Steven D. Nicely, owner and founder of K9 Consultants of America, has approximately fourty years experience in the police service dog field. He started his career in law enforcement in 1972 as a Military Policeman in the Marine Corps. In 1973 he was brought into the K9 section, where he served until 1979.
In 1981, as a young Texas Police Officer, Steve was involved in a shooting during a burglary in progress. He was forced to resort to deadly force because the police dog he was assigned failed to engage the suspect. The dog failed because it was poorly trained. This sent Steve on a mission to learn as much about training as possible, not only through working with established trainers of that era, but eventually learning the science behind training through formal education and consultations with those in the behavior science field.
The shooting taught Steve the importance of realistic training and testing. He also learned that with accurate documentation of training and field activities, dogs could be brought to an even higher level of performance by analyzing records and comparing training results with field results. He also learned the importance of testing a dog, not only for its abilities, but at what point it would fail. If a team does not know its weaknesses, it cannot improve. When a team knows its weaknesses, it could save lives in tactical situations, prevent unlawful and non productive searches when looking for drugs, and possibly save lives and property when searching for explosives.
Steve's training approach has been influenced by trainers such as T. Patrick Cahill, and William Koehler, early pioneers of Police Service Dogs in the United States. Dr. Dan Craig (former Chief of Animal Behavior DOD Military Working Dog Program) convinced him to study psychology with emphasis on expermential psychology. During this time he braodened his learning of the importance of recording past behaviors to predict future behaviors. While at Global Training Academy from 1989-2006 Steve was allowed actively practice and teach behavioral science applications. There he refined their basic training programs, wrote lesson plans to meet requirements of the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education, selected dogs for training, trained trainers, instructors, supervisors, and handlers.
Steve has been recognized as an expert in the police service dog field by many state and federal courts.