Basic Police K9 Handler’s Course

Basic Narcotics & Trailing Handler’s Course includes Basic Care

Duration:  5 Weeks/ 200 Hours

* Order of events may or may not be conducted in the order of this form.  Order of training is determined by the ability levels of the handler and K9.  Training components are not mandatory and may be adjusted or deleted as determined by the agency.  Removal or addition of any part of


Week 1 – 40 Hour

Basic First Aid

  • Normal Vitals for Your K9 (Temperature, Capillary Refill/Reflex, Pulse, Repertory Rate, and Hydration)
  • Shock – Symptoms, Stages, and Treatment
  • Wounds and Bleeding – Triage and Treatment
  • Fractures/Suspected Fractures – Symptoms, Treatment, and Splinting
  • Emergency and Trauma
  • Snake Bites
  • Stings
  • Heat Exhaustion/Stroke – Symptoms and Treatment
  • Bloat
  • Poison/Overdose – Symptoms and treatment
  • First Aid/Overdose Kit – Contents and Usage


  • Proper Diet (Food, Weight, and Amount)
  • Bloat – Ways to try and prevent.

Kennel Care

  • Cleaning
  • Size
  • How Long


  • Bathing
  • Brushing
  • Nails


  • How to determine what is best
  • Proper use of the pinch collar, remote collar, and harness

Basic Obedience

  • Obedience – Why is it important?
  • Proper Correction, Motivation, and Praise
  • Hand Signals
  • Heel, Sit/Stay, Down/Stay on Leash
  • Practical Test will be given at the end of this week.  Handler must show proficiency in Basic obedience skills

*** Handler must pass Practical Basic Obedience Test to continue to the Intermediate Level Obedience


Week 2 –3 80 Hours – Narcotics Handler Course


  • Scent Theory and a dogs sense of smell
  • What can your K9 do?
  • Training Records and Courtroom testimony

K9 Demonstration of your K9 with a Georgia K9 Trainer
Intermediate Obedience Training and Evaluation

  • Practical Test will be given at the end of this week.
    Handler must show proficiency in Basic/Intermediate obedience skills

Safety First Aid

Basic Narcotics Detection

  • Scent Association
  • Primary vs. Secondary Rewards
  • Alert (Passive/Aggressive)

Search Strategy

  • Preparation/Equipment
  • Search Strategy – Building
  • Search Strategy – Vehicles
  • Luggage/Package
  • Area Search

Problem Solving

  • Distraction Training
  • Environmental Training
  • False Alerts?

Maintenance Training

Narcotics Evaluation

  • K9 Team must pass evaluation by Georgia K9 Trainers

If, in our opinion, the handler is not suited to canine training, that handler’s agency will be notified.
Before any agency is notified, we will make every effort to solve this problem.


Week 4-5 – 80 Hours
Intermediate Trailing Handler Course


  • Trailing vs. Tracking
  • Scent Theory
  • Courtroom Testimony

Field Training

  • Human scent detection, collection and preservation
  • Environmental and human impact on scent
  • Standard trailing equipment for the dog and handler
  • Basic dog reading 101- trailing dogs body language
  • Basic trail laying- what you want from an assistant
  • Scenting your dog and starting the trail
  • Long lead handling
  • Various soft surface trailing and the “alphabet”
  • High and hidden finds
  • Motivation for detector and protections style K-9’s
  • The effect of age on a trail
  • Reading and correcting animal and human distraction; basic training
  • Scent discrimination basic training, one to two distraction people at PLS

Basic Trailing Evaluation

  • K9 Team must pass evaluation by Georgia K9 Trainers

*Advanced K9 Trailing training is continued on another form and incorporates approximately 80 hours of field training.