The OPS15 Detection Canine Program is an intensive course for both handler and Canine. Course requirements and curriculum were developed from years of operational experience through the training and certification of hundreds of canine teams by our training staff. Upon completion of this program, handlers will attain a working knowledge on canine deployment, behavior, and health maintenance. Proper canine selection and evaluation is critical to the development for effective canine detection. Canines begin their training before they are introduced to their handlers.
Through our partnership with Guiding Eyes for the Blind, OPS15 is fortunate to be able to acquire some of the best canines available in the world. These truly extraordinary dogs come to us after receiving obedience, and socialization training. The GEB program provides the perfect foundation for a superior detector dog as they demonstrate the specific traits we look for in a canine to perform in their new role as a unique and effective detection tool that have been aiding and assisting law enforcement for decades.
The OPS15 method of training is based on Pavlovian Response Methodology. This method of training has proven most effective for detection, and allows for solid imprintation and the correction of unwanted odor response. The training is not easy and requires a serious commitment from the handler as training must be conducted for at least one hour every day.
Key Elements of the Canine Detection Program
- Canine Imprintation
- Canine Team Instruction
- Calibration Training
- Canine Breed & Selection
- Canine Ownership & Responsibilities
- Kenneling and Caretaking
- Veterinary Care
- Necessary Equipment
- Canine Vehicles
- Training Attire
- Program Curriculum
- Canine Handler Selection (Recommended Traits)
- Miscellaneous Information
- In-Service Training and Program Involvement Criteria
Three Training Phases
Phase 1 is where the canine is imprinted on specific identified odors relative to the type of detection work the canine will be conducting. During this phase, canines are exposed to various work conditions and obstacles relative to their expected areas of deployment and takes 4-6 weeks to complete.
Phase 2 is where basic instruction begins for both the handler and canine training together as a team. During the second phase, the handler is educated on all aspects of the canine’s well-being and care as well as the fundamentals of conducting effective searches and the methodology utilized. This new canine team will learn together to properly search a multitude of areas and venues as well as articles, items, vehicles, and persons taking 6-8 weeks to complete. Upon completion, the canine team is certified by an OPS15 explosive chemist who conducts a blind test consisting of the odors required for the team to alert on. A 100% is mandatory to receive this certification which will be valid for one year. Teams are required to re-certify annually to remain in the program.
Phase 3 is conducted wherever the canine team is assigned. The handler must secure proper training venues and necessary gear to properly train every day. During this phase, the handler will generally experience new issues or concerns that present themselves outside of the watchful eyes of the trainers. These concerns and any items that require further attention will addressed by the trainers during in-service training conducted with each canine team quarterly. These in-service training periods generally are scheduled for 1-3 days per quarter and serve as a calibration and maintenance for the team