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K-9 TRAILING: The Straightest Path

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Jeff Schettler's latest book, K-9 Trailing: The Straightest Path, is the winner of the Arthur J. Haggerty Award with the Alliance of Purebred Dog Writers.


K-9 TRAILING: The Straightest Path 

The Straightest Path is Jeff Schettler's newest and most exciting release. With straight talk and experienced-based training methods, Schettler explains step by step how to train a man-trailing dog from puppyhood to life-saving companion. Placing strong emphasis on learning to read your dog, Jeff talks about common mistakes, how to handle a long line, how to recognize when your dog has lost the trail, and what to do about it. 


• Integrates the art and science of canine trailing.
• Real-life examples based on Jeff's experience as a police K-9 handler.
• Cutting-edge trailing exercises and techniques.
• Lessons learned during the exciting career of a K-9 handler.

Trade paperback, large format 8.5 x 11", 208 pages, color photographs, diagrams, appendices



Jeff's dog training methods have been featured on CNN, ABC, Unsolved Mysteries, and MythBusters TV series. A retired police K-9 handler who was attached to the FBI's Hostage Rescue Teams' K-9 Assistance Program, Jeff has worked hundreds of trailing casess across the U.S. Since retiring from the police force he founded TacticalTrackerTeams and is a specialist in tactical trailing applications. He also is co-founder of Georgia K9 Training Center, LLC, offering a variety of dog training services to fit the needs of civilian, law enforcement and search and rescue dog trainers and handlers. His trailing training clinics are popular throughout the U.S. and will soon be expanding to Europe.Jeff trained under well-known manhunters including Glenn Rimbey, John Lutenberg, and Jerry Nichols. He has recently diversified his work to include pioneering work in training dogs to search for explosives and narcotics and training service dogs for those with special needs such as autism. For more information on the author go to www.GAK9.com .

 Click below to watch his video:



Foreword by Michael J. Decker
1. Trailing Versus Tracking
2. Choosing a K-9
3. Trailing Gear
4. Trailing Scent Forms
5. Environmental Effects on Scent
6. The Three P's
7. Trail Layers and Laying Trails
8. Fire Trails
9. Adding Distance, Turns, and Obstacles
10. The Handler's Arch Nemesis: Distractions
11. Scent Discrimination
12. Age of the Trail and Other Variables
13. Streams and Rivers
14. Surface Transitions: Hard Surfaces
15. Extra Exercises


The Straightest Path is a must read for any scent detection K-9 handler. Jeff Schettler has written an honest and informative book about working a trailing canine; a book that every K-9 handler will find insightful. Canine behavior and the scent picture are clearly and thoughtfully discussed in Jeff’s newest book. This book stresses the importance of K9 handlers understanding their partners’ behavior, being honest, and making no excuses. It is also a great story of canines and their capabilities. I highly recommend The Straightest Path.”
          - Pam Nyberg, K9 Handler, ALPHA Team, Georgia

 "For me part of K-9 Trailing; The Straightest Path was like seeing “beyond one`s own nose” – if we want to trail in the real world, there is so much more we desperately need to understand. Search & Rescue groups really need this kind of information-information that will work, with no fairytales or fantasy that so often makes up the K-9 Trailing world." 
          - Anja Lausberg/Mantrailer, Rhein-Ruhr, Germany

"Jeff Schettler has the ability to break down those complex canine issues in his books and lectures. He makes easy sense of it all and is more passionate about understanding scent and reading your dog than any one else I've ever known. Jeff'’s renowned and growing specialty is detecting "Scent Proximity". I have heard him talk about this for years, and, until recently with my own police Bloodhound, I have not been very good at processing my hound's alert indicators while detecting distant hidden subjects. In his book and classes, Jeff stresses how important a skill this is to develop and how it could...will...save your life. Sure, most handlers know when their dog indicates on a subject down the hall, across the yard or somewhere else fairly close. How would you like to accurately read your dog when he tells you the bad guy is out 50, 70 or more yards away? This is life saving stuff and I appreciate instructors like Jeff Schettler for sharing his knowledge."
     - Placerville Police Sgt. John W. Kunkle Training/Bloodhound Handler/K9 Supervisor California Peace Officer since 1985

“Some current trailing/tracking dog handlers have a fundamental misunderstanding of how to accomplish their mission, or the basics of that mission. There is little comprehension of how to “read” the dog. Jeff has written a definitive work that addresses these issues and much more. He draws on his lifelong work with canines, his extensive background as a canine trainer, a handler, a K9 law enforcement officer and his work with the FBI. K9 motivation, certification, trail/track layers, scent, scent articles and collection, starting point, forensic and tactical considerations are discussed. And just what it takes to do the job safely. A complete methodology, The Straightest Path is a must read if you are beginner or a veteran handler that wants to be the best K9 man hunter.”
     - Frank Merritt
Frank Merritt was trained by the RAVC (Royal Army Veterinary Corps), #2 WDTU (War Dog Training Unit) and the NZ SAS (New Zealand Special Air Service) in Malaysia and deployed with one of the first CTTs (Combat Tracker Team) to Vietnam. He subsequently has trained law enforcement officers in canine and tactical considerations. In 2005-06 he was a SME (Subject Matter Expert) for the first two CTT pilot courses contracted for DoD. He has trained both Marine and Army personnel.

"A book written by a manhunter for manhunters. The aptly titled Straightest Path is superb, and Jeff Schettler has done K-9 handlers a great service. In this must read book, Schettler gives a compelling, comprehensive account of reality-based K-9 training. He lays out the foundation for creating a solid K-9 team while addressing head-on many of the controversial issues associated with working dogs. Read this book and save lives, maybe even your own life."
- Brad Dennis
Director of Search Operations
KlaasKIDS Foundation
Search Center for Missing & Trafficked Children

"Jeff takes on the highly controversial theories of scent and the scenting dog and provides real world practicality that all handlers can learn from. I started mentoring under Jeff in 1998, training my eight week old Bloodhound puppy to become one of the first Bay Area Police Bloodhounds. Jeff helped me understand how my dog used its natural talents to hunt people using scent discrimination. Most importantly, he taught me how to read my dog, which provided the clues to locating the prey.” 
          - Officer Kevin Baughn

Click here to read a section of the book, "Noise and Object Distractions When Tracking or Trailing."


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