What is the Drug Detection Dog Handler (Multi-Purpose) Course?

Aim of the Course

To provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to become an operational Multi-Purpose Drugs Detection Dog Handler.

Facilitated by IDT(A).

Entry Standards

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


Nine (9) weeks, with four (4) courses per year.


Defence Animal Centre (DAC) Melton Mowbray.

Outline of Course

On completion of training, the Drugs Detection Dog Handler will be capable of:

  • Maintaining a close working relationship with a trained Drugs Detection Dog.
  • Stating the regulations and safety precautions relating to the storage, handling and use of controlled drugs.
  • Employing the dog to search, find and indicate the presence of cannabis and its derivatives, heroin, cocaine, amphetamines and their derivatives (and currency if required).
  • Recognising cannabis, heroin, cocaine and amphetamines by sight and smell.
  • Assessing an operational situation and advising the employing agency on whether or not the dog can be usefully employed.
  • Operating a Drugs Detection Dog in searches for controlled drugs’ hides and ancillary equipment in buildings, all types of vehicles, ships, aircraft, outside areas, personal possessions (e.g. luggage) and pedestrians and passengers.
  • Interpreting dog behaviour and reactions whilst searching for drugs.
  • Recognising 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.

This course replaces the Passive and Proactive Drugs Detection Dog Handler.

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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