My name is Richard Kemp and I have recently completed NASDU Passive Scanning Drug Detection Dog Handler Level 3 at Malpeet K9 Academy 11th March 2017 – 26th March 2017.

The reason I decided to book my course with Malpeet is due spending time looking at reviews from people who had attended their courses. Prior to booking I also managed to speak to a gentleman from Malpeet at the NASDU 2016 championships as they had an information stall there.

I currently work for Guide Dogs for the Blind as a Guide Dog Trainer and have been there for 10years. I have done a variety of jobs with Guide Dogs from dog care and welfare to Senior Guide Dog Trainer managing a team of five trainers.

I own a spaniel which Malpeet offered to assess to see if she was suitable for the drug detection course free of charge, on my arrival I could see what amazing training facilities they had and had a great two days there, where they assessed my dog and took me to a variety of training venues they used.

The onsite accommodation had a variety of choices from double rooms to shared accommodation, which was perfect for me as I was on a budget. They also have a swimming pool, sauna and hot tub. The accommodation is in the welsh countryside so it was a nice place to go for a run after training.

Unfortunately, my dog had some bad habits, they said I could give her a go but I decided I would purchase a green dog from them when I did my course and use that as an excuse to get another dog.

On the first day of my course, I was introduced to all the staff and the other people who would be on the same course as me, we then went through routines, health and safety etc. Simon explained about the course content and to find out if we had any questions. We then went to a training area they have on site to assess the dogs we could use on this course. This was great as we were allowed to watch each individual dog and picked one we felt we would like to take through the course. We were also allowed to pick a couple of spare dogs in case something went wrong with our dogs.

After a couple days assessing the dogs and learning about the kennel routines which include feeding, cleaning, grooming etc, we then went on to real life training venues.
Again I was amazed by the variety of real life training venues we used, places like Cardiff Airport, colleges and shopping malls, etc.., not to mention the use of real training aids!

From my experience in training and managing staff and animals I’m aware it’s never smooth sailing and can be extremely difficult, however, Tony, the instructor running the course never showed any signs of pressure considering I broke most of their dogs in the first few weeks, with my training experience I’m used to avoiding members of the public with my training dogs for safety of the client, and this was shown each time the dogs would go to check to see if the carriers who were carrying the training aid and I would stop the dog or walk around them.
The instructor always remained calm and relaxed considering all my bad habits (and there was a lot) and soon got me on track. Tony (instructor) had an unbelievably large amount of knowledge regarding training detection dogs and a vast amount of experience in the line. He would always give constructive feedback and help get the best from you and the dogs.
A couple of my dogs were identified to not have the right temperament by the instructor in the first few days of being in these environments and the day after I had two new dogs to start with which was great.

Malpeet’s course was perfect for me as I have no experience in the security industry. The fact that they use real training aids and environments was great. I got so much experience from the sixteen days, especially when we worked on the door of a nightclub in Swansea and had a go at working our dogs on the queues of the nightclub. This made me see how difficult it can be in real life situations, however, I had a great time and really enjoyed the experience.

Due to not having any connections in the security industry, The Employers’ Day they had arranged for all the course attendants to meet employers was extremely beneficial for me. I got to meet a variety of security companies, learned lots of relevant information and managed to sit down with them and get some connections in the industry, which will hopefully go on to helping me find work in the near future.

Overall, I can say going to Malpeet was the best decision I could have made, the learning and training you get are excellent, the staff was extremely helpful and friendly, I’ve been on a load of training courses and must say this sticks out as one of the best courses I’ve done, especially considering I am looking to do the explosives course next year and there was an explosives course going on at Malpeet which would be a good chance to catch up with all the people on that course and hearing about their experiences, I will definitely be booking my NASDU Explosive Detection Dog Handlers Level 4 at Malpeet, if they will take me back.