FSI K9 Academy is owned and operated by David and Kathy Latimer in Vincent, AL. David holds various K-9 related training certifications and has years of experience training and handling professional work dogs. David’s work experience includes fire and explosion investigations, police K-9 trainer and handler, training dogs for the detection of termites, bed bugs, mold and other health and property threats.
With all the dog trainers around, you may wonder, just what makes FSI so different? The answer is simple – the way FSI trains dogs. At the outset of David’s dog training career he learned and used the widely accepted training methodologies and stuck to conventional wisdom about dog training. Most of the trainers he worked with were trying to communicate with dogs on a more human level and expected the dogs to be motivated by what drives humans. The result was often frustration for the trainer and even more so for the dog.
David and Kathy both felt that something was missing and knew there had to be a better way than the way we’ve always done it. They realized that you have to have more than just a kibble of food or a favorite toy to get a dog to give its best effort. This motivated them to experiment with new ways of training and resulted in the development of the unique and revolutionary method of dog training FSI employs today – called Basic Instinct Training or B.I.T. for short.
B.I.T. is a proprietary method of dog training that employs the dog’s natural instincts and drives, channeling the dog’s genetic programming to hunt, track and stalk prey. Every detector dog trained at FSI, whether it’s for insect pests, explosives, arson, tracking, narcotics or mold detection is trained with this exclusive and revolutionary method of dog training. B.I.T. was developed through years of experimentation, observation and experience and through consultation with canine behavioral experts. B.I.T. is based on positive reinforcement and operant conditioning in an extraordinary mix. Because of its emphasis on positive reinforcement B.I.T. produces top quality work dogs that are happy, highly motivated, excited and enthusiastic.
Another important fact that sets FSI’s mold dog program apart is the materials we train with. We exclusively use the mold dog training kit developed through collaboration between FSI and Mould Works Labs, Inc. The Mold Works team is led by 37 year veteran of mycology, Dr. George Carroll. Dr. Carroll and his staff grow specific species of mold for this kit and package them in easily used containers. Dr. Carroll and his staff used their knowledge and experience with mold to select specific species for inclusion in the kit and FSI offered advice about the configuration, size and ease of use of containers. The result is a comprehensive training kit that helps prepare a dog to not only find the odors of the most common molds, it also ensures that the dog is familiar with the odors of molds that present the greatest threats to the health of building occupants. FSI has no financial interest in this kit nor do we profit in any manner from its sale or distribution. Our motivation to participate in the development and testing of this kit was based on our desire to have such an outstanding product available for use in our training program.
David also currently serves as the founding president of WDDO, World Detector Dog Organization. David and FSI are proud to be a part of WDDO. WDDO fills a void for scent detection canine owners and handlers of mold and pest detection canines in that it offers a truly disinterested, third party evaluation of a dog and handler team’s skills at locating specific odors. Other organization currently available to private teams are either fully owned or at least controlled by private trainers who operate the organization for profit.
WDDO brings together the public and private sector in a mutually beneficial structure. Its membership base includes police officers, fire investigators and other public safety officials who use canines in their role in law enforcement. Several prominent trainers have joined WDDO recently and are working together to offer reasonable, credible and comprehensive certification and validation testing to private and public scent detection dog handlers. If you have a scent detection dog we welcome you to join us – no matter who trained you and your dog. You will have access to the benefits of networking and support from other handlers and professional trainers from across the nation. Visit WDDO at www.wddo.org.
FSI and David Latimer are committed to helping Mold Help.org continue its effort to educate consumers and offer assistance to those affected by mold and its insidious health affects. As a part FSI’s commitment, we recently fully trained and now are donating a mold dog to Mold Help.org. The dog, a female, ten month old yellow Lab named ‘Julie’ is going to join Chris Rad and his organization, Austin Dura-Clean, in their effort to help homeowners and business owners in the Austin, Texas area detect mold quicker and more reliably than ever before. David originally offered his assistance to mold help by way of conducting remedial training on a dog that was donated trained by another trainer. The plan was for David to “tune” the dog up and then train Chirs to use him. After a couple of months working with the donated dog, it became clear that the donated dog was not going to perform to the standards David sets for his own dogs. David’s commitment to excellence in dog training would not allow him to be involved with an effort that did no reflect his high standards. David contacted everyone involved and let them know that he was going to find a home for the donated dog and start the search for a dog with the drive and ability to perform at the same high level of proficiency that FSI expects of all its dogs. On his first trip to the local shelter, the Shelby County Humane Society, he found Julie and the rest is history. Julie excelled at scent work and has turned out to be a top notch mold dog. We are expecting great things from her and Chris when they get back to Austin. We want to wish Chris and Julie the best.
If you need a detector dog to help with your livelihood, you can visit FSI on the web at www.FSIK9.com. You won’t be bombarded with absurd claims of grandeur and hype. Dogs aren’t very impressed by TV appearances nor do they read university studies; all dogs know is what they’re taught. What you’ll get from FSI are reliable, well trained work dogs at reasonable prices. The Latin phrase ‘caveat emptor’, let the buyer beware, is appropriately quoted here. If you want a good work dog at a reasonable price; make sure the trainer you choose focuses on dog training rather than hype and personal aggrandizement. David and Kathy know what it means to rely on a dog to help you make a living. They will train a dog for you the same way they train dogs for themselves.