Many companies unfortunately try to improvise when it comes to the field of detector dogs. Certification ensures that the team you trust has the experience and the skills to do the job safely.
It is important that the assessment be impartial, with clear criteria and an appropriate level of difficulty. It should also include a test to ensure that the dog is familiar with the different scents associated with its specialization and the settings in which the dog team will work.
An impartial evaluation of the skills of our teams
Independent certification is an evaluation that confirms the competence of the dog-handling teams. In fact, it is a kind of annual review.
In the case of dog handling teams, the aim is also to have an initial impartial evaluation to ensure that our teams will be effective and safe within the framework of their work. We want to be sure that both the dog and its handler have reached a suitable level of expertise to work safely in the field.
An annual evaluation will then be conducted to ensure that the dog team has kept up the necessary skills to continue to carry out its work and ensure public safety.
Certified dog handling teams are effective in real life
Our dog handling teams work with potentially dangerous materials and are used to ensure public safety. So we want to be sure that they will be effective in real life!
In the detection of explosives, this provides an outside opinion to ensure that the team has reached a minimum level of expertise to protect the public by detecting explosive devices or firearms and ammunition.
This also applies to bed bug detection, where we want to ensure that the dog team is effective in realistic scenarios before we offer the service. We know that the dog’s finding will have a significant impact on the lives of the clients. It has to be reliable!
Certification also confirms that the dog has the stamina to work for a significant length of time.
Recognized certifications all use real odours and not synthetic ones. The effectiveness of synthetic substances can be argued. One thing is certain – in real life, our teams are faced with real substances. So it is important that they can recognize them effectively. This is why the evaluation is done with real substances rather than with synthetic versions.
Backing up the skills of our teams in front of a judge
This assessment will also help to support the skills of our teams before a judge! These assessments will serve as expert testimony to ensure that the evidence found can be used in court.
Certification and further training
Certification is not everything, but it is at least the minimum necessary. After that, there should be training specific to the work environment of the team and continuous training throughout the career of the team.
An inexperienced dog handler could quickly compromise the skills of his team if he is not followed by an experienced supervisor. This is why the certification is annual. We want to reaffirm the skills of the team of handler and dog annually, at a minimum.
Before hiring a K9 unit, you should ensure that the dog handlers are independently certified, using real odours. Ask to see the certificates of the dog handling teams. These should include the name of the dog and handler, the date of certification, the name of the assessor and the organization they represent.