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How To Become A Police Dog Handler

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What Educational Qualifications Do I Need To Become A K9 Trainer

What it’s like to be a Police Dog Handler

Most dog trainers were first, police officers. So, if you wish to become a police dog trainer, you should start your career as a police officer. You must complete the requisite police academy training plus one to two years of patrol experience before becoming eligible to transfer to a specialty K9 unit.

However, your experience as a regular patrol officer allows prospective k9 officers to gain valuable experience in law enforcement, build relationships, and make a positive impression on the department.

Though, having an associates or bachelors degree may make prospective k9 trainers more competitive in the selection process for this special duty depending on a certain policy of a police department. The following must be done before becoming a k9 trainer

  • You should get the necessary education and/or job experience to become a police officer.
  • Apply for an open police officer or law enforcement position.
  • You must undergo a background investigation and provide your fingerprint.
  • Make sure you take and pass a polygraph test.
  • Take and pass a series of physical fitness tests.
  • Ensure that you take and pass a medical exam.
  • You should take an interview.
  • Make sure they hire you as a police officer.
  • Gain experience as a police officer, usually at least one or two years.
  • You should apply for an open police dog trainer position.
  • Take an interview for the position.
  • Begin working as a police dog trainer.
  • Take training on the job.

S To Becoming A Canine Handler

STEP 1 :law enforcement agencies

STEP 2: Check with the law enforcement agencies in your area about the physical requirements for basic police recruitment. These requirements can vary from one locality to another and from state to sate. Applicants must be at least 21 years of age and in many communities, must meet some minimum requirements for height, weight, eyesight, and hearing. Rigorous physical exams are sometimes required. You should make sure the agency for which you apply has a police dog unit in its division before you decide to apply for the agency.

STEP 3: Check with law enforcement in your area for the training and testing requirements specific to those agencies. Generally, applicants must pass written tests measuring analytical skills. Background checks are also required. Recruits must attend police academies for classroom training and if they pass all tests , train with a senior officer for a period of time .

STEP 4: You will spend three to five years minimum and sometimes longer in regular uniformed officer duties before youll be able to apply for the K-9 unit. Preference for special units like a K-9 is usually given to officers with high performance ratings and commendations. So you must perform well in your job it will assist your future K-9 application.

STEP 6: Apply for K-9 officer positions when they become available and when you meet the minimum requirements in your agency. Be aware these positions will require additional training.

How Much Does A K

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics does not provide a separate data on how much a police dog handler or a K-9 officer earns. The information in general about police officers is that the median salary was $61,600 in May 2016. Typically, those employed in the K-9 units learn a bit more than the other policemen with the similar rank and experience because of the additional responsibilities they have.

According to the information submitted on Pay Scale the median salary of a K-9 officer is $35,913, while the total pay ranges between $28,383 and $82,851. Another source of information about salary range is Simply Hired which provides figures based on third party submissions to their site. According to the collected data the average salary of a K-9 officer amounts to $62,143 and ranges from $33,044 to $116,868.

You should note that the minimum wage may differ by jurisdiction. It is better to check with the employing agency for the actual salary and possibility for growth. Education and experience also affect the monthly amount a police dog handler receives.

There are three different ways to refer to this profession that you need to look for when browsing the law enforcement job openings:

  • K-9 Handler
  • Police Canine Handler

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K9 Officer Salary And Career Outlook

Since K9 handlers are often part of a highly-trained and elite group of police officers, they may be compensated accordingly. O*Net notes that sheriffs and deputy sheriffs, including canine deputies, earn an average salary of $59,680 per year. Salaries vary significantly between regions and states. In Texas, for example, sheriffs report an average salary of $60,110 per year . Illinois canine deputies claim a median income of $74,230 per year, and California K9 handlers earn an average of $98,250 annually .

Education Requirements For K9 Officers

What Is It Really Like to Be a Police Dog Handler?

A K9 officer must complete high school, though an associate or bachelors degree in criminal justice, law, or police science helps with police academy and K9 officer applications. A degree could also facilitate advancement from local law enforcement to the state or federal level, both of which pay higher wages.

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K9 Officer Daily Tasks

The day-to-day tasks of a K9 officer mirror those of other law enforcement agents, only with the addition of a police dog partner.

  • Handling, training, and caring for police dog partner
  • Responding to emergency and non-emergency calls for law enforcement officials
  • Interviewing suspects and witnesses to collect evidence
  • Analyzing crime scenes and collecting evidence
  • Conducting searches and patrolling areas to search for illicit items, bodies, or evidence
  • Citing and/or arresting individuals, filing reports, and testifying in court

Skills Needed To Become A K9 Officer

Success in this role tends to rely on your possession of the following skills:

  • Mental and physical stamina. Officers and their K9 partners must remain alert through the duration of their shifts, often staying on their feet for long stretches of time.

  • Interpersonal skills. Officers and K9s often present public demonstrations to increase awareness in the community about the K9 unit’s contribution to mitigating crime in the area. These demonstrations may take place at schools, municipal facilities and other local venues.

  • Communication skills. A K9 officer has the responsibility of communicating with not only their colleagues and the community at large, but they must maintain immaculate communication with their dog at all times. Additionally, K9 officers must be able to decipher subtle signals and changes in behavior from their canine partners.

  • Love and respect for animals. To work with animals in any capacity, you must respect them, fulfill their needs and show compassion toward them. Your K9 dog is your partner, therefore, there will be times when you must be able to protect each other’s life. Trust them and they’ll trust you.

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How Much Does A K9 Unit Officer Make

Specific information is not provided by The US Bureau of Labor Statistics on how much a police dog handler or a K-9 unit officer earns on average. To draw an estimate figure for a K9 unit officer we would have to look at a similar position, which is that of police officers the median salary was $61,600 in May 2016. Officers of the K-9 units differ as they are required to learn a bit more than the other policemen who have a similar rank and experience because of the additional responsibilities they have due to being in tasked with the care of a canine.

Figures submitted on Pay Scale provide information to calculate the median salary of a K-9 officer, which is $35,913, however this is not an exact estimation as pay ranges between $28,383 and $82,851.

Simply Hired can also be seen as a reliable source from which information can be drawn on the salary of a K9 unit officer this data is based on third party submissions to their site. According to the available data the average salary of a K-9 officer amounts to $62,143 and ranges from $33,044 to $116,868.

An important factor to consider is that the minimum wage will vary depending on the jurisdiction. It is recommended that applicants check with the employing agency for an actual salary figure and possibility for growth and promotion within the position. The level of Education and experience the applicant possess also influences the annual salary a K9 unit officer will receive.

What Does It Take To Become A Police K

A Day in the Life: Police Dog Handler

Working in a police department’s K-9 unit can be the perfect job for someone who has a passion for law enforcement and a passion for animals. But the competition to get these jobs can be tough. Not only will you need to meet the basic education and experience requirements, but you’ll have to find a way to stand out from the competition.

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Salary Expectations For K9 Officers

The specific salary that a K9 officer earns depends on several factors, such as industry, experience, and skill. Federal, state, and local governments are the top employers of K9 officers. The BLS reports that the federal government pays the highest annual wage to police officers at $92,080, followed by state governments at $70,280 and local governments at $65,850.

Experience significantly influences salary. K9 officers with multiple years of working with police dog partners earn the highest wages, as shown in the table below.

Average Annual Salary of Police and Sheriffs Patrol Officers by Experience


A Day In The Life: Dog Unit

We recently spent a day in the life of the Police Dog Unit in Glasgow’s Pollok Park with Constables Kimberley Hill and Phil Farndell to learn a bit more about the role of dog handlers within Police Scotland.

The day starts early for our officers as the dogs must be fed at 5am to get them ready for the start of their shift at 11am. The dogs must be fed early enough to allow time for their food to go through the system properly.

The dogs can be involved in strenuous activity so it is important that they are well prepared. Not allowing sufficient time for the dogs to digest their food can later lead to health complications if they are involved in activity too soon after.

Being a police dog handler is more than just a job, it’s a vocation for life and a partnership between dog and handler that lasts 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Dogs live with the officers at home, and officers generally have 2 dogs but some live with up to 4 dogs at a time which typically is a general purpose dog usually a German Shepherd, a specialist “sniffer” dog usually a spaniel, a puppy in training either to be a general purpose dog or a sniffer dog and a retired dog. It’s the dog handlers responsibility to look after their dogs and make sure they are disciplined in their duty and in peak physical condition.

The duties of a general purpose dog can be looking for missing persons, searching for weapons and other evidence and looking for individuals who may be evading the police.

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Quick Frequently Asked Questions

What MOS is a dog handler in the Army?

An Army Military Working Dog Handler is categorized as MOS 31K. The MOS 31 series MOS focus on law enforcement and includes military police, criminal investigations, and internment specialists.

How do I become a military dog handler?

To become a Military Working Dog Handler in the U.S. Army, youll need to score 91 or better on the Skilled Technical portion of the ASVAB. Youll also need to be a U.S. citizen and obtain a Secret security clearance.

How long is training for military dog handlers?

An Army Military Working Dog Handler has 10 weeks of Basic, then 17 weeks of Advanced Individual Training. Training includes how to care, handle, and train your dog as well as first aid and working with your dog.

Do Army dog handlers see combat?

Army Military Working Dogs are frequently trained for combat support in tracking and patrol. Working dogs will also check routes for potential threats when deployed, and some are employed for detecting explosives as well.

Do military dog handlers get to keep their dogs?

On deployment, Army dog handlers will always bunk with their dog. However, after returning home, the working dog must stay on base in the kennel. About 90 percent of military working dogs are adopted by handlers when they retire.

Are Dog Trainers Worth It

Become A Police Dog Handler 2020

A good obedience school does more than teach your dog to follow commands. It improves your pups manners so they can get along with other dogs and humans in a variety of situations. Over a few weeks of training, you can watch your wild puppy transform into a well-mannered dog that feels at home in the world.

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The Different Types Of Police Dog

Police forces use a wide range of breeds of dogs for a variety of policing duties. The specific breed of dog often impacts the type of work which they will be trained to respond to. Listed below are some of the most common breeds which are currently being trained as police dogs in Britain:

  • German Shepherd
  • Weimaraners
  • German Short-Haired Pointers.

Searching and tracking are the main tasks of police dogs. A single police officer is no substitute for a police dog, as dogs are able to search more rapidly and efficiently and often in very constricted places.

Some dogs are trained specially to search for drugs, explosives and guns. Springer Spaniels and Labradors are often used because they are such excellent trackers. Due to the fact that terrorism has become a very real threat in todays society, these specialist dogs are frequently used by the police in an array of areas which may be a possible target for terrorists.


  • Information about the role of a Police Dog Handler
  • What the role involves, including working hours and conditions
  • Background information on the role
  • In-depth information regarding the day-to-day care of your dog
  • The specific training required
  • Sample responses to the interview questions
  • Exclusive insider insights about how to pass the selection process.

Plus many more pages of essential information

How to Become a Police Dog Handler

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How Can I Become A Police Dog Trainer Education Salary

  • 8 minute read

Dogs have proven to be the animal closest to mankind. In fact, some of them can read their owners emotions now. Aside from being mans friend, dogs usually called the K-9 or Police dogs can assist the police and other law enforcement personnel. The fascinating question is how?

Well, these dogs undergo special training from certified police dog trainers. Hence, if you love dogs and like having them around as pets you may consider making a career out of your love for dogs. If you are wondering how? This article on how to become a police dog trainer is all you need to start this journey.

So, I will pull you through a step-by-step guide to becoming a Police dog trainer. This will entail the right education, how much you make, and what happens to your K9 upon retirement from active service. You can quickly peruse the table of content below to get an overview of all that will be discussed in detail.

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    How To Become A K9 Police Officer Career Requirement Salary Guide And Top 9 Best K9 Unit Dogs

    Dogs have long been seen as mans best friend. Hence, it seems logical that they can provide a great deal of assistance to law enforcement agencies through their superior sense of smell and agility, among other very helpful attributes. The use of canines in America has been around for over a century now and has made the jobs of law enforcement agencies jobs a great deal easier.

    An example of this is the TSA or ATF who has dogs stationed at airports that are able to detect illegal substances, such as drugs, with close to 100% accuracy.

    In recent years Dogs are being employed more and more by various law enforcement agencies. However, before a dog can become a part of the k-9 unit, it must undergo special training. This training and certification are conducted by the United States Police Canine Association .

    Here we will try to answer questions you may have about What a K9 unit is, what a K9 Units requirements are, and how to join the K9 Unit.

    How Is A K9 Officer Expected To Discipline Or Correct Behaviors Of Their Dog

    K9 handler explains a police dog’s value

    As a handler, you never punish a dog. Instead, you employ different methods to correct behaviors, which you’ll learn in training. What works for both you and the dog will become clear the more you work together. If a dog absolutely cannot be corrected, they could be taken off the street for their own protection. In this case, they’ll be adopted into a home, often their handler’s, as a family pet.

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    What Are Police Dog Handlers

    • Police dogs are crucial to a police officers work. They carry out many essential tasks during their service as working dogs for communities
    • The police dog is a highly trained animal, many of which are German Shepherd dogs
    • Other breeds, such as Labradors and Spaniels, are also used for their highly capable scenting abilities which can be used to locate drugs, arms and explosives
    • Dobermanns, Rottweilers and Weimaraners are also highly useful dogs, and are trained to support police officers for a variety of purposes
    • Police Dog Handlers must be prepared to exercise and care for the dog whilst off duty
    • All Police Handlers need to know the operational and legal implications of what they are doing at each incident, and why
    • Obviously, you must be confident around dogs. There is an element of running and lifting your dog over fences, often whilst wearing boots and body armour, so you must maintain a suitable level of fitness.

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