NASDU Level 4 Certificate for a Explosive Detection Dog Handler



The nationally recognised Level 4 Certificate for Explosive Detection Dog Handlers aims to provide the learner with the basic skills, knowledge and understanding required to ensure the provision of a professional level of service as an Explosive Detection Dog Team.

This qualification 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.


This programme meets the requirements of those learners who have experience as General Purpose Security Dog Handlers and wish to become Explosive 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.

Due to health considerations this programme is not suitable for women who at the time of training are pregnant.


HABC – The NASDU Level 4 Certificate for an Explosive Detection 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.

This qualification is also endorsed by The Institute of Munitions Clearance & Search Engineers (IMCSE).


Level 4 – Certificate


Training would be delivered over a number of weeks and would be of sufficient duration to ensure competency, having a minimum of 150 guided learning hours (GLH’s). If Vehicle Only or Building Only option is undertaken then duration can be reduced to a minimum of 100 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 Pathway Unit) all of which are compulsory (see Content).


All learners should hold an appropriate SIA licence (unless exempt).

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).

Explosive Detection Dogs must not have been previously schooled in any other scent discipline.


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.


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


• 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)


Unit 1 Roles and Responsibilities of a Detection Dog Handler

• Underpinning Knowledge
• Selection

Unit 2 Control a Detection Dog under Operational Conditions

• Basic Control
• Emergency Stop & Recall

Unit 3 Operational Control of an Explosive Detection Dog

• Prior Deployment
• Scent Awareness
• Locating – Building Search
• Locating – Vehicle Search
• Locating – Open Terrain Search
• Indication – Building Search
• Indication – Vehicle Search
• Indication – Open Search
• Safe Systematic Search

Unit 4 Health, Well-being & Safety of a Detection Dog

• Health & Safety Assessment
• Grooming & Inspection
• Transportation
• Canine First Aid

Unit 5 Management of a Detection Dog

• Operational Management
• Progression of Training


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

CONTINUATION TRAINING: It should be noted that the recommendation for CT training in BS 8517 Part 2 is monthly which should be assessed independently.

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