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United States Police Canine Association Region 3
A Professional Law Enforecement Canine Training and Certifying Association
Certifications - Police Dog I

In order to achieve the United States Police Canine Association's Police Dog I Certification, an officer and his/her canine must score a minimum of 490 points (70%) out of a possible total of 700 at a regionally sanctioned USPCA trial. Officers scoring a total of 560 points or more are then eligible to attend the USPCA National Police Dog Field Trial held once a year in various locations around the country. The test to obtain certification is made up of four parts that includes Obedience, Agility, Evidence & Suspect Search, and Criminal Apprehension. The following paragraphs provide an overview of the Rules & Regulations for Police Dog I Certification, where all exercises are done off leash. Click to download a complete copy of the PDI Rules & Regulations

Obedience (Total possible points - 120)

Heeling: The handler must walk with his/her canine at a heel over a three legged course and are tested in various maneuvers, including left, right & about turns that are all at a fast, slow or normal pace. Each leg of the course is measured between 75 and 100 feet.

Walking: With the canine at a heel the handler shall command the canine to sit, down or stand at a predetermined position. The handler is to keep walking, leaving the canine in that position. At a point determined by a testing steward the handler will return and heel the canine to his/her side without breaking stride. This shall be done for two of the three positions. Prior to the start of the test one of these positions will be selected as a "pass by", where during the return to the canine the handler passes by the canine. The canine must remain in the position until the handler again returns to the canine, this time heeling to his/her side without breaking stride. All commands for this exercise will be by voice only.

Distance: With the canine 50 feet away from the handler and in the sit position, the handler must command the canine to sit and down by both voice and hand commands. Once those command's have been completed, the handler must command the canine to recall to his side by either voice or hand commands. Once the canine is returning to the handler, at the halfway point the handler must command the canine to sit, down or stand by voice or hand command.

Agility (Total possible points - 60)
The agility course is made up of five obstacles. The canine, at the command of it's handler, is judged on it's ability to surmount these obstacles, starting anywhere from within 15 feet in front of the obstacle. All obstacles will be painted white with the exception of the Brick Wall and Chain Link Fence, and the Shrub Jump that will be painted green.

The obstacles include:

1. Hurdles: There are six types of hurdles, all 3 feet high and 4 feet wide. They include a Picket Fence, a Chain Link Fence, a Simulated Brick Wall, a Board Jump (solid wall), a Shrub Jump, and a Window with a 30 x 30 inch opening for the canine to jump through. Only four of the six will be used for the test and will be selected prior to testing. All obstacles selected will be spaced 16 feet apart and in a straight line. The canine will be judged on his ability to jump all four hurdles and return to his handlers side. The handler may start move forward with the canine but may not pass the second hurdle.

2. Catwalk: The Catwalk, also known as the Ladder Climb, will start with a ladder placed at a twenty-five to thirty degree angle leading up to a 24 inch wide platform. There may only be five steps to the ladder, with each step 12 inches apart. Each step is 2 x 4 inches and 24 inches wide. The platform will be 8 feet long and 6 feet above the ground. At the end of the platform will be a dismount ramp 24 inches wide and 10 feet long. The canine will be judged on his ability to climb the ladder, remain in a standing position at a midway point on top of the platform, and his response when called to the finish position.

3. Broad Jump: The Broad Jump consists of four boards, graduated in height from 6 to 12 inches, with each board 5 feet wide. Starting with the low board, they're placed one behind the other, covering a distance of 6 feet. The canine will be judged on his ability, with one command, to jump over this obstacle and return to the handlers side.

4. A-Frame: The A-Frame is an obstacle that is 6 feet high at the peak, 4 feet wide on each side, with the sides spread 4 feet apart at the bottom. There's a catch platform on the dismount side that's 3 feet high to help avoid injuries. Upon command, the canine must jump to the top of this obstacle, dismount, and return to the handlers side.

5. Crawl: This obstacle is 8 feet long, 4 feet wide and 16 inches high. The front and back are open with the sides covered with chain link fencing. The top is covered with a 4 x 8 sheet of plywood. Upon command, the canine must crawl under this obstacle, emerge from the other end, and return to his handlers side.


Article Search (Total possible points - 70)
Within 3 minutes the canine must locate and retrieve 2 items of evidence thrown into a 30 foot square area of grass approximately 12 inches high. The two articles will be selected from the following group of seven prior to testing: an expended green shotgun shell; a key on a ring with a tab; a dark colored book of matches; a metal handgun; a dark colored plastic credit card; a 4-6 inch long screwdriver; or a 3 x 3 inch piece of dark leather.
Suspect Search (Total possible points - 110)
Six wooden boxes, 4 x 4 feet in size, and each with a concealed door, are placed on flat and level ground. There are two rows of three boxes, 40 feet apart, with each row 40 feet from the center line. The concealed doors will be facing away from the center line and secured at all times. A judge or testing steward, acting as a suspect, will enter each of the boxes to contaminate them with his scent, air the boxes for 30 seconds and then permanently hide in one of the boxes. Upon entering the testing area the handler will have 4 minutes to direct the canine to search each of the boxes, without the handler leaving a ten foot strip down the center of the field. The canine will be judged on his ability to search, locate and indicate which box the suspect is hidden in.
Criminal Apprehension (Total possible points - 340)
This is a multi-phase exercise and by far the most important for certification. The first part includes False Start, Recall and Criminal Apprehension. The second part includes Criminal Apprehension with Gunfire and Handler Protection. During all these phases the team will be judged on the degree of control the handler has over the canine.

False Start: With one command the canine will be commanded to "stay" while positioned 30 yards from a suspect who will turn and run 10 yards before stopping. The canine will be judged on his ability to hold the stay position without further commands.

Recall: After being commanded to apprehend a fleeing suspect, the canine will be judged on his ability to stop the pursuit on command and return to his handlers side while the suspect continues to run away. For half the points, the suspect may stop running when he hears the canine being recalled by the handler.

Criminal Apprehension: The canine is judged on his ability, upon command, to pursue and apprehend a fleeing suspect. The canine will also be judged on his ability to release the suspect on command and return to his handlers side. The canine will then stand guard while his handler searches the suspect.

Criminal Apprehension with Gunfire: Upon being fired at from a suspect who is fleeing, the canine may pursue, without command, and apprehend the suspect. Once again, the canine is judged on his ability to release the suspect on command and return to his handlers side.

Handler Protection: As with Criminal Apprehension, the canine will stand guard after being commanded to release the suspect while his handler performs a search. However, during the search after Criminal Apprehension with Gunfire the suspect will assault the handler. The canine will be judged on his response to this assault and his ability to release the suspect upon command.

For the dates, times and locations of upcoming Police Dog I Certification Trials please check our Calendar of Events page.

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