A diverse organization of elite K9 security and training providers, 360 K9 Group brings together six companies of unique specializations under one umbrella. From cargo screening to body-worn detection of weapons and explosives, to detection of viruses including COVID-19, 360 K9 Group member organizations provide industry-leading security services, with the help of some seriously hard-working dogs.
Vice President of Business Development, Christie Dober, sat down with us to share the mission behind the organization, their partners like the U.S. Canine Biathlon, and how Ray Allen products are essential to their business.
How did you get started in the K9 industry?
I’ve been in K9 just shy of 30 years. I started off as a military working dog handler, PCS in the Army. Then I went into law enforcement for a while. I’ve done a variety of things. One of the more interesting titles I have had was Capabilities Analysis for the Department of Defense during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Business development for this organization was a perfect transition for me.
What’s the story behind 360 K9 Group?
360 K9 Group is a division of 360 Security Partners. We had conversations about six months ago to bring together the industry’s expert K9 companies under one umbrella so we can specialize in providing K9 training, industry specific expertise, and seminars for working dog professionals to combat today’s threats.
Companies under the 360 K9 Umbrella include:
360 K9 Group brought together a group of companies that are specialized in each of their fields. What we have found is that we want to work with experts … at what they are experts at, instead of trying to do everything in ourselves, under one name.
VWK9 is well known for body-worn explosive detection, and specializes in exactly that, in body-worn explosive and now firearms detection. We’ve developed programs like School Safety Dog, and Public Safety K9. Those are all body-worn detection programs that are addressing the current threat that is domestically spreading across the United States.
Our Cargo Screening K9, CSK9 provides support from California to Florida to New York with teams all over the country to provide the support to … freight carriers screening cargo per the TSA mandates.
Bio-Detection K9 is our newest company, yet bio-detection is not new to us, or them. Bio-Detection K9 was formed based off of the work that has previously been done in the last decade to detect viruses and citrus plants. It was a natural transition for us, then, to study the science and determine how we address the COVID-19 pandemic. Our Bio-Detection K9 is not strictly COVID-19 detection, yet it has become more of a focus of late. We also do agricultural detection projects and other bio-chemical or viral detection.
Coast to Coast K9 is out of New Smyrna Beach, Florida and they’re co-located with Southern Coast K9. Southern Coast is our law enforcement branch as experts in the industry providing dogs to local law enforcement agencies for over 30 years. Coast to Coast is our K9 Service division. They provide support to foreign governments, the Department of State, amusement parks, cruise lines, and many other international partnerships.
We’ve essentially taken the six companies, each specialized in one aspect or K9 service, to bring together a more efficient, direct and aligned resource to the K9 working dog community, enabling us to respond to their needs.
Ray Allen was at the last K9 Biathlon event back in May! Tell us more about that event.
U.S. K9 Biathlon is our branch for events, trainings, and engagement with the community. It’s not-for-profit. We put on a race every year that is typically a "tough mudder" style course, for you/handler and your dog. It’s marketed as the ultimate K9 bonding experience.
It has grown each year, with participants from all over the United States, and gaining popularity with partners and competitors overseas. This was our 7th year, although it was our 6th race (due to COVID restrictions in place last year). We average about 1,400-1,600 participants throughout the weekend, and we anticipate this number will almost double for 2022.
It is a four+ mile, man-made obstacle course where you have to not only get your dog through each obstacle, but the human has to do it as well. It’s probably one of the best events I’ve ever participated in for K9. It’s just unique; there’s nothing else like it in the world!
Dober and her team run the course beforehand to test the course for safety, and they love the challenge and bonding it facilitates for both dogs and trainers alike.
We tell all the new guys who have been hired over the course of the year that they have to go through the tunnels first to clear snakes! (lol) It’s definitely a challenging course by yourself. But when you do this race with a dog, twice as much.
How has Ray Allen Manufacturing been essential to the 360 K9 Group?
Ray Allen provides all of the equipment for our cargo screening K9 company, in addition to being one of our main sponsors of the U.S. K9 Biathlon.
The neat thing about the U.S. K9 Biathlon event is that we see everyday dog owners participate and enjoy the atmosphere, competing side-by-side with hardcore dog handlers. There are quite a few “regular pet people'' that are also looking for that bonding experience with their dogs. And they just love all the heavy-duty Ray Allen equipment found at the event, that they just don't learn about anywhere else. The sponsorship/partnership has been so fantastic for us.
To see some of the tools they use in the field, like our heavy-duty, tactical harnesses, leashes, and bite training gear, be sure to check out our online catalog. Ray Allen is proud to provide 360 K9 Group and the U.S. K9 Biathlon with the military spec K9 gear that they love and trust for field work and everyday use.