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138 Cordelia Camp Bldg
69 East University Way
Cullowhee, NC 28723
828.227.7397 tel
800.928.4968 toll-free tel
828.227.7115 fax


Cadaver Dog Training


Level One - May 18-20, 2015
Bone ID Add-on Course - May 20-21, 2015
Level Two - May 22-24, 2015

Online Registration for Levels 1 and 2 are now CLOSED.

Western Carolina University is committed to creating the finest training experience of this kind in the country. Our Cadaver Dog Training Workshops are held on the campus in Cullowhee, North Carolina. The workshops are offered in cooperation with the Western Carolina Forensic Anthropology Program. Canine and field instruction is provided by Lisa Higgins, Brad Dennis, and Paul S. Martin, and others with additional classroom instruction provided by Board Certified Forensic Anthropologist and WCU professor Cheryl A. Johnston, Ph.D.

These land-based workshops allow participants to work search areas including grassy fields, mountainous terrain, urban environments, buildings, and vehicle lineups. Participants will have the opportunity to work a wide range of source materials; including the ability to expose their dogs to full body decomposition in the Forensic Osteology Research Station (FOREST). Classroom instruction will include the human decomposition process, bone identification, forensic taphonomy, and much more.

REQUIREMENTS: The Level 1 workshop is designed for Cadaver Dogs that have a minimum of 6 months to 1 year of training. The dog recognizes odor and has a trained final response and may or may not be exposed to large source.

LEVEL 1 - May 18-20, 2015.......... $399.00
Instruction for the level 1 workshops begins at 9am on the first day and concludes around 2pm on day 3. Registration includes 3 lunches and 2 dinners. Additionally, participants will receive a bound copy of the materials covered during the classroom presentations and a complimentary t-shirt. While on campus participants will have free internet access. 

Participation is limited to the first 30 canine teams to sign up for each class. Each handler will be limited to working with only one dog during the instructional period. Current vaccination records or, if traveling from outside of North Carolina, a Current Health Certificate will be required. A limited number of pet-friendly hotel rooms are available at the Blue Ridge Inn in nearby Sylva. To reserve your room, please call 828-586-2123. (Be sure you have a CONFIRMED seat in the workshop before booking your hotel room).

BONE IDENTIFICATION (add-on course) May 20-21, 2015...$150
The bone identification workshop focuses on providing opportunity for participants to handle and view numerous human and non-human skeletons. The goal is to help cadaver dog handlers gain enough experience with bones from mammals, including humans, to begin to be able to distinguish the human remains from all others. This will be accomplished via hands on exercises with guidance from the instructor and by allowing students to try their hand at numerous identifications. Learn more...

LEVEL 2 - May 22-24, 2015 .......... $450.00
The Level 2 Cadaver Dog Workshop is designed for prior participants of the Level 1 Cadaver Dog Workshop. Completion of Level One is mandatory prior to registering. The Level 2 Cadaver Dog Workshop will be 3 full days of training. The participants will spend an entire day working in and around the FOREST, Western Carolina University’s outdoor human decomposition research facility. This workshop will focus on realistic skeletal scatter scenarios, burials, and building searches on and around the campus of Western Carolina University. We have tentatively scheduled guest speakers to include experts in the fields of victim and child safety advocacy, human decomposition odor analysis, ground penetrating radar, and others.

 Instruction for the LEVEL 2 workshops begins at 9am on the first day and concludes around 7pm on day 3. Registration includes 3 lunches and 3 dinners. Additionally, participants will receive a bound copy of the materials covered during the classroom presentations and a complimentary t-shirt. While on campus participants will have free internet access.  Continuing Education Units through Western Carolina University will be available. The workshop will conclude on Wednesday evening with the presentation of certificates after dinner.


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