Owner / Trainer
My name is Patrick Currey, I would like to take a moment to tell you a little about myself and how I can help you become a better leader, handler and a happier dog owner. My background is as a working dog handler for over 16 years and a trainer for the last five years. I have worked and trained six full-service K9s in the United States Army including narcotics, explosive and personal protection. I served five of my eight years in Europe, while serving many assignments in many different countries.
Upon leaving the military, I began working as a trainer for Leader Dogs for the Blind in Rochester, MI., where I trained ten canines to guide the blind students. This education became very important in my quest to become the trainer I am today. For the last eight years of my working dog career, I was a narcotics detection handler for the United States Customs Service. During my career, I trained and worked three narcotics canines, ending my career with K9 Sonny. This career also gave me the opportunity to select over 60 K9s for the Customs Program, as well as, being the field training officer for two narcotics and two explosive detection K9 Teams.
Many of you may be asking how this will relate to me helping you become a better leader, then a better handler, while others may feel there is no correlation between my experience and the type of training you are doing. I disagree and will explain. Throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to watch and work with many handlers and trainers from around the world, seeing the good, the bad and the ugly in working dog teams. I have always been one to inquire “why” from my trainers.
Later in my career, I found most of my trainers didn’t know “why” because they were just passing down the information they were given. This lead me to discover what I call “Dog Lore” since most of what I was doing with my K9ss was what my trainers were saying couldn’t be done or understood by my partners. During the latter part of my career, I was continually being approached by other handlers wanting to know the secret to my success. I didn’t have an answer. In my search for the answer, I discovered that my skills were generic to all types of working dogs, and with no conceit tell you that, I alone was the reason for my success.
In 2004, I followed a lifelong dream to own a training facility. I wasn’t sure how my working dog skills would transition to private dog owners. I quickly found my experiences could be utilized by any dog owner, not just in a Law Enforcement capacity as dog issues are generic.
Since there is no official protocol for dog trainers (standards, schooling, experience level, etc.) it makes it very easy to hang up a shingle as a dog trainer as long as the instructor has more knowledge than the person they are training. I train and work under the ethic that the proof is in your ability to repair the issues the dog is having, not send them away with an excuse. I accept every dog, owner and problem into our facility to begin the repair of the dog/owner relationship.
Fixing dog problems is quite simple; dogs are always going to be dogs and function under what I call “Dog Law”. No matter how hard we try to convert them to humans; they will never speak our language. Often times this miscommunication causes the dog to become disgruntled when they are expected to function under “Human law”. Humans cause the dog’s behavior problems by failing to understand the dog’s need for structure and discipline from their human leaders.
Our clients problems that they are experiencing with their dogs vary, from simple to extreme. No matter what the problem is, we don’t train the dog, we train to owner to become a leader, to speak and learn the language of the dog. Working dogs are all the same, they have a job to do and are expected to perform to perfection based on a repetitive training process. We reward the dog for performing the behavior we are looking for. This applies from basic dog obedience to the highest trained police dogs.
Dogs are capable of much more that we give them the ability to accomplish. They do and will adapt to the lifestyle of their environment, but their core being is that of a social structure which requires leadership and discipline. Without it their lives become chaotic resulting in issues that if you listen properly you can understand.
I will close with this: It is not what the dog is doing that is important, it is what it is trying to tell you that really matters
United States Army, Stateside / Overseas, 08/1988- 12/1996, Canine Handler / Military Police
- August 1989 attended Department of Defense (DOD) Military Working Dog Patrol Handlers Course; Lackland Air Force Base (L.A.F.B) 11-week course taught working dog handling Skills for scouting, tracking, building search, and handler protection. Proper care of canine health, feeding, kennel maintenance, basic first-aid, and written testing were also part of this course.
- June of 1990, completed 9-week Detection Dog Program. Training included advanced handling and working skills for Explosive/Narcotics Detection K-9 in vehicles, aircraft, buildings, open areas, and luggage. Proper handling of narcotics and explosive training materials as well as advanced first-aid and written testing were also part of this course.
- Stationed in Nuremberg, Germany, for six months working a Patrol/Narcotics Detector Dog. Dessert Shield changed the needs of the service, as more qualified K-9 Explosive Teams were needed.
- Selected to work as an Explosive/Patrol Detector Dog Handler, and was reassigned to Grafenwoehr Germany. Assigned duties as Kennel Manager as well as K-9 Handler, with responsibilities of daily kennel operations, cleaning, maintenance records and ensuring all canine policies and procedures were meet for training and certification of the assigned canine teams.
Leader Dogs for the Blind, Rochester, MI, 10/1995-10/1996, Canine Instructor/Trainer
- Trained 10 canines to become guide dogs during a three month period, teaching them to be able to assist a blind handler during their everyday needs. The fourth month of training was teaching the student to work with the trained K9 in a variety of environments as I conducted two classes during my time there.
- Selected potential K9 for the program, teaching them obedience and distraction training.
- Veterinarian assistant; gave medications, x-rays, and assisted with surgeries of my teams K9.
United States Customs Service, Detroit, MI, 10/1996-10/2002, Canine Enforcement Officer
- 560 hr K9 Training Academy completed, which I successfully trained two Passive Narcotics Canine in Front Royal Virginia, at the Canine Enforcement Training Center (C.E.T.C).
- 240 hours of classroom in the following areas; K9 First-aid, K9 health, Customs Law, Canine Law, Narcotics handling/preparation/safety, Narcotics interdiction, hidden compartments, scent theory.
- 1997-2004 Procurement Officer as an additional duty selecting over 60 canine from around the Detroit Metro Area to become narcotics detection dogs for the U.S. Customs Service.
- February 2000 Advanced Canine Handler Course 80 hrs.
- Performed duties as Field Training Officer for Explosive, Narcotics and Agriculture Detection K9 Teams for two years.
- Served with K9 in search warrants with ATF, DEA, Postal Investigators and local municipalities as well as working my assigned K9 partner at all Michigan Ports of Entry resulting in millions of dollars worth of narcotics and money found in; vehicles, warehouses, mail rooms, luggage, aircraft, vessels, cargo, semi-trailers, and on people.
University of Michigan Public Safety K9, Ann Arbor MI, 06/2005-present, K9 Team Trainer
- April 2006 I conducted a three month evaluation of the entire K9 program to ensure the program as a whole was operating at its maximum effectiveness. During this evaluation, I was asked to identify discrepancies in training records, Standard Operating Procedures/Policies, daily and weekly training and the reliability of the K9 Teams in the areas trained to work. Also conducted ride-alongs to identify areas the teams needed to become more proficient, ways they could become more effective for the department.
- July 2006-present, became the weekly maintenance K9 Trainer for tracking, personal protection, and explosive detection teams. My duties are to plan and conducted real world locations/scenarios in which I personally observe and critique the training individually with each handler.
Michigan Technical Rescue Operations Team K9 Trainer, Michigan, 05/2005- Present
- In June of 2005, (Search and Rescue) Duties include training K9 Teams for tracking, area searches, collapsed building searches and many other areas that are possible for K9 Teams to encounter, preparing them for certification.
- 1988: 8 weeks, United States Army Basic Training
- 1988: 6 weeks, Military Police Training
- 1989: 11 weeks, Patrol Dog Handler Course
- 1990: 9 weeks, Explosive/Narcotics Course
- 1991: 8 weeks, K-9 Supervisors Course
- 1989-95: Trained and worked five K-9
- 1995: K-9 Trainer, Leader Dogs for the Blind
- 1996: Canine Enforcement Officer Course
- 1996-Present: Train and worked two Narcotic Detector Drug Dogs
- 1996-Present: K-9 Procurement Officer
- 2000: 3 days, K-9 Procurement Officer Course
- 2002-2004: K9 FTO for Explosive/Narcotics Teams U.S. Customs
- 2005-Present: K9 Trainer for Full Service Explosive Teams
- University of Michigan Public Safety