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Explosives Detection

This test will evaluate the K-9 Teams proficiency in detecting the odor of explosives. The basic explosive odors are PETN, RDX, TNT, Potassium CHLORATE AND Potassium NITRATE and SMOKELESS GUNPOWDER. At a minimum all of the basic odors will be used, but odor compounds may be used as well. Certificates will list the odors and derivatives on which the K-9 has certified. The test will use real explosive samples only.    The scenario portion of the certification shall provide situations for the K-9 team such as: Vehicle checkpoints, suspicious packages and vehicles, distractions around the search areas, and the like. These scenarios should be approached as actual deployments would be approached.

Explosives Detection Certificate: Valid for one year. Two hides of each basic odor tested shall be placed in separate areas designated by the evaluator, and a minimum of four blank areas shall be designated. These hides shall be placed between ground level and 4’ high, with minimal depth. Hides in an area shall be placed no less than 25 feet apart. In addition a scenario shall be set up by the evaluator to mimic an essential scenario for explosives detection K9, complete with role playing by the evaluator, assistant evaluator, or an officer not testing in explosives detection.

The K-9 must alert to and handler must indicate to the evaluator the general location of the explosive.  One called false alert and one miss shall be allowed, however a passing score of 90% or greater must be achieved in order to certify. The presiding evaluators shall have the final authority to throw out any portion of the test for being fouled by contamination or inappropriate set up of planted hides, and/or faulty instruction to the handlers, and may re-shoot a portion or the entire test on the next day of certification. The evaluator or his assistant shall be allowed to reward the dog upon a successful call. The entire test shall be timed.

The Alert The dog shall use a passive alert. The handler must verbally indicate to the evaluator the general location of the hide based on reading his own dog’s alert.

Miss: A miss shall occur in an area which contains an explosive hide and the handler indicates to the evaluator that there are no explosives in the area.

False Alert: A false alert shall occur in an area without any explosive odor and the handler indicates to the evaluator that there are explosives in the area.

Areas To be Searched: A) Vehicles B) Building C) Open Areas, D) Boats, E) Aircraft and F) Luggage or Boxes.  A minimum of three (3) of these areas shall be used for each certification.


The evaluator will determine which odor(s) will be placed in which area, the duration of each problem and/or number of blank areas to be employed.  One search will be at least 30 minutes in duration. If a short break is needed for the dog, the evaluator will indicate the time limit based on the current situation.

There will be a minimum of 5 gms and no maximums for certification.

The K-9 can be worked on or off leash, as conditions dictate. The evaluator may require the dog to be searched on leash at his discretion.

The handler will notify the evaluator as to the completion of each area.

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