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Leerburg Articles Explosive Detection Test

Explosive Detection Test

North American Police Work Dog Association

Explosive Detection Test

This test will determine the proficiency and reliability of dogs in the detection of explosives.

All canine teams must be tested on ALL basic odors. The basic odors to be tested on are:

1.) Powders (Black or Smokeless)
2.) Commercial Dynamite
3.) C-4 or Flex-X
4.) TNT or Military Dynamite
5.) Primer Cord
6.) Surries or Water-Gel

The maximum weight of explosives used shall be unlimited, however a minimum of 1/2 pound shall be used for testing. Each area tested will contain a minimum three (3) aids and a maximum of four (4) aids with each aid being a different explosive. The handler will not be told the number or type of explosives they are searching for. Revised 06-22-97

Five (5) areas will be provided for testing. The canine team will be tested in four (4) of the five (5) areas. The canine team must search the areas of Building, Vehicles and Open Area. The fourth area will be either Baggage or Aircraft/Watercraft. The five (5) areas will be:

1.) Building
2.) Vehicles
3.) Open Area
4.) Aircraft/Watercraft
5.) Baggage

Revised 06-18-95

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. All testing will be done on a pass/fail basis. As defined by the NAPWDA explosive detection rules for testing, the minimum acceptable level required to pass is 91.6%. If a team fails in one test area, only that area failed will need to be retested at a later time. It is recommended that testing be done over a two (2) day period or more. However, this is only a recommendation and the final decision shall rest with the Master Trainer. All aids will be placed at least thirty (30) minutes prior to testing. No detonating devices will ever be placed with the aids or used in testing. If an aid has to be moved to a new location, the previously used area must be removed as a testing sight. All testing will be done by a Master Trainer in Explosive Detector Dogs. Revised 06-22-97

Prior to the first detector team entering the test area a man and canine will be walked through the testing area. Each handler shall brief the Master Trainer as to the dogs alert and response to aids prior to testing and each indication to an aid by the canine should be obvious to the Master Trainer. The Master Trainer shall, prior to each phase, explain each problem that will be encountered by the handler, such as boundaries, time, starting point, etc.

A minimum time limit of twenty (20) minutes will be allotted for each phase of testing. The time will be kept by the Master Trainer doing the testing and will start when the handler and canine leave the starting point. The time will stop when the handler indicates his search is complete or the time expires. Conversation between tested teams and untested teams will not be allowed while testing is in progress.

The purpose of the testing is to observe the teams ability to locate a hidden explosive. It should be noted that all aids may not be pinpointed to source due to height, wind current or placement of the aid. Reasonable judgment should be exercised by the Master Trainer and all changes of behavior should be noted by the handler for consideration.

Each certification certificate shall be valid for two (2) years from the date of the test. It should be noted that normal training and retraining must be conducted to maintain and enhance the teams capability.

All aids used in testing should be of recent manufacture and in separate containers. It shall be the responsibility of the agencies being tested to provide the testing aids. Strict safety measures shall be upheld during testing. No smoking will be allowed in test areas.

The term "aid" shall mean, "an explosive substance."


The building search will consist of a minimum of four (4) rooms and a maximum of six (6) rooms. Each room will be at least 400 square feet and have some type of furniture in it. Only one (1) aid may be placed in each room. One or more rooms should contain no aid(s). One aid must be placed high. The aid may be placed anywhere from eight (8) feet to ground level. The aids will be placed so the canine cannot retrieve same. Cabinet doors, desk drawers, closet doors, etc., may not be opened by the handler.


Eight (8) vehicles minimum with a maximum of sixteen (16) vehicles, of any type or model including pickup trucks, may be used. The vehicles will be parked in a park configuration (such as a parking lot) so as to allow the team to have access to each vehicle. The aids will be placed so the canine cannot retrieve same. Only one aid may be placed on or in each vehicle. One aid must be placed inside a closed engine compartment. Additional aids will be placed at the discretion of the Master Trainer and may be placed, but not limited to:

1.) The exterior of gas tank or filler pipe
2.) The drive shaft
3.) Interior of closed trunk
4.) Passenger compartment (closed)
5.) Underside and outer body


Open area search shall be defined as:

1.) Exterior of buildings
2.) Open fields
3.) Wooded area
4.) Any area outside not covered in the above

Area to be no larger than 100 yards by 100 yards and no small than 50 yards by 50 yards or any configuration thereof. Aids will be placed at the discretion of the Master Trainer and can be placed anywhere from a minimum of one (1) foot below surface level to a maximum of eight (8) feet above surface level.


Common sense shall rule as to the size of aircraft to be sued. this will be at the discretion of the Master Trainer. Availability will be the ruling factor in the testing. The entire search shall include the interior and exterior of the aircraft along with all ground support equipment. One (1) aid must be placed on the inside of the aircraft. Additional aids will be placed at the discretion of the Master Trainer. This can be either inside the aircraft or outside. This testing phase is not limited to just one aid inside the aircraft. All aids will be placed so the canine cannot retrieve same.


Baggage shall be defined as hard and soft shell suitcases, attaché cases, clothes bags, briefcases, golf bags, sea bags, duffel bags, etc. Fifteen (15) bags minimum with a maximum of twenty five (25) bags may be used. All aids will be placed inside the bags in a manner such that the canine cannot retrieve same.

All tests given the Explosive Detection 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.

This section reviewed 06-22-97

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