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Certification Rules

North American Police Work Dog Association

Certification Rules

Certification Rules will only be reviewed and changed if needed every odd year, e.g.. 1995, 1997, 1999, etc. Any proposed change(s) will be submitted in writing to the NAPWDA Secretary at least ninety (90) days prior to the summer Executive Board meeting held at the National Workshop. The NAPWDA Secretary will forward a copy of the proposed change(s) to the NAPWDA Accreditation Chairperson. If the proposed change(s) are not received in writing and at least ninety (90) days prior to the executive board meeting, it (they) will not be considered. Adopted 06-18-95

The following test rules have been adopted by the North American Police Work Dog Association. Each of the following tests is designed to determine the proficiency of the work dog team for certification in each phase of police work for canines. Whenever practical, a police work dog team graduating from an accredited training school should be tested and accredited. The successful passing and accreditation of these courses is usually acceptable testimony in court. Each test is based on a pass/fail basis. Revised 06-19-88

Master Trainers:

Master Trainers will act as Judges for these tests. Master Trainers will designate the area, phase and manner of each phase to be tested. The Master Trainer should make every effort not to interfere with or distract the dog. The Master Trainer will observe the work dog during each test for willingness, enjoyment, interest and accuracy. Handlers will be observed for ability and overall control of his/her dog.

Certification Validity:

Upon successful completion of each test the Master Trainer will issue permanent credentials and they will be valid for two (2) years from the date of issue. The team being tested must pass each phase of each test no matter in what order or combination they are tested in. A NAPWDA certification of a Regular member K9 team in any and all phases will ONLY BE VALID when the K9 team is being utilized by:

(1.) The law enforcement agency they are employed by.
(2.) A law enforcement agency they are on Official Assignment to by authority of their own law enforcement agency employer, (e.g. county, state, federal task force).
(3.) A law enforcement agency which requested and received official mutual aid from the K9 team's law enforcement agency employer.

**NOTE** Under NO circumstances will a NAPWDA K9 team certification be valid when the team is being utilized for ANY and ALL NON law enforcement agency uses. Adopted 11-09-96

Certain Equipment Prohibited:

At no time during any of the offered certification tests will sticks or whips of any type, pinch collars, electronic or ultrasonic devices be used. Revised 06-19-94


There will be a $2.00 fee imposed for each phase which is failed the first time. There will be an additional $4.00 fee imposed for each subsequent failure of the same phase. A schedule of fee's may be imposed on the team(s) to pay expenses for the purpose of certification testing. Revised 06-18-89


A work dog team that fails any of the following tests may reapply for testing at the next and most convenient date.


All of the following tests are scored on a pass/fail basis. Any work dog team that fails a test and feels that they have been judged unfairly, will, at the time of the test notify the Master Trainer of his/her appeal. The testee will then file a complete report of his/her observations and the reasons they feel they were judged unfairly. The Master Trainer having been notified of the appeal, will file a report of his/her observations, all testing sheets and basis for failing the team. All reports will be filed within thirty (30) days of the test at National Headquarters. Reports or copies thereof will be forwarded to an Appeals Committee. Findings of the Committee will be returned to National Headquarters and in turn forwarded to the testee and the Master Trainer. The decision of the Appeals Committee must be by a majority vote and will be final. If during the time period that a certification certificate is issued for any or all phases, the K-9 team retests in any or all of the same phases AND FAILS, then the initial certificate which was issued in the failed phase or phases will become NULL AND VOID. Further, a letter to this effect will be sent to the K-9 team and their department, including the recommendation that they be retested with thirty (30) days of this notification. Revised 10-07-89


(1.) Police work dog teams wishing to be tested and certified under these rules and by this Association must be regular members of this organization.
(2.) Associate members can be tested and certified under these rules in the following phases:
A.) Obedience
B.) Tracking
C.) Area Search
D.) Article Search
E.) Agility

Associate members will receive an Associate Member Certification Certificate from the NAPWDA Secretary which is designed specifically for Associate Member's who successfully test in any of the above phases. Adopted 10-24-98

Revised 10-24-98

This section reviewed 10-24-98

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