Detection Dog and Handler Training Courses

Our qualifications has been developed by NTIDPU and Inquest Canine Detection & Security Limited to meet the National Occupational Standards (NOS’s) for a Security Detection Dog Handler and the training requirements contained within BS 8517-2:2016, (in that) it is an assessment of the learners (handlers) ability to read the indications given by a dog and to meet the required performance criteria. 

Through our operational experiences within the detection dog private sector, and by taking direction and guidance from the NTIPDU, we believe our course to be amongst the most informative in the industry and is designed to contribute towards the required skill set, knowledge and understanding needed to effectively deploy a detection dog in an operational environment. Our course will include classroom and scenario based learning which will teach the students how to effectively work their canine partner in a variety of environments to include:

* Vehicle Searches * Building Searches * Open Area Searches * Residential property searches * People scanning (Passive course only) * Workplace environments 

Awarding Body

Skills For Security – An awarding organisation approved by the Regulatory Authority OFQUAL and recognised by the SIA

Level 3 – Certificate

Course Duration

Training would be delivered over either 14 days for a proactive course, 21 days for a passive course and 35 days for the L4 Explosive Detection Dog handlers course and would be of sufficient duration to ensure competency, having a minimum of 100 guided learning hours (GLH’s) for the handler and up to an extra 100 hours for the dog.

GLH’s are recorded hours of direct training, structured learning and assessment given to an individual learner by their tutor and not the duration of a course.

Programme Structure

The programme is flexible with a mixture of theory and practical tuition and is made up of 5 units all of which are compulsory (see content below).

Prior Learning

All learners should hold an appropriate S.I.A. licence (unless exempt) and should be trained and competent in a Door Supervisor role or willing to undergo additional Sia license training. If you do not hold the SIA license the badge would cost £200 which is payable directly to the SIA. An SIA license training course can be arranged through our partners at the NTIPDU with the cost of that training being payable directly to them. (THIS IS ONLY APPLICABLE IF WORKING IN THE SECURITY INDUSTRY)

The learner should be competent in the handling of a dog. The dog should possess the suitable drives required for its role and have had basic obedience training.

Learners who have proven drug detection dog handling experience as a Police or Prison Officer or a Member of HM Armed Forces within the last 5 years may apply for accreditation of prior learning (APL). A minimum of 15 GLH’s shall be required for final assessment and examination and to confirm understanding of the private security industry dog sector.


Certificate(s) shall be for the handler and also as a Team i.e. handler and dog


The successful learner can proceed onto a variety of detection dog work including Drug Detection, Explosive Detection or into Dog Training.

The Detection Dog

Our courses are only run with detection dogs that are qualified in the sector that they work, e.g drugs or explosive etc. if you do not currently have a qualified, trained dog then one can be loaned to you free of charge for the duration of the course.  If you already have a gundog breed that you feel may be suitable for detection work then we offer an assessment of the dog prior to the course, a nominal charge of £75 is payable for this assessment if the dog fails, should the dog pass this assessment and you enrol on any of our courses then the fee is waived but a fee of £1500 to train the dog then becomes payable.  If you already have a fully trained and qualified detection dog then no surcharged is charged, providing that certification from an approved training centre (NASDU or NTIPDU) is presented.  A fully trained detection dog which would be yours to keep could be provided, POA.  Kennelling can be provided during the course if need be.


Course assessment shall be of the team and carried out by an Approved NTIPDU Instructor/Trainer; internal moderation shall be carried out by NTIPDU. External moderation shall be carried out by Skills For Security.

The mode of assessment shall be by ongoing practical assessment, by question and answer sessions by a written examination and final practical examination.

Final assessment/examination regarding the indication of target scents shall be carried out by a suitably qualified examiner (i.e. NTIPDU) that does not have an interest in the learner passing the qualification.

As part of the assessment and training process the team will be expected to carry out up to 20 hours live unpaid operations. This is to environment train the dog and to develop the handlers skills. (these hours are a combination of Units 1, 3 and 5 and are part of the GLH NOT additional)


Also applicable to Pyrotechnics Detection Dog training

Unit 1 (20 GLH)

Roles and Responsibilities of a Detection Dog Handler

Underpinning Knowledge

Unit 2 (10 GLH)





Unit 3 (50 GLH)

Operational Control

Prior Assessment

Scanning for Drugs/Pyrotechnics

Indication of Dog


Unit 4 (20 GLH)

Health & Safety

Health & Safety Assessment


Load & Unload

Emergency First Aid

Unit 5 (10 GLH)


Operational Management

Storage, Use and Transportation

Progression of Training


Our Proactive Drug Detection Dog Handlers course provides the student with all the skills, knowledge and understanding that is required to carry out drug detection dog searches in any operational environment, which includes, but is not limited to, buildings, vehicles and open areas.

This 14 day course, which was designed, written and belongs to Inquest Canine Detection & Security Limited, is accredited by the National Training Inspectorate Professional Dog Users (NTIPDU) and certificated by Skills 4 Security, an awarding body approved by the Regulatory Authority OFQUAL and recognised by the Security Industry Authority. Initial delivery of this course is at our training centre in Leigh, but other locations and venues will be incorporated to ensure the team is operationally and environmentally trained.


This course as been designed to impart the relevant knowledge and understanding that the learners require if they wish to operate a proactive drug detection dogs within the private sector. 

Course content can be viewed above.


Again our 21 day Passive Detection Dog and Handlers Training course has been designed by, and is solely owned by Inquest Canine Detection & Security Limited and carries the same weight as evidence and certifications as our Proactive course.  The course covers ALL the criteria as set above for the proactive course but also includes the art of person scanning and air scanning and all law & legislation applicable to scanning, 


Our own 35 day Explosive Detection Dog and Handlers Training course will deliver the required knowledge, understanding and learning outcomes that is required of a professional handler and dog team.  An intensive training course designed around defensive searches is delivered between the classroom and operation scenarios.  Due to sensitive nature of this sector please contact us for more information on this sector training.


Unit 1 

Roles and Responsibilities of a Detection Dog Handler

Underpinning Knowledge

Unit 2 



Emergency Stop/Emergency Recall

Unit 3

Operational Control (Explosive Detection Dog)

Scent Awareness/ID

Locating - Buildings, Vehicles, Open Areas

Indication -  Buildings, Vehicles, Open Areas

Safe Systematic Search

Unit 4 

Health & Safety

Health & Safety Assessment


Load & Unload

Emergency First Aid

Unit 5 

Management of a detection dog

Operational Management

Storage, Use and Transportation

Progression of Training

Ntipdu Professionals as standard

Please contact us for course availability, costs and job opportunities.