas, Texas and Cross Timbers Emergency Response Team in Stephenville, Texas.

    Kevin has 3 bloodhounds that are certified mantrailers through American Mantrailing, Police Work Dog Association. He has worked cases with city and county law enforcement organizations.


2014 Alpha SAR Fall Canine Seminar Goodie Bag

Seminar Goodie Bags and Auction:

Alpha Search and Recovery is known for having some of the best goodie bags and auction items of any SAR Seminar and this year’s seminar will be no exception. Last year’s goodie bags were valued at over $250 and the auction had over $10,000 worth of canine gear, search and rescue pack items, survival gear, and more! The picture on the right is a representation of the gear we had in our goodie bags from 2014. The bags included lots of dog treats, leashes, a SOG knife, wool socks, water bottles, cleaning products, and much more! As we get our sponsors for this year’s goodie bags we will post their information and links.

Click here to see this year’s sponsors.

Canine Seminar Accommodations:

Accommodations and food will be provided by Carolina Creek in Huntsville, TX. The seminar will take place at the The W!ld Retreat with over 200 acres available to us. There are options when you register to include lodging and/or food. Please select the options that best fit you. As there may be locals who will be attending, we wanted to offer a separate option for just food and no lodging.

  • Camp Cabins at The W!ld
  • The W!ld
  • The W!ld
  • The Jungle

Canine Seminar Tentative Schedule as of Aug. 8th (Click for Info):

  • Thursday, November 3rd

    Check-in: Morning

    Trailing: Training starts at 10am and NASAR Certifications – All Day

    NASAR HRD / Area Certifications: All Day

  • Friday, November 4th

    Trailing: Training and NASAR Certifications – All Day

    HRD: Training – All Day

    Area Search / Air Scent: Training – All Day

    Classroom Session: Evening

  • Saturday, November 5th

    Trailing: Training and NASAR Certifications – All Day

    HRD: Training  – All Day

    Area Search / Air Scent: Training – All Day

    Classroom Session: Evening

    Seminar Auction: Evening

  • Sunday, November 6th

    Trailing: Training – Until the Afternoon

    HRD: Training – Until the Afternoon

    Area Search / Air Scent: Until the Afternoon

Certification Opportunities:

National Association for Search and Rescue

National Association for Search and RescueNASAR Certifications will be offered during the seminar. Please be sure to check your disciplines’ prerequisites on the NASAR Certifications page before registering for the certification opportunity. The written test (for those needing it) will be Thursday. All certification will take place on Friday. The schedule may change once we know the interest for NASAR Certification.

Canine Seminar Costs:

Seminar costs are outlined in the table below. There are registration options for almost any combination, so you may choose to stay and/or eat at home or a hotel if you do not wish to stay at camp. There are options for an additional dog, observer only, and the variety of certifications that will be offered.

          Seminar Registration Handler:
         General Total:

Add-ons / Options:
         Seminar Registration Observer Only:
         Additional Canine:
         NASAR Evaluation fee (Member):
         NASAR Evaluation fee (Non-Member):

To register visit our shop and “purchase” a registration based on the discipline you would like to participate in or choose observer if you are not participating with a dog: http://www.alphasar.org/shop/

Cancellation Policy:

100% refund for cancellation before October 1.

50% refund for cancellation before October 15.

No refund after.

Countdown to our Fall Seminar!