NASDU Level 3 Certificate for a Live Person (Air Scent) Detection Dog Handler



The nationally recognised Level 3 Certificate for a Live Person (Air Scent) Search Dog Handler aims to provide the learner with the basic skills, knowledge and understanding required to ensure the provision of a professional level of service as a Search Dog Team.

This qualification whilst not a security discipline has been developed by NASDU 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.

Search Teams will be trained to a commensurate standard as Police Dog Teams and will be capable of supporting the Police and Search Organisations with this type of specialist Dog Team. The Team will be able to use search skills to search for missing persons over a wide spectrum of scenarios when deployed on search operations for missing/vulnerable/suicidal persons.


This programme meets the requirements of those learners working with private sector Search & Rescue Organisations, Public Sector/Law Enforcement Agencies responsible for serach or within the security industry working as Detection Dog Handlers.

It would also be suitable for members of HM Armed Forces, Police, Prison Service or Customs Officers who wish to take on a Detection Dog Handler role in the private security industry.

This programme also meets the requirements of those learners working with Law Enforcement Agencies responsible for Search.


HABC – The NASDU Level 3 Certificate for a Live Person (Air Scent) Search Dog Handler is endorsed by Highfield Awarding Body for Compliance (HABC) who are a recognised and regulated awarding organisation with OFQUAL, SQA and the SIA.


Level 3 Certificate


Training would be delivered over a number of weeks and would be of sufficient duration to ensure competency, having a minimum of 100 guided learning hours (GLH’s).
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.


The programme is flexible with a mixture of theory and practical tuition and is made up of 5 units (4 Core Units plus 1 Path Unit) all of which are compulsory (see content).


The learner should be competent in the handling of a dog; it is strongly recommended that learners (and their dogs) are assessed prior to commencement of training by a NASDU Approved Instructor/Trainer for which any additional GLH’s may be identified.

The dog should be of an acceptable breed and above 12 months old, possess the suitable drives required for its role and have had basic obedience training.

Dogs previously schooled in other disciplines must be identified to the Instructor/Trainer prior to commencement of training.

Learners who within the last 5 years have been formally certificated and have proven Detection Dog Handling experience either in the private security sector or in the public sector as a Police or Prison Officer or as a Member of HM Armed Forces, may apply for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).


Course assessment shall be carried out by an Approved NASDU Instructor/Trainer, the mode of assessment shall be by practical on-going assessment by question and answer sessions and by written examination(s).

Final assessment/examination regarding the safe systematic search and the positive indication of target scents shall be carried out by a suitably qualified (i.e. ACPO/DAC) external examiner who does not have an interest in the learner achieving.


Internal Quality Assurance (IQA) shall be carried out by NASDU, with external endorsement of the learning provision and External Quality Support (EQS) carried out by HABC.


• HABC Certificate – endorsement of learning programme shall be for the handler (lifetime achievement)
• NASDU Certificate – assessment of competency shall be as a Team i.e. Handler & Dog (12 month expiry)


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


Unit 1 Roles and Responsibilities of a Detection Dog Handler
o Underpinning Knowledge
o Selection

Unit 2 Control of a Detection Dog
o Basic Control
o Emergency Stop & Recall

Unit 3 Control of a Live Person (Air Scent) Search Dog
o Prior to Deployment
o Locate – Open Terrain/Rural Search
o Locate – Open Terrain/Urban Search
o Locate – Building Search
o Indicate – Open Terrain/Rural Search
o Indicate – Open Terrain/Urban Search
o Indicate – Building Search
o Safe Systematic Search

Unit 4 Health, Wellbeing & Safety of a Detection Dog
o Grooming
o Transportation
o Canine First Aid

Unit 5 Management of a Detection Dog
o Operational Management
o Kennel Management
o Progression of Training


Please contact NASDU Head Office for a list of Approved Instructors/Trainers authorised to deliver this specific qualification

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