Eric Burchell is a professional in the hunting and search dog area. His knowledge and his dogs are in demand worldwide and are sold as police dogs, service dogs, assistance dogs, hunting dogs and rescue dogs. With the help of self-breeding, and over 20 years of research, he has experience and skills in the area of dog training, which are well known in the World
Eric grew up in the county of Kent, in England. When he was nine, his mother became involved in the local dog training club. The man who ran the dog training club, was famous for having built a dog training center in his village. At the training center there was a Staffordshire bull terrier that nobody could cope with. Eric was asked if he wanted to take on the dog and subsequently trained the dog at the club for a few weeks. That was the start of his dog career. Dogs, hunting and fishing were the things that primarily interested Eric. His first dog was a collie named Whiskey. Whiskey was very obedient and won prizes, but he was aggressive. She attacked the postman, so that he no longer wanted to deliver the mail. Eric had to give the dog away. When Eric was 18 -19 years old, he bought a new dog – a spaniel. Unfortunately the dog had not the qualities Eric requested. The dog was not very well trained, and it was very ”hard in the mouth”. Eric started to get really interested in competition.
Eric met a man – Keith Erlandson, who came to play a large part in his life. He became his mentor. Keith was half Swedish and a famous author, who had written many books about dogs and dog training. He taught Eric much of what Eric knows and teaches today.
Right now Eric has a base in England where he has a large kennel, but end of July this year, he moved to Borlänge in Sweden. Together with Marie Fogelquist and Mats Hedlund, he will run the company Advanced Canine Technologies.
Eric breeds competition and hunting spaniels, Golden retrievers, Labradors.
When a puppy is about eight weeks old, Eric examines it to decide which purpose this particular pup fits; therapy , hunting or detection. All dogs have different personalities and are suitable for different purposes. A search dog must be athletic; it must have courage and be able to handle the work in difficult and unusual environments. I first pick out the dog and then I design the individualized training for that particular dog, says Eric. To train a search dog takes about eight weeks. It depends on what substance is to be focused on. You don’t begin to train a search dog earlier than at the age of ten months. When I get a litter, it might contain ten puppies. I look at each puppy to determine what each pup is most suited for. Two of them might be suited for search training or none!!
Authorities worldwide use Eric’s dogs.
I always use a ball as a reward no matter what we practice or what the goal of the exercise is. When we train search dogs, we use stainless steel boxes that we put scents in. For example cocaine or heroin. After that, the dog should be able to distinguish which is what in the respective box. If I notice after a while that a dog is not suited for a particular program, I remove the dog from the training program and see if the dog fits into another program instead. The dog may be more suitable as a therapy dog or hunting dog.
To teach the dog to distinguish between scents of a human or a drug, Eric works with small boxes called imprint boxes. You then place a variety of these imprint boxes for the dog to investigate in order to teach it to distinguish and recognize the scent in question.
Authorities worldwide buy and use Eric’s dogs and his dogs are used by police, customs and military agencies. Eric trains the dogs so that they can detect and mark the different objects or are sold ready for training by other agencies. People smuggling for example is one modern concept, ivory, rhinoceros horn, counterfeit notes and even biliary tracts from bears illegally, since they are known as sexual performance enhancers. Guns, bombs, drugs as well as a variety of other items are included in what Eric’s dogs have been especially trained to detect.
Hunting dogs are trained using a so-called rabbit pen. A fenced off area with rabbits inside. You use a rabbit pen to teach the dogs to hunt and stay obedient without taking the rabbit before it being shot!
Important is that the dog has a good basic obedience. For example: The dog must learn to wait, while the hunter shoots a bird. Only when the hunter gives the dog its command, the dog may get up to fetch the object. All dogs are different and therefore, they must be trained differently. They cannot be aggressive towards other people or dogs which are a basic prerequisite for them to be hunting dogs.
The dog is trained specifically for the person who will use it regardless of what it is trained to do. The idea is to eventually be able to train the dog and handler (Hunter) combinations.
Since 1993 Eric is educating within the traditional odor discrimination and vapor detection system. His track record is long and extensive. Between 1993 -2000 he was hired by a company from South Africa Mechem, the Mechem Explosive Drug Detection System. (MEDDS) which was a research and development program that lasted seven years. THE MEDDS – method has proved to be a very efficient way to detect smuggled explosives and narcotics.
Eric has also spent many years researching the field of scent discrimination. At the end of July, he is moving to Borlänge. Together with Marie Fogelquist and Mats Hedlund he will run the company Advanced Canine Technologies, Marie has been working with dogs and had her own courses since the early 1980’s and is trained by Anders Hallgren. Mats is educated in Special search, operant learning and clicker training. Together, they become an unbeatable trio that covers many areas of knowledge in dog training.
Welcome to Sweden Eric Burchell!