For several years we have been working on our foundation dog offering. To develop K9s to a level that allows them to be quickly “finished” for any mission. Law Enforcement, Military, Service Dogs for the disabled; dogs that have value stored in them in a way that can be brought back to the forefront when needed.
Foundation dogs are a product of Top Tier K9. They are dogs that range from 10 months old to 3 years old that have been trained since they were 6 weeks old in scent detection, protection/apprehension, off leash obedience, and tracking; the 4 primary functions. 50 elements are trained/imprinted in the dogs brains that roll up to satisfy those 4 primary functions, and any of those elements can be used and concatenated with functions and other elements to quickly train the dogs in something new, something we don’t realize today that we may need in the future.
Our vision became reality when a veteran’s service organization, Vet Comp & Pen made Top Tier K9 their exclusive provider of service dogs for disabled veterans. Vet Comp & Penn provide medical consulting services to disabled veterans and help them obtain the care and compensation they earned after being injured while serving our nation in the military. Vet Comp & Pen selected Top Tier K9 because of our Foundation Dog processes and because we train service dogs to also protect their owners; a huge benefit to disabled veterans suffering severe PTSD.
Earlier this year one of our Foundation Dogs was selected to be finished as a Police K9 for the city of Rhinelander Wisconsin. Because we breed and train entire litters from amazing blood lines, our training program includes a forecasting process. Some dogs within the litter filter out as single purpose dogs, some filter out as executive/family protection dogs, some filter into our service dog program and some filter into our Military and Police K9 program.
“Jason” was the Foundation Dog selected by the city of Rhinelander and was immediately transferred to the Top Tier K9 Law Enforcement finishing program. We had only 12 weeks to take this Foundation Dog and put Jason and his handler, Officer Mark Raddatz through the program. It began with 5 weeks of live on-line training for Officer Raddatz while Jason was being exposed to scenarios to exploit his foundation training in apprehension, tracking, scent detection and advanced obedience. Officer Raddatz learned to actually train working dogs in the 4 primary functions using live on-line training and DVD programs developed by Top Tier K9. Officer Raddatz was able to learn these skills without leaving his work and family. Officer Raddatz then traveled to Top Tier K9’s Madison Fl campus where he spent 2 weeks bonding with Jason and practicing scenario work under the watchful eye of Chris O’Brian, a certified Top Tier K9 instructor and active duty Deputy Sheriff with support from the entire staff of Top Tier K9.
Officer Raddatz and Jason certified in apprehension and advanced obedience during the 2 week on-site work. With the team training and bonding improving every day, the team certified in tracking and narcotics detection within 12 weeks of returning home to Rhinelander. Officer Raddatz and K9 Jason deploy this summer as a K9 team on the Rhinelander Wisconsin Police Department.
What makes this story amazing is not simply that Officer Raddatz only missed 2 weeks of work to deploy with a K9, or that officer Raddatz had never been a K9 officer before, or that Officer Raddatz improves every day on scent work, tracking and advanced obedience as a handler without a K9 trainer on the department. What makes this story simply amazing is how Jason was acquired and how he got his name. This came about because of a 501 C(3); Crossroads K9 Rescue and an amazing veteran named Sean Dumais.
“Crossroads K9 Rescue was founded in 2016 to help Rescue, Rehabilitate, and Re-Home German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois from high kill shelters and other life threatening situations. The goal of the rescue was to eventually train rescues to become service dogs for disabled veterans and children in need.
On 22-Mar-17 our world was shattered into a million pieces. A mentally distraught man decided that his life was so terrible that he needed to murder his estranged wife and her divorce attorney. He first went to the bank where is wife worked and argued with her in the bank. He then left to retrieve his weapon. His wife knew something wasn’t right and her coworkers slipped her out the back door to run to a local business and call 911. The killer returned to the bank and became furious that his wife was missing and murdered her two co-workers in cold blood. He then drove to her divorce attorneys and forced the receptionist to take him to the attorneys office at gunpoint where he murdered her as well. After this he returned to his apartment complex and barricaded himself inside. It is here that our brother in law, Detective Jason Wieland of the Everest Metro PD in Weston Wi, was the first unit on the scene. Jason exited his vehicle and opened the trunk to don his ballistic gear and the gunman placed a single shot in the back of Jason’s head killing him instantly.
Jason always had a passion for police work and for helping others. Jason’s desire to serve his community showed in everything he did. As our family struggled with the loss and learning to cope, we at Crossroads K9 Rescue wanted to do something to insure Jason’s memory lived on. For months we struggled with what we could do that would actually make a difference. One day I was watching a news story about a K-9 that had been killed in the line of duty. The handler came on and through his tears described his partner as “the most dedicated partner you could ever ask for, always excited to go to work, always excited to do his job, and most of all always loyal to his team even if it meant laying down his own life”. It hit me then and there that Jason would want his memory to be honored by helping his brothers in blue continue to help their communities and make them safer places to raise their children. What better way to share such dedication than with a K-9. At that moment we decided we would find a way to donate a K-9 to police forces around the state every year to keep Jason’s memory alive.
That evening I began to formulate a plan on how to make this all work. I contacted Jeff Minder of Top Tier K9 and pitched my idea to train a dog each year by going through his school and learning how. I had already wanted to start training for a living and had researched the school for quite some time. Due to the timeline for our first dog there was no way I would be able to have one ready in time to donate for 2019 so using Top Tiers foundation dog program we were able to purchase a dog that was already ready to be trained to the next level and finish him to be a K-9. Amidst a myriad of other trainers telling me this would never work and it was a dumb idea, Jeff stood by and helped us every step of the way always reminding us to let our dog speak for itself. I am 100% positive that K-9 Jason will bring honor to his department, our program, and Top Tiers dedication to provide the best dogs possible to their customers. K-9 Jason will hit the streets of Rhinelander Wisconsin with his handler Officer Raddatz in late June of this year. Our second K-9, K-9 Thor, is going through the Top Tier program now alongside me and will hit the streets in late fall of 2020. Without an army of dedicated volunteers and the wonderful support of Top Tier K9 we would not have been able to achieve our dream of helping Jason’s memory live on”.
For more information, visit www.TopTierK9.com