What is the Arms Explosive Search Dog Handler Course?

Aim of the Course

To provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to become an operational Arms Explosive Search (AES) Dog Handler.

Facilitated by IDT(A).

Entry Standards

  • Private soldiers and all non-commissioned ranks.
  • IELTS level 6.
  • Experience in basic dog handling.


Fifteen (15) weeks, with three (3) courses per year.


Defence Animal Centre (DAC) Melton Mowbray.

Outline of Course

On completion of the course, the dog handler will be capable of:

  • Maintaining a close working relationship with a trained AES dog.
  • Advising a Search Team Commander of the correct procedures for the employment of an AES dog under various operational situations.
  • Employ the dog to search, find and indicate the presence of arms, ammunition, explosives and related items.
  • Recognising common terrorist booby traps, weapons and explosives.
  • Operating an AES dog to detect and clear all types of buildings (occupied and unoccupied), outside areas including route clearances, vehicles, aircraft, shops etc.
  • Completing reports and understanding safety precautions.
  • Recognise the basic signs of health, detect signs of sickness and report any abnormalities.
  • Conducting all forms of continuation training in order to maintain the dog at a high standard of operational efficiency.

The Defence Animal Centre can sometimes provide trained dogs, but refer any queries to IDT(A).

Related Course: Patrol Dog Handler’s Course.

Qualifications Gained

A Pass Certificate is awarded to successful students.


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