Seminars and Workshops

The National Search Dog Alliance is a community of K-9 handlers committed to sharing ideas, training, and experiences. NSDA is proud to host periodic seminars and workshops with the intent of bringing in new ideas and training opportunities. The goals are to offer canine handlers from across the country an opportunity to train under experts in the field, develop their skills as searchers, and better the K-9 team who in turn make a positive difference in service to their communities. Whether you are building a foundation for your wilderness dog, preparing for certification, or focusing on advancing your skills for deployment, we welcome you to join us!

May 31st — June 2nd, 2024: Eureka, Montana. Multi-discipline field seminar offering instruction in Area/Airscent, Human Remains Detection and Trailing.

Click here to read about our instructors!


Area Search Instructors

Karen Paquette

Karen Paquette began her SAR career in 2003 in Pima County, Tucson, AZ, and has deployed on over 150 searches in wilderness, urban, water, and support of law enforcement investigations. Karen serves as Training Director with Pima County's volunteer K9SAR team, Southwest Rescue Dogs, Inc., (since 2014). She is an NASAR Lead Evaluator in Land HRD and Area Search (2010), has achieved NASAR certifications (and recertifications) with three canine partners in Land HRD, Water HRD, Area live find, as well as IPWDA HRD Land and Crime Scene certification.

Karen has assisted with FACTS workshops since 2013 serving as wrangler, assistant instructor, and instructor. Karen has planned, assisted with, and instructed at several Arizona State SAR conferences and SAR HRD seminars. She is now training with her 6th canine partner.

Karen retired from the field of education after 25 years, working mostly in Special Education with students with behavior and emotional disorders, developmental disorders, and learning disabilities. She also worked in a leadership capacity as a teacher mentor, coach, curriculum support provider, behavior interventionist, and specific academic interventionist. She achieved KPA-CTP (Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner) in 2018. Karen enjoys gleaning training skills and concepts from sport dog training to adapt and implement in SAR training.

HRD Instructors

Nadine Conner

Nadine Conner has worked for over 30 years as a professional dog trainer and working with the public. She currently teaches classes in basic pet training, competitive obedience, rally, nosework, is a Canine Good Citizen evaluator, therapy dog evaluator, and has done limited service dog training. Nadine has been involved in Search and Rescue since 2009 and has certified her German Shepherd, Carlee, in Air Scent and her German Shorthair Pointer, Freck, in HRD both land and water.

Nadine is currently an evaluator for NASAR and AMPWDA and has taught at seminars for both organizations. She has accumulated over 200 hours supporting the Forensic Anthropology Center at Texas State (FACTS) for their HRD K9 seminar that is held biannually. In addition, she has attended over 300 hours of SAR seminars throughout the United States. Nadine currently is the K9 Director for Great Plains Search and Rescue K9s, Inc. which is a SAR based team in Kansas. Nadine is a lead evaluator for NASAR in the following areas: Land Evaluator for Area Search, HRD Land Type Other, II and IV, SARTECH II and III evaluator and currently holds her SARTECH II. She is also an AMPWDA Master Trainer and Evaluator for Area Search. She holds certificates for Fire & Rescue SUSAR Conference and Technical Conference.

Nadine has completed training from the University of Edinburgh Animal Behaviour and Welfare, the Duke University Dog Emotion and Cognition, Canine Theriogenology for Dogs, Introduction to Forensic Science Forensic Psychology, and Witness Investigation.

Brad Dennis

Brad Dennis has over 30 years of experience in search and rescue and 22 years as a K-9 handler. He is currently working his 4th HRD K-9, Grace, a labrador retriever. Brad is the National Search Director for the KlaasKIDS Foundation Search Center for Missing & Trafficked Children. He managed the community-assisted search effort following the abduction of 12-year-old Polly Hannah Klaas in 1993 from Petaluma, Ca.; which has become the model for child abduction search strategies.

He has managed search efforts for over 300 missing/abducted children around the country. He travels extensively throughout the United States providing dynamic and relevant instruction concerning search and rescue operations, advocacy to families of missing children, child abduction search management, sex trafficking of minors and serves as "Evaluator" for the National Association of Search and Rescue (NASAR). He has been instrumental in the rescue of numerous children from sex trafficking and the intelligence he has gathered has assisted in taking down several child prostitution rings.

His rescue efforts for missing children have been chronicled on CNN, The Early Show, The Today Show, Dateline, MSNBC, and 48 Hours. He has been awarded the Commissioner's Award from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the prestigious Justice Award from the Foundation for Improvement of Justice for his efforts to locate missing children.

Paul S. Martin, M.A.

Paul S. Martin, M.A. is an anthropologist and K9 handler for History Flight, Inc. with K9 Ziva, where they assist in the search and recovery of missing American Service Members from foreign conflicts. He also provides archaeological consulting services through Martin Consulting. He is an affiliate of the Society of American Archaeology, the Society of Exploration Geophysicists, and is the past president of the National Network of Canine Detection Services. He is a member of the AAFS Standards Board Consensus Body for Dogs and Sensors. He is the cofounder of HRD Specialized K9 Training that was established in 2002.

He earned his B.S. in Anthropology with a concentration in Forensic Anthropology at Western Carolina University in 2011 and his M.A. at the University of Mississippi in 2015. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of Memphis in the Department of Earth Sciences, where his dissertation research is centered on Cadaver Dogs and Ground-Penetrating Radar.

Since 1997, he has been involved with search and rescue, and has specialized in human remains recovery since 2000. He has worked cases and consulted for numerous agencies on the local, state, and national levels in regard to the recovery of human remains. He has presented research to American Academy of Forensic Sciences, the Society for American Archaeology, United South and Eastern Tribes, NSDA, Southeastern Section meeting of the Geological Society of America, NASAR, and the Mississippi Archaeology Association. In 2011, he helped to develop Cadaver Dog Training offered through the Forensic Osteology Research Station (FOREST) at Western Carolina University. This was the first university based program in the country where he served as the coordinating instructor for two different courses there.

He was affiliate faculty to the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at WCU from 2012-2017 and was an assistant instructor for the Field Recovery of Human Remains class from 2012-2015. His major research interests in forensic anthropology include taphonomy, cadaver dogs, geophysical survey methods, recovery, mapping, soil analysis, and theory. He is currently working with his fifth and sixth canine partner in the field of human remains detection.

Christi Raak

Christi Raak is an AMPWDA-HRD Master Trainer and instructor for various other organizations. In 2012, she found the SAR world and was immediately fascinated with every aspect of the working dog world and giving back to the communities. In 2018, she started training dual and single purpose K9's for LE in narcotics and accelerants, explosives, bite work, tracking, obedience from start to finish and teaching handler schools to prepare/teach officers become handlers learn to handler their K9 and for their cert. In 2021, she began training and working her own explosives K9.

She enjoys helping handlers develop and progress through their training. She loves to continue to learn and share any knowledge that she can pass on! In her working K9 career she has trained and deployed with 5 partners including x-trained live find/hrd, an article detection dog, a trialing dog and an explosives detection K9.

She currently has a 5-year-old certified GSD (Jude) in HRD and a 9 month old bloodhound in training for trailing.

Trailing Instructors

TC Crippen, PhD

TC Crippen has been serving in K9 Search and Rescue for over 30 years starting first with an area dog with CARDA in Northern California. She has certified dogs in Trailing, Tracking, Area, light Disaster, and HR with civilian SAR and law enforcement agencies (NASAR, NNDDA, NAPWDA, NSDA, INBTI). TC has been a SARTECH I and Canine SARTECH I evaluator with NASAR since 2007, and a lead evaluator since 2016; an instructor/evaluator with INBTI since 2009; and holds multiple certifications in search management. TC has served as K9 training & testing coordinator, incident commander & operations chief, and handler & flanker with her local teams and has taught navigation, K9 ICS, operations, and K9 SAR. TC also trains and titles dogs in sport work, such as obedience and agility.

She received her PhD in Toxicology from the University of California at Davis and is currently a research scientist with the US Department of Agriculture, where amongst other topics she researches aspects of carrion decomposition. She is a member of the AAFS Standards Board Consensus Body for Dogs and Sensors.

Todd Raak

Todd Raak is an AMPWDA Trailing Master Trainer and volunteer instructor for other various organizations. Todd joined Search and Rescue in 2015, and he trained and nationally certified with his first bloodhound Letti, deployed on numerous searches and fell in love with the discipline of trialing.

His search and rescue experience includes search manager, assisting with training K9s in various disciplines, field support and K9 handler. In 2019 he stepped away from the unit to focus on a new career position.

He has continued to work with handlers and their dogs since and has started another bloodhound! He enjoys breaking things down into individual components/steps allowing the dog/handler teams to successfully put the pieces together. He enjoys sharing any knowledge he has and watching teams be successful.