The USPCA offers certification for canines trained to detect narcotics, explosives, liquid accelerants, wildlife and human remains (cadaver). Although certification trials are held for all these detector canines, the most common testing is for narcotics and explosives. Since the majority of members viewing this page will only be interested in those two types of certification, those are the only two that will be discussed. However, to download a complete copy click Rules & Regulations for all Detector Certifications.
In order to achieve the United States Police Canine Association's Detector Dog Certification, a narcotic team must locate three out of four hidden substances, and score a minimum of 140 points (70%) out of a possible total of 200 at a regionally sanctioned USPCA trial. Due to the serious consequences of explosives, explosive teams must find all four hidden substances.
There are a total of four substances hidden for this test. Two will be outside on vehicles and two will be inside in rooms. For the vehicle search five vehicles will be used. The two narcotic substances may be placed inside or outside of the vehicles, while the two explosive substances shall be placed only on the outside. No two substances will be placed on the same vehicle. The vehicle search will have a ten minute time limit, unless the narcotic substances are placed inside the vehicles. In that case there will be a fifteen minute time limit. For the inside search, three furnished rooms will be used to hide two substances, with one of the rooms being a "clean" room. There will be a time limit of one and one-half minutes per 100 square feet.
In all tests the substances will be placed in a practical location that will show the judges the canine's ability to locate the substances and the handler's ability to interpret the canines alert. Their scoring will include the canine's response to the substance, his alert, interest, and enthusiasm. It also includes the handler's performance, including search pattern, confidence in the canine, enthusiasm, and leash control.
For dates, times and locations of upcoming Detector Certification Trials please check our Calendar of Events page.