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Leerburg Articles Cadaver Search Test

Cadaver Search Test

North American Police Work Dog Association

Cadaver Search Test

This test is designed to evaluate the police work dogs ability and proficiency in searching designated areas for the scent of a cadaver. As defined by the NAPWDA cadaver detection rules for testing, the minimum acceptable level required to pass is 91.6%. For certification the team CANNOT miss more than one (1) aid in all phases of testing. A "team miss" is defined as any incorrect response by the K9 team.

With the exception of the building and the water searches, the minimum search area must be 50 yards by 50 yards. The area size for the building and water searches will be at the discretion of the Master Trainer.

One test area will Not contain an aid. At least one of the test areas will contain the remains of an animal.

A total of twelve (12), legally obtained aids must be provided by the handler; six (6) of the aids must be less than three (3) months old and six (6) must be more than three (3) months old. Each must consist of bone and soft tissue.

Pseudo aids are Not acceptable.


1.) Two (2) scent hides will be placed in a rubble area, simulating a collapsed building.

2.) Two (2) scent hides will be covered with dirt, leaves, brush, or tree branches.

3.) Twelve hours before testing, two (2) scent hides will be buried in a highly vegetated area. The aids must be at least three (3) months of age and be buried to the depth of 10 inches. A minimum of five (5) holes will be dug.

4.) Two (2) scent hides will be placed in an elevated position, a minimum of six (6) feet from the ground level or floor. This test may be conducted within the confines of a structure.

5.) Two (2) scent hides will be submerged in two (2) feet of water for a minimum of thirty (30) minutes prior to the test.

6.) A minimum of five (5) vehicles will be utilized, two (2) of which will contain a scent hide placed at least one (1) hour prior to the search. An optional searching area may be substituted for one of the above areas. It is:

7.) Two (2) scent hides will be placed in an organic or inorganic rubbish pile.

In order to certify, a team must successfully find at least eleven (11) of the twelve (12) scent hides.

Above sections revised 06-22-97

Handler: The handler will advise the Master Trainer how the dog will indicate. He/She may enter the search area to direct the dog. This test may be done on or off lead. The dog's indication must be obvious to the Master Trainer.

**NOTE** There will be a break between searches.

All tests given the Cadaver Search Team will be on a pass/fail basis. The Master Trainer will determine if the team will be certified upon the completion of the test. The handler and dog will be considered as a team and it is the team who will be certified. If the dog changes handlers, a new team exists and the team will need to be certified.

This certification will be valid for two (2) years from the date of issue as defined in Certification Validity paragraph. A schedule of fees may be imposed on the team to pay for expenses for holding this test.

Adopted and approved 06-21-92
This section reviewed 06-22-97

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