Area Search


To be eligible to certify a K-9. You must be a full time paid law enforcement officer (Reserve officer), paid full time fire fighter, or in the military with assigned search and rescue duties, or state licensed private security company, or corrections officer, member of a Search and Rescue K9 Team, either local, state, federal or retired law enforcement or correctional officer in good standing with the state you worked for prior to retirement. Be a volunteer actively involved in Search and Rescue, Fire fighter or EMS team. The handler must be at least eighteen (18) years of age to certify with a K9.


The duration of this evaluation can vary in time but be no more than 2 hours and are at the evaluator’s discretion of actual times.

There will be a minimum of 1 and a maximum of 4 subjects, who are unfamiliar to the canine, placed within the search area. The subjects will be placed a minimum of 30 minutes prior to the start of the evaluation.

Each subject is to remain at the location placed (subjects are to remain stationary) until released by the evaluator.

The evaluators will conduct a briefing in which the handler will be given pertinent information about the search scenario. The evaluators will answer any questions that the handler asks if in reason.

The evaluators will assign the handler one or more tasks during the search, and will accompany the team on its tasks and observe the team’s performance unless an approved flanker is assigned to follow team.

The evaluators may or may not provide additional information and tasking as the search progresses.

The handler must begin their initial search task within 30 minutes of being briefed. Prior to starting their search task(s), the handler is required to communicate to the evaluators their search strategy.

The handler is then to execute that strategy. Changes in strategy are permissible; however, the handler is to communicate their reasoning to the evaluators.

The measured time for the evaluation will begin when the team begins their initial search task and ends when either the team locates all of the missing subjects, the evaluator informs the handler that the final task is complete, or the maximum time limit has been met.

The search area will be of sufficient size as to accomplish the test, with open ground, woods, rubble and or building searches, and try to consist of approximately five (5) acres or more if possible.

The search area will attempt to have all of the above parts, but may or may not be available and are at the evaluator’s discretion.

                         FAILURE OF CERTIFICATION

If canine is clearly not searching and this is clearly obvious to the evaluator he/she may terminate test and this will result as a failure, does not locate hider(s) will result in a failed test or the allotted time expires.  No directing your canine to hider if handler has spotted the hider. No speaking to hider if spotted before canine has made its final approach. Things of this nature will result in a failure.

No use of electronic collars or correction type collars shall be used during testing.  A GPS collar may be used if approved by evaluator before testing. Handler must maintain verbal or physical control of canine at all times. If canine shows aggression toward certifying official and is acting an unsafe manner will result in a failed test.

There will be a (30) day waiting period before attempting to certify again unless circumstances at the time of testing have been determined by the evaluator to warrant another attempt.

All ruling by evaluator(s) are final.

There will be a 30 day waiting period to attempt to certify again unless circumstances at the time of the certification have been determined by the certifying official to warrant another attempt. A false alert, unable to control K-9, team clearly not working in a proficient manner or no find will result in a failed test. All rulings by the certifying official are final. Any use of electronic collars (E collars) will result in failure. Canine must be under verbal or physical control of handler at all times.

All Certifications are valid for one year from testing date.