Certification Standards

Conifer Canine

Police and Security Dog

Certification Standards

The following certification standards have been adopted by Conifer Canine.  Each test is designed to determine the proficiency of the Police/Security Dog team for certification in each phase of police work for K-9’s.  It is highly recommended, that a Police/Security Dog team graduating from a training school be tested and certified.  The successful passing of and certification of these courses is acceptable testimony in court.  Each test is based on a pass/fail basis.  Final determination is up to the Evaluator and will not be open for debate.  Any team failing a certification test will be allowed one re-test on certification day, time permitting.  Subsequent testing will occur after a minimum seven-day period for remedial training.

The Training Director determines if the team will be certified upon completion of the test.  Conifer Canine does not certify handlers or dogs.  If certified, the handler and dog are considered a team and it is the team that is certified. In the event the dog changes handlers, a new team will then exist, which will immediately invalidate the previous certification. The new team will then need to be certified.

  • Conifer Canine reserves the right to refuse or retract a certification at any time for any justified reason.
  • The team fails whenever the dog is out of control of the handler, as deemed by the Evaluator, in any phase of any test.
  • No cruel or abusive behavior/corrections will be displayed by the handler at any time. Such activity will be means of disqualification, with possible re-examination.
  • The safety of the dog during testing will be the sole responsibility of the handler.

I. Certifying Authority

Conifer Canine’s Training Director and/or his/her appointee will act as the certifying authority (hereinafter termed “Evaluator”) for all certification testing.  Teams successfully completing certification testing in a specific phase will be issued a certification certificate and will be valid for a period of one (1) year from the date of issue.

II. Equipment

In order for the certification to be as life-like as possible, prong collars and electronic collars may be worn by the K-9 and utilized during testing; however, harsh or abusive behavior – as deemed by the Evaluator – will be cause for failure.

III.  Certification Validity

Conifer Canine’s certifications issued to a Handler/Dog team are VALID ONLY when the team is being utilized by:

  1. The law enforcement agency the Police Service Dog team is employed by.
  2. A law enforcement agency in which the Police Service Dog team is on official assignment to by authority of the law enforcement agency for which the team is employed. (ie., county, state, federal task force)
  3. A law enforcement agency requesting and receiving official mutual aid from the Police Service Dog team’s law enforcement agency employer.
  4. A security dog team authorized and/or employed by a recognized security provider.
  5. A duly authorized Human Remains Detection team and/or Search/Rescue team.

Obedience Certification Test
This test is to determine the dog’s ability and proficiency in performing off lead obedience exercises and the handlers’ total control of his/her dog.

  • Passing this test is a prerequisite before proceeding to any other certification phase.
  • All dogs must show obedience to and cooperation with the handler.  If at any time during the testing (any phase) the dog is out of control of the handler, the team will fail that phase.

The team may be tested in the following three (3) phases:

  1. Heeling Phase
  2. Walking Phase
  3. Distance Phase

Each phase may be tested in any sequence and will be judged on a pass/fail basis.

Heeling Phase
This phase will consist of the following exercises:

  1. Normal pace
  2. Fast pace or at the double-time
  3. Slow pace or at the half-step
  4. A minimum of two (2) right turns; two (2) left turns; two (2) about turns
  5. Each leg of the above must be a minimum of ten (10) feet long.

The different phases may be conducted on any leg. On one leg of the course, the team must heel through a group of, at least three stationary people without showing aggression and be under complete control of the handler.

Walking Phase

  1. The handler and dog will start from the Heel position and walk forward together
  2. At a point designated by the Evaluator, the handler, without breaking stride, will place his/her dog in a “Stay” position (sit or down), and continue walking.
  3. At a point designated by the Evaluator, the handler, while continuing to walk away from his/her dog, next commanding his/her dog to “Heel.”
  4. The Evaluator will instruct the team to “About Turn” and then to walk forward.
  5. At a point designated by the Evaluator, the handler without breaking stride, will “Stay” his/her dog, (sit or down), and continue walking.
  6. At a point designated by the Evaluator, the handler will turn and retrieve his/her dog and return to the original starting point.

Distance Phase

  1. At a point designated by the Evaluator, the handler will leave his/her dog in a “Stay,” at a distance of no less than twenty-five feet.
  2. The handler will then be directed to turn and face his/her dog.
  3. The Training Director will then advise the handler to complete the following commands. “Sit & Down” (by voice) and / or “Sit & Down” (by hand signal)
    • Note: Choice and order of commands or signals will be at the discretion of the Evaluator.
  4. The Evaluator will then advise the handler to recall his/her dog by hand signal or by voice command.
  5. At a point prior to the dog reaching the handler, the Evaluator will advise the handler to “Stop” his/her dog by voice or by hand signal. Stopping the dog may be by either a “Down, Sit or Stay” command.
  6. After the dog has stopped, the Evaluator will advise the handler to recall his/her dog to the heel position by hand signal or voice command.

Aggression Control Certification Test

This certification test is to determine a dog team’s capabilities, in the performance of specific exercises, while under simulated realistic conditions which the team may encounter during their official duties.  Therefore, only hidden sleeves or realistic bite suit will be worn by the suspect during testing.  This test is designed to test the dog’s ability, proficiency, courage, and the handler’s total control of his/her dog.

Protective equipment in good condition will be worn by the suspect during each phase of the aggression control test.  The type of lead used by the handler will be at his/her discretion, but will not be more than six feet in length. Each phase will be completed off lead unless otherwise specified.

The gunfire phase of the test may use a variety caliber of handguns and blank ammunition only.  All weapons and ammunition will be safety checked by the certifying Evaluator prior to the gunfire phase of the test.

Whenever possible, the suspect will be unknown to the dog.  Those acting as suspects for the test may include handlers being tested, trainers, or other individuals approved by the Evaluator, or the Evaluator himself.

  • In the phases requiring the dog to physically apprehend the suspect, the dog must fully engage and hold the suspect.
  • Failure to engage the suspect is grounds for failure.
  • In the phases requiring the dog to stop his pursuit and apprehension of the suspect, the handler may use any command or series of commands to control his/her dog.
  • The handler will inform the Evaluator prior to testing as to the command sequence used.
  • Failure of the dog to release and/or to respond to obedience commands in a timely manner is grounds for failure.
  • The team fails whenever the dog is out of control of the handler, as deemed by the Evaluator, in any phase of any test.

The dog team will be tested in the following four phases. Each phase is tested on a pass/fail basis and must be passed before proceeding to the next phase.

  1. False Start
  2. Recall
  3. Handler Protection
  4. Short Chase with Gunfire

Phase One: False Start

The handler will place his/her dog in the heel, sit, or down-stay position.  The suspect will then approach the front of the team and close to a distance of ten feet from the team.  The suspect may or may not engage in conversation with the team.  The suspect will then walk or run away in the opposite direction of the team.  The handler will command his/her dog to stay prior to the suspect leaving the team’s vicinity.  During this phase the dog must remain in the commanded position as the suspect leaves the area.

Phase Two: Recall

The dog will start this phase from the heel position. The suspect will be at a distance of approximately forty yards away from the team. The Evaluator will direct the suspect to run from the team in any direction. The Evaluator will direct the handler to send his/her dog to make the apprehension.  The suspect will stop and surrender, terminating the pursuit when instructed by the Evaluator.  The handler will call off the dog.  The type of call off is at the discretion of the handler. The Evaluator must be advised of the type of call off prior to the test.

Call offs may include the following:

  1. The dog is recalled to the heel position.
  2. The dog will be commanded to a down, sit or standing position, and the handler will join the dog.
  3. The dog will be commanded to a down, sit or standing position, and the handler will recall the dog.

The importance of this phase is that the suspect is not bitten or “mouthed” by the dog on the call off.  Active non-aggressive contact made by the dog during the call off is not a failure.  This phase is completed upon the dogs’ return to the heel position with the handler.

Phase Three: Handler Protection

This phase simulates a suspect being taken into physical custody by the handler.  The handler commands the dog into a sit, down, or stay position at a distance of twenty feet from the suspect.

The handler will approach and pat down the suspect.  The suspect will simulate an attack upon the handler during the pat down/simulated handcuffing.  The dog will apprehend and hold the suspect without command from the handler.  The dog will be called off in any of the three methods as described in phase two.  The dog is then placed back into the sit, down, or stay position.

The handler will pat down the suspect a second time with no attack being initiated by the suspect.

The dog will remain in the sit, down, or stay position. The Evaluator will advise the handler to back away from the suspect and call his/her dog to the heel position.  The phase is completed when the dog returns to the heel position with the handler.

Phase Three may include a variety of scenarios involving a vehicle stop with a foot pursuit, building search, or any attack upon the handler by the suspect.

Phase Four: Short Chase With Gunfire

The suspect will be approximately forty yards distance away from the K9 team.  The suspect will be armed with a handgun with blanks.  The suspect will run away from the team and fire shots in a direction away from the dog.  The handler will release the dog after the shots and apprehend the suspect.  The suspect will be ordered by the handler to drop the gun if still in his possession.  The dog will be called off in any of the three methods as described in phase two.  The phase is completed when the dog returns to the heel position with the handler.

Phase Four may include a variety of scenarios involving a vehicle stop with a foot pursuit, building search, or any attack upon the handler by the suspect.

Area Search Certification Test

This test is to determine the Police/Security Dog’s ability and proficiency in searching for a hidden suspect within a large area where a known track is not available.

The Evaluator will determine the general area to be searched and the search time allocated for the test.  During the test, the Evaluator will observe the working team from a distance so as to minimize distractions and/or interference for the team during the search.

The Handler will begin the test from a starting point he/she has selected, using downwind conditions (if present), located outside of the search area perimeters.  The handler may conduct this test on or off lead.

Standard leads, collars, correction collars, or harnesses may be used.  The handler will advise the Evaluator to an area within ten feet of the hidden suspect.  The handler will command the hidden suspect to make themselves physically or verbally known to the team.

The Suspect should be unknown to the dog, who is not normally used in the dog’s training.  The suspect will conceal themselves from the team, within the search area perimeters at least ten minutes prior to the start of the test.

Building Search Certification Test

This test is a simulation of a working building deployment.  Three types of building structures are authorized for use in this test.  The Evaluator will accompany the team during the test, in which his presence will represent a backup officer during an actual search.  Please note:  Officer survival using cover and concealment tactics during the test will be also evaluated.

Building Structure Types:

  1. Residences. Dwellings.
  2. Warehouses, Stores, Barns, Open areas within a building
  3. School, hotels, office buildings, multi room interior.
  4. Any building judged acceptable by the Evaluator.

Suspect:

  1. Will be hidden at least ten minutes prior to the start of the test.
  2. Will conceal themselves in a location not visible to the K-9 team.
  3. Will wear protective equipment if necessary for protection.
  4. Should enter the building structure by a different entry route, than to be used by the K9 team.
  5. Will be concealed at any height or depth.

The Evaluator:

  1. Will designate the area of the building to be used for the test.
  2. Will designate the area for the team to start their search.
  3. Will accompany the team into the building to observe the test.
  4. During the test, the Evaluator will observe the working team from a distance that minimizes distractions and/or interference for the team during the search.
  5. An Evaluator who determines a dog not to be searching for the suspect will fail the team.

Handler:

  1. This test may be conducted on or off lead.  Standard equipment may be used such as collars, harnesses, etc.
  2. The handler may encourage his/her dog with commands and/or praise as needed during the test.
  3. The dogs’ indication in locating the suspect must be obvious to the Evaluator.
    • The handler will advise the Evaluator of their observations, when his/her dog indicates the presence of a suspect behind a closed door.

Article Search Certification Test

This test is to determine the Police/Security Dogs’ ability and proficiency in searching a designated area for articles having human scent on them. The test represents a search for discarded evidence or lost items.  The Evaluator will designate the search area for the test.

The Evaluator will observe the test from outside of the search area.  The size of the Search Area will be at the Evaluator’s discretion.  One or more persons will contaminate the test area by traversing through the area twice with a dog prior to the test.

Three Search Articles of different composition will be selected by the Evaluator.  Articles may consist of metal, wood, paper, plastic etc…and will be thrown at random into the search area.  One of the three articles used for testing must be of metal composition.

Articles to be used will be selected from, but not limited to, the following list:

  1. Plastic credit card
  2. Plastic/Metal cigarette lighter
  3. Shotgun shell
  4. Nylon/Leather Wallet
  5. Metal handgun
  6. Crumpled cigarette pack
  7. Wood handle tools
  8. Paper match book
  9. Keys
  10. Sunglasses

The Handler may conduct this test on or off lead at his/her discretion.  The test will begin when the handler and dog enter the search area.  The team will have approximately five minutes to search and locate the three articles being tested.

  • The dog must locate two of the three articles with strong indications on both articles to pass this test.
  • The dog will be judged on the alert and indication to the search article.

This must be obvious to the Evaluator.  After each indication and article recovery, the handler will command the dog to continue to search for the remaining article(s).  For testing purposes, it is preferred that the handler will elect to recover the article(s) him/herself, which were located by the dog.

Failure of this test may be based on the lack of handler control, disinterest on the part of the dog, biting of the Evaluator or other non-aggressive personnel assisting in this test.

Trailing Certification Test
The terms tracking and trailing can be used interchangeably.

Purpose of the Evaluation:

The test will consist of two areas of evaluation.   The first area is to determine the proficiency and reliability of the K9 in tracking and to test the dog’s ability to be human-scent discriminate.  The second area of evaluation is to test the handler’s ability to read the dog, implement lost track recovery procedures, and provide communication as to the direction and progress of the track.

Certification Testing:

The testing for the K9 team will be on a pass/fail basis.   Any team failing a certification test will be allowed one re-test on certification day.  Subsequent re-testing will occur after a minimum seven-day period for remedial training.

K9 Equipment used during Certification:

During testing exercises, only equipment normally used by the K9 team will be allowed, which may consist of collar, leash, and tracking harness.

Testing Procedure:

Prior to testing, instructions will be given to the K9 team by the Evaluator as to the testing requirements.  Exercise time limits will be at the discretion of the Evaluator.  There is no penalty for getting off the trail and correcting.

Trailing Test Requirements:

  1. The tracking exercise may be conducted with harness and lead.
  2. The handler may use multiple commands and/or praise throughout the exercise.
  3. The track will be a minimum of one-half hour old and maximum of three hours old when started by the K9 team. Track age will be determined by the Evaluator based on environmental conditions.
  4. The track will be a minimum of one half mile in length.
  5. The track will cross multiple surfaces and must include grass, and at least one of four factors – asphalt, concrete, gravel, or dirt – and a wooded area.
  6. The track will have two cross tracks, made by different people, that are fresher than the original track.
  7. A scent article may be requested by the handler prior to beginning the track. At least two other tracks will be located in/around the starting area.  The general area of the starting point of the track will be provided to the handler, but no direction will be given.  The K9 must locate the correct track and begin tracking from the general area previously indicated.
  8. The training director will either accompany the team during the track or visually follow the team. Any team that wanders too far off the track, at the Evaluator’s discretion, will fail the exercise.
  9. The handler must recognize air-scenting indications by the K9 of the tracklayer’s position and announce those to the training director as soon as indications are given. Upon locating and identifying the tracklayer’s positions, the exercise will be concluded.

Narcotic Detector Certification Test

This test is to determine the proficiency and reliability of Police/Security Dogs in the detection of narcotics.

Teams will be tested in a minimum of three test phase areas which are as follows:

  1. Vehicle Phase (Required)
  2. Building Phase (Required)
  3. Container Phase (Optional per Evaluator’s discretion)
  4. Other Designated Areas (Optional per Evaluator’s discretion)
  • Note: There will be a mandatory break between each test phase.
  • Certification testing will utilize at least three controlled substances.  Certification testing substances may include: marijuana, cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine, and/or others.
  • The narcotic substance will be used in certification testing as per availability.   Pseudo narcotics are not permitted for narcotic detector certification testing.

Narcotic Detector Test

  1. A minimum of one hide of each odor attempted to be certified in will be hidden in one of the three phases by the certifying Training Director.
  2. Odors attempted to be certified in will have a minimum set time of twenty minutes prior to beginning the test.
  3. Narcotics hides will be unknown to the team and may be placed high or low.
  4. Narcotics amounts to be used in the test will be determined by the certifying Evaluator.  A minimum of one gram of each odor will be used in testing.
  5. The narcotic detector certification test will be conducted on a pass/fail basis.
  6. Only one missed hide – by handler or canine – will be permitted to pass the certification test.
  7. Vehicle Phase Testing: The search area will consist of up to six vehicles, including hides and blanks.  The vehicles will be spaced in a manner that cross contamination will not occur.  Narcotics hides may be placed either interior or exterior per the Evaluator’s discretion.
  8. Building Phase Testing: The search area will be at the Evaluator’s discretion and must consist a room/s with hides and room/s that are blank.
  9. Container Phase Testing: The search area will consist of one row of at least four containers, including hides and blanks.  The container items will be spaced in such a manner that cross contamination will not occur.
  10. Time limits during each search phase are per discretion of the certifying Evaluator and so long as the Evaluator determines that the team is working.
  11. The Certifying Evaluator conducting the test will be responsible for ensuring all test phase areas are safe for the certifying team(s).  Certifying Evaluator will take every precaution in securing and concealing narcotics aides in an effort to prevent accidental exposure and ingestion of narcotics substances used for testing purposes.
  12. Searches may be conducted on and/or off lead at the handler’s discretion.
  13. Searches may be conducted by “free search” and/or “detailed search” at the handler’s discretion.
  14. The dog’s reward toy or object used during the narcotic detector certification test will not contain any narcotics or narcotic odor/residue.

Explosives Search Certification

The terms “Aid” or “Hide” shall mean an explosive substance.

This test is designed to test the reliability of dogs in the detection of explosives. It is a two part testing process:

  1. It will consist of Odor Identification testing
  2. Operational Search testing.

Both portions must be passed in order to be a certified explosives detection team.  For either portion of the test, the Team is not allowed to miss any training aids.  Testing is on a pass/fail basis and all final decisions rest with the Evaluator conducting the testing.  If a team fails in one test area, the Evaluator has the discretion to either retest only the area missed or the entire testing process at a later time.  Retesting is at the discretion of the Evaluator, however no more than two attempts are allowed in the same day to pass this testing.

  • In an effort towards realism, the canine must not wear any metal such as collars, remotes, buckles, parts of harness, or other material that could detonate an explosive.
  • The odor testing section must be passed before any search testing can be attempted.
  • The testing can be done over a one-day period or more. This decision shall rest with the Evaluator.
  • All aids will be placed at least thirty minutes prior to testing.
  • No detonating devices will be used as aids in testing.
  • Prior to the first detection team entering the test area, a man and a K9 may be walked through the testing area.  This is at the Evaluator’s discretion.
  • Each handler must tell the Evaluator how his/her dog will alert to an aid prior to testing.
  • Each indication to an aid by the canine must be obvious to the Evaluator.
  • Any dogs who scratches or shows any aggression toward an aid is an immediate failure.
  • All aids used in testing should be of recent manufacture and stored in separate containers.
  • It shall be the responsibility of the agency being tested to provide the testing aids.  Strict safety measures shall be upheld during testing.
  • No smoking will be allowed in any testing areas.
  • In an effort towards realism, the canine should not be rewarded at the hide.

All teams must be tested on all basic odors unless specifically requested otherwise by the Handler’s Agency.

The basic odors are:

  • Powders (Black or Smokeless)
  • Commercial Dynamites
  • C4 or Flex-X Data Sheet (RDX)
  • TNT or Military Dynamite
  • Primer Cord (PETN)
  • Slurries (Water-Gel)

Other target odors may be used at the Hander/Agency’s request and Evaluator’s discretion.

  • The maximum weight of the explosive used shall be unlimited; however, a minimum weight of a half-pound or 1 stick shall be used for testing.
  • The handler will not be told the number or type of explosives they are searching for prior to any testing.

Explosive Odor Identification Testing
This testing provides for basic odor identification of explosive odors to ensure the team’s ability to indication on their presence.

  • The testing process shall be a series of rows of clean containers.
  • These items shall be placed in rows spaced equally apart to allow easy access by the teams to effectively check each.
  • All jars or cans shall be clean and due care shall be used to ensure no cross contamination of odors or contamination with human odors when placing and handling aids, jars or cans.
  • Indication must be obvious in nature and the handler must notify the Evaluator of each indication.
  • The handler may not point out hides or guide their dog to indicate on a hide.
  • Any urinating, defecating, or aggression shown towards training aids will be immediate failure.
  • All aids will be placed at least thirty minutes prior to testing.

Explosives Detection Search Test
The following areas may be used for testing.  The canine team will be tested in four different areas.  The areas will be picked by availability at the Evaluator’s discretion.

The areas that can be tested in are:

  • Buildings-Interior
  • Vehicles
  • Building-Exterior
  • Aircraft
  • Baggage
  • Mass Transit Vehicle

To be realistic as possible, the handler should always be conscious of possible booby traps during the search.  If/when the Handler discovers a hazard such as these, he/she should immediately notify the Evaluator of the discovery location.  Tripping a trip wire, pressure plate, etc is cause for failure.

Open Air Searching

Building Search:  The building search will consist of several rooms at the Evaluator’s discretion.  Each room should be realistic in setting.  It is possible that more than one hide/aid is present in a room/s.  At least one room should contain no aid.  The aids will be placed so the canine cannot reasonably retrieve it.  The handler may not open cabinet doors, desk drawers, closet doors, etc.

Vehicle Search: The number of vehicles used for testing will be at the Training Director’s discretion.  Only one aid may be placed on or in one vehicle.  All detection will be done from outside the vehicle.  The dog must not jump on, dig at the hide or other behavior that would invite disaster by “detonating” an explosive, in this case an inert hide.  One aid will be placed inside a closed engine compartment.  Additional aids must be placed at the discretion of the Evaluator and may be placed, but not limited to:

  • The exterior of the gas tank or fill pipe.
  • Drive shaft or under carriage
  • Interior of closed trunk
  • Closed (windows up), Passenger compartment
  • Underside and or outer body

Building Exterior Search: The exterior of any reasonable-sized building may be used as a testing area.  These may include buildings such as houses, office buildings, schools, warehouses etc.  Hide location will be at the Evaluator’s discretion, but common sense must prevail on locations used.

Aircraft Search: This will be at the discretion of the Evaluator.  Availability will be the major factor in the testing.  The entire search shall include the interior and exterior of the aircraft along with all ground support equipment.  At least one aid may be placed inside of the aircraft.  Additional aids may be placed outside at the discretion of the Evaluator.  This can be either inside the aircraft or outside.  All aids will be placed so the canine cannot retrieve them.  Contamination rules will be strictly adhered to regarding the placement of aids inside any aircraft.

Baggage Search:  Baggage shall be defined as hard and soft-shell suitcases, attaché case, clothing bags, brief cases, golf bags, sea bags, duffel bags, etc.

The number of bags used for testing shall be at the discretion of the Evaluator.  (Bags may contain some clothing or other materials).  All aids will be placed inside the bags so the canine cannot retrieve it.  Bags may be placed in rows with enough space between each bag to allow the canine to search.

Mass Transit Vehicles:  The Evaluator will select the mass transit vehicles, based on availability.  Consideration may be given to the types of mass transit vehicles typically encountered by the handlers.  These vehicles may include buses, trains, watercraft and etc.  Training aids will be placed in such a manner that it is reasonable that the canine cannot retrieve them.  The Evaluator will determine the number and placement of aids and blank areas.

Locker Searches:  Lockers may also be used as a testing area.  Hides may be in the lower portion or the upper portion of a locker.  The number of aids will be at the discretion of the Evaluator.

Open Area Search: Open area to be no smaller than 30 X 30 yards.  Aids will be placed at the discretion of the Evaluator and may be buried down to 12” deep or up to a maximum of 12’ high.

An open area may be:

  • Open Fields
  • Wooded Area
  • Any area outside not covered

Cadaver Detector Certification Test

The team fails whenever the dog is out of control of the handler, as deemed by the Evaluator, in any phase of any test.  Each test is based on a pass/fail basis.  Final determination is up to the Evaluator and will not be open for debate.  Any team failing a certification test will be allowed one re-test on certification day, time permitting.  Subsequent testing will occur after a minimum seven-day period for remedial training.

Obedience Phase

This test is to determine the Dog’s ability and proficiency in performing off lead obedience exercises and the handlers’ total control of his/her dog.  Passing this test is a prerequisite before proceeding to any other certification phase in which the dog will be utilized off lead.  The team fails whenever the dog is out of control of the handler.

The team may be tested (at the Evaluator’s discretion) in the following three phases:

  1. Heeling Phase
  2. Walking Phase
  3. Distance Phase

Each phase may be tested in any sequence and will be judged on a pass/fail basis.  No cruel or abusive corrections will be displayed by the handler at any time.  Such activity will be means of disqualification, with possible re-examination.

Heeling Phase
This phase will consist of the following exercises:

  1. Right turn/s
  2. Left turn/s
  3. About turn/s

And may include the following:

  1. Normal pace
  2. Fast pace or double time
  3. Slow pace or half-step

The different phases may be conducted on any leg.  On one leg of the course, the team must heel through a group of stationary people without showing aggression or timidity and be under complete control of the handler.

Walking Phase

  1. The handler and dog will start from the “Finish” position and walk forward together
  2. At a point designated by the Evaluator, the handler without breaking stride, will place his/her dog in a “Stay” position (sit or down), and continue walking.
  3. At a point designated by the Evaluator, the handler, while continuing to walk away from his/her dog, next commanding his/her dog to “Heel.”
  4. The Evaluator will instruct the team to “About Turn” and then to walk forward.
  5. At a point designated by the Evaluator, the handler without breaking stride, will “Stay” his/her dog, (sit or down), and continue walking.
  6. At a point designated by the Evaluator, the handler will turn and retrieve his/her dog and return to the original starting point.

Distance Phase

  1. At a point designated by the Evaluator, the handler will leave his/her dog in a “Stay,” at a distance of no less than twenty-five (25) feet, or more than fifty (50) feet.
  2. The handler will then be directed to turn and face his/her dog.
  3. The Evaluator will then advise the handler to complete the following commands. “Sit & Down” (by voice) and / or “Sit & Down” (by hand signal).  Choice and order of commands or signals will be at the discretion of the Evaluator.
  4. The Evaluator will then advise the handler to recall his/her dog by hand signal or by voice command.
  5. At a point prior to the dog reaching the handler, the Evaluator will advise the handler to “Stop” his/her dog by voice or by hand signal.  Stopping the dog may be by either a “Down, Sit or Stay” command.
  6. After the dog has stopped, the Evaluator will advise the handler to recall his/her dog to the heel position by hand signal or voice command.

Cadaver Detection Phase

This test is to determine the proficiency and reliability of Police Service Dogs and Recovery teams in the detection of human remains.  The team fails whenever the dog is out of control of the handler.  Teams will be tested in four phase areas which are as follows: Vehicle Phase, Building Phase, Buried Land Search, Other Designated Areas: rubble, water, disarticulated remains.  Note: There will be a mandatory break between each test phase.  Human remains consisting of blood material, tissue, and bone will be utilized for testing.  Any dog that digs at or grabs a HR hide will fail that phase of testing.  Re-testing

Cadaver Detector TestVehicles:  At least three vehicles free from any target odors of narcotics or explosives will be utilized for testing.  One hide will be placed on the interior or exterior of a vehicle per the Evaluator’s discretion at least 30 minutes prior to the beginning of the test.  The team will search all vehicles.  The team must locate the vehicle containing the cadaver hide and correctly call the blank vehicles.

Buildings: An unknown (to the handler) number of hides will be placed in a building.  One must be higher than four feet.  There must be at least two negative rooms.  The team will search at least four rooms but no more than six rooms.  The team must locate all of the hides and correctly call the blank rooms.

Buried Land Search:  One hide will be buried at a depth of at least 6-12″ in debris, loose vegetation, or loose soil at least four hours prior to the beginning of the test.  There will be more than one search area, sized according to the discretion of the Evaluator.  Animal remains may be used as a distracter in one area.  One area must be a blank/negative.  A false alert on the animal remains constitutes a failure.  A false alert in the negative area constitutes a failure.  The team must locate the buried hide.

Evaluator’s Choice:  Rubble, Disarticulated Remains, or Water:  The Evaluator will choose the venue for this test.

Rubble will consist of manmade debris.  An unknown number of hides (to the handler) will be placed in the rubble pile.  The team must locate all hides.

Disarticulated remains will consist of multiple hides of bone placed in an area sized according to the Evaluator’s discretion.  These bones will not be visible to the handler.  The team must locate the bone field.

Water search will consist of a lake area no smaller than 300 yards by 300 yards. There will be at least one hide.  As an attempt towards realism, a scent generator machine will not be used.  The dog and handler must locate the surface scent within 20 feet (taking into account wind and current).   Under no circumstances will cadaver material be placed directly into a water source.

General Guidelines:  Cadaver amounts to be used in the test will be determined by the certifying Evaluator.  A minimum of 1.5cc liquid or 15 grams solid weight will be utilized.  The cadaver detector certification test will be conducted on a pass/fail basis.  Time limits during each search phase are per the discretion of the certifying Evaluator and so long as the Evaluator determines that the team is working.  The team fails whenever the dog is out of control of the handler.

The Evaluator conducting the test will strive to make all test phase areas as safe as possible for the certifying team(s).   However, the safety of the dog during testing will be the sole responsibility of the handler.  The certifying Evaluator will take every precaution in securing and concealing cadaver hides in an effort to prevent accidental exposure and ingestion of cadaver materials used for testing purposes.  Searches may be conducted on and/or off lead at the handlers’ discretion, after passing the respective on/off lead obedience phase/s.  Searches may be conducted by “free search” and/or “detailed search” at the handlers’ discretion.  The dog’s reward toy or object used during the cadaver detector certification test will not contain any cadaver odor/residue.  The test will be conducted on a pass/fail basis. The Evaluator determines if the team will be certified upon completion of the test.  If certified, the handler and dog are considered a team and it is the team that is certified.  In the event the dog changes handlers, the previous certification is invalid, and the new team will have to be tested in order to be certified.   Certification is valid for one year from the date of passing.

Any team failing a certification test will be allowed one re-test on certification day, time permitting.  Subsequent testing will occur after a minimum seven-day period for remedial training.

Conifer Canine reserves the right to refuse or retract a certification at any time for any justified reason.

Last revised 10/24/19