We work with all dogs

Pete Stevens had been a law enforcement K-9 handler for 14 years when he was asked to be a Trial Judge at a NACSW Competition in 2015. He expected to watch a group of Belgian Malinois, Dutch Shepherds, German Shepherds, Labs, and the occasional Spaniel or German Shorthaired Pointer during the event. Pete was amazed at what he saw, it was not what he expected. Dogs of all breeds from the smallest Teacup Yorkies to English Mastiffs were competing and succeeding just as well as the typical law enforcement and military breeds. What’s more is that they were doing it for fun!

But there was one thing that the sport and working dogs had in common: handlers had training habits that inhibited success. Cueing, crowding the dog, missing the indicators from the dog, and poor leash handling, just to name a few. He recognized these mistakes because he had made them himself.  

After several of the competitors Pete gave feedback to asked him if he taught at seminars, he contacted two seasoned trainers that Pete considers his friends and mentors, Cameron Ford and Elliot Zibli. Pete asked them to form a team of professional K-9 handlers to coach dogs of all sizes and shapes: The Scentsable K-9.

Meet the Instructors

Peter Sellas

Peter is An Emergency Manager who joins Scentsable Canine Team with 25 years of experience working with canines. His experience began Certifying his first canine for the FEMA Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) Disaster Response System. Peter was a 19-year member of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department Search Dog Team. Serving as the Team Commander for 13 years. Peter trained and deployed two Wilderness and two Human remains detection dogs for the team. Nationally, he has held the appointed position of West Coast subject matter expert for the FEMA Urban Search and Rescue(US&R) Disaster Response System canine working group for 12 years. He has been a national FEMA canine evaluator for 18 years and a chief evaluator for 12 years. He is a national FEMA canine instructor. Peter is the Canine Coordinator for the City of Riverside Fire Department FEMA Californian Task Force Six (CA-TF6). He currently handles two canines, a live find canine, and a human remains canine for the FEMA system. Peter has deployed with his canines to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and national FEMA deployments including the recent Maui fires and Hurricane Maria. He deployed to the Oso mudslides, Montecito mudslides, and La Conchita Mudslides. Peter has worked numerous murder and lost person cases and has extensive experience working deadly fires with human remains canines.

Pete Stevens

Pete is a 32 year law enforcement veteran. He retired from the Chula Vista Police Department after 24.5 years of service. He has handled and trained law enforcement K9’s for 20 years. Pete has personally handled 4 different Police Service Dogs during his career while training numerous others. Working in a border town kept Pete busy doing narcotics interdiction work and he has knack for finding secret compartments in vehicles. He is an evaluator/certifying official for the State of California (CA POST) and California Narcotic Canine Association (CNCA) for patrol functions and narcotics detection. Pete is also CNCA Board Member, NACSW Nosework Trial Judge, and an instructor for Canine/Puppy Cognition Testing and Assessment.

Lily Strassberg

Lily is a trainer at Grassroots K9 where she raises and develops started malinois and labradors for single and dual purpose work for police departments in the US and Canada, and trains pet obedience in a board and train format. Previously, Lily worked for Ford K9, raising and training narcotic, firearm, explosive, and bed bug detection dogs and handlers, and at the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation (SDF), puppy raising and assisting in the training of live find and human remains disaster search dogs. While at SDF, she also managed the Fit to Work conditioning program for the dogs in training. Lily received her masters in Cognitive and Behavioral Science from Auburn University. She holds two bachelor of science degrees in Animal Behavior and Psychology with a Neuroscience focus. Lily has worked in Duke’s Canine Cognition and Auburn’s Comparative Cognition laboratories conducting assessments on populations of explosive detection dogs at a variety of ages to examine predictive profiles of performance. Lily has interned with Simon Prins in the Netherlands, Mike Nezbeth in Canada, and teaches canine cognition and detection fundamentals seminars in the US, Canada, and Europe.

Lauren Cardin

Lauren is a firefighter paramedic who joins the Scentsable Canine Team with 15 years experience working with canines. Her experience with working dogs began when she volunteered with Guide Dogs for the Blind. She also served as a volunteer for her local Sheriff’s Department Search Dog Team. On that team she helped train and deploy dogs of various disciplines such as tracking trailing, human remains detection, and wilderness search and rescue. Professionally, Lauren helped pilot a canine program with the Walt Disney Company on the West Coast, using detection canines as part of their preventative maintenance team. Since 2014 Lauren has been a member of the FEMA Urban Search and Rescue(US&R) Disaster Response System. She has certified two FEMA US&R Disaster Search Canines; in the Live Find as well as Human Remains Detection disciplines, and is currently training her third disaster search canine. Lauren has deployed with her dogs in support of multiple missions, to include the Montecito Mudslides in 2018 and the recovery effort following the Camp Fire (the most deadly and destructive wildfire in CA history). Lauren also holds a Bachelors Degree in Emergency and Disaster Management from Northern Arizona University.

Kevin Olin

Kevin recently retired after 30 years with the San Diego Sheriff’s Department. During his career, Kevin was assigned to the jails, patrol, Special Enforcement Detail (SED) AKA SWAT, and a cross border criminal suppression unit. During his last 9 years, Kevin was assigned and trained two canine partners. “Cido” is a dual purpose Belgian Malinois, trained for patrol and narcotics detection. “Blue” is a lab mix single purpose narcotics detection dog. Kevin and his K9 partners were assigned to a specialized unit working cross-border crimes for over 9 years. Together they found thousands of pounds of narcotics hidden in secret compartments within vehicles, homes and various other containers. He is a judge for NACSW and actively involved with the California Narcotic Canine Association (CNCA). Kevin’s home pack included retired K9 “Cido”, two Rottweilers “Tank” and “Roxy”, and one very energetic young Belgian Malinois “Balto”.

Cameron Ford

Cameron has been in K-9 for over 20 years. First serving the U.S. Air Force as Military Working Dog Handler and Trainer. Cameron is one of the very few Americans to ever attend the German Polizei working dog school in Eckenbach, Germany as well as the Dutch Police Scent Dog School in Nunspeet, Holland. After leaving the Air Force, Cameron operated a Police Dog training school in Orlando FL training police K-9’s from all over the USA. Cameron has also worked as a Police officer in FL and TX, working as a K-9 handler state instructor, state evaluator. In recent years Cameron, has worked in the Government Contractor field training overseeing 300 explosive detection dogs deployed to the middle east. Currently Cameron is a Military Special Operations Sr. Trainer for Multi-Purpose Canines and a CA POST Canine Team Evaluator. Cameron is the owner and lead trainer for Ford K9 based in Las Vegas.

Client Testimonials

I just had my first video debrief session with Pete and it has exceeded my expectations! We covered four different NW3 trials thoroughly in two hours. While that might seem like a long time, we were in such a state of flow, that the time flew by. Prior to our session, Pete took extra time to review all of my trial video footage and took comprehensive notes on every search. Pete used his real life experience and trial judge knowledge to help critique areas in which I can improve as a handler. I was able to see what exactly Pete was referring to as he was critiquing, which helped me tremendously as I am a visual learner. In addition, I was able to ask questions on why certain things happened within my searches that I was previously struggling with. Through this debrief, I have gained a better understanding of how to search productively, efficiently and with greater detail. More importantly, I believe I now have a better understanding of how my dog searches. These are skills in which I know will ultimately improve the relationship with my dog. I am so very grateful for the opportunity to learn from Pete and highly recommend this debrief session to anyone who wants to improve their handling skills, competitive Nosework skills, general relationship with their dog(s)...the list goes on!


Dear Pete, Elliot & Cameron, A great big thank you to each and every one of you. Your training at San Diego was so wonderful. Sophie and I had an absolutely wonderful time. I learned a ton. Please keep doing your trainings so we can do more, more and more. You were all a real credit to your professions as well as being really kind and thoughtful in your teaching. I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed it. Please keep me on the list and let me know when you are planning new programs.


SK9 workshops create tough scent challenges that push us way out of our comfort zone. Though I love when we really rock a search, I learn even more when pushed to failure points in the blank rooms, long searches, complex areas, and searches in the dark! We get great one-on-one feedback on alternative approaches for each area right after each search.


I have gone to four of Scentsable K9 seminars, because each time I go I become a better handler and learn something new to improve the teamwork between my dogs and myself. Having the three instructors is so great, they each give you so much to grow on. Thanks to Pete , Cameron and Elliot the last two trials I was in, my girls both got High in Trial and Pronounced!!!! It was due to listening to them in my head “cover your areas” “Have a plan” “4 coroners”. I would recommend their seminars to everyone.


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