D4D Certifications


Through the years, a major K-9 industry obstacle has been obtaining quality independent certifications. In the past there were several well respected regional and national nonprofit organizations offering certifications, but they focused on only law enforcement or military K-9 teams without a solution for private or contract K-9 teams. In the last few years we have seen some of these organizations open their enrollment up a bit, but obstacles still exist. The obstacles Dogs for Defense most often encounter include: restricted enrollment, certification availability, certification location and unique detection dog capabilities that are not certified by any other organization.


The D4D Certification events are open to all qualified K-9 teams and will not have police or government affiliation restrictions to obtain. The certification team may review K-9 teams requirements based on need and training prior to offering a certification to ensure the safety of all involved.

Dogs for Defense has put together an experienced group of certifying officials from a broad range of backgrounds and expertise in the K-9 industry who will perform The D4D Certification. This certification will be built on long held industry standards but can be adapted to better fit the role of the K-9 team. These certifying officials can make their availability more flexible, based on the client’s need, rather than on a rotational basis as most traditional annual certifications take place.


The D4D Certification is typically requested by the two ends of the K-9 spectrum, those who utilize K-9 services and those who provide K-9 services. The company that utilizes canine services wants to ensure K-9 teams working at their facility conducting searches on their behalf are certified to a standard that makes sense for their individual location. The company that provides detection dog services wants to provide their client with assurances of competency while adding a level of due diligence to their program. Dogs for Defense can use the certification process to assure both groups that they are getting what they want out of the K-9 teams involved, this can be done at an independent locations, at a Dogs for Defense location or on-site, at the place where the K-9 team typically works.


There are currently industry standards in place for numerous detector dog fields such as explosive detection, narcotic detection, search and rescue related disciplines, bedbug detection, however, there are a growing number of fields such as invasive species detection, conservation canines, etc. that will require a certification standard that is developed and published prior to conducting certifications. The D4D Certification team will work with the K-9 provider and their customer on developing the standards to ensure they are practical, while providing a valid test of the K-9 teams’ capabilities.

The D4D certification offers a certification to those dogs utilizing the human thermal plume to trail the target odor. This is typically an explosive or narcotic detection canine that can be found under several different names to include the trademarked Vapor Wake K-9, person borne K-9 or any other name that refers to the canine’s ability to locate the target odor on humans as they pass by the detection dog. This is a separate certification that can be conducted, in addition to an existing explosive or narcotic detection certification.

Dogs for Defense holds a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) Explosive Permit, often called a FEL, permitting Dogs for Defense to utilize actual explosives in the training and certifying of K-9 teams.

Dogs for Defense is registered with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to utilize all schedules of drugs, including schedule 1 narcotics, such as Heroin, LSD, Marijuana, MDMA, Ecstasy, Psilocybin, and Khat for the purpose of training, testing and certifying detection dogs.

All certifications are video recorded with a multicamera system. The video recordings ensure the integrity, validity and provide a lasting record. The recordings will be made available to authorized entities.

To set up a D4D Certification contact us

On-site Certifications

Traditional certifications often take place at a school or government facility with the standard search of a few classrooms and a certain number of vehicles. The D4D Certification offers much more flexibility and can take place where the K-9 team routinely works, whether that is a shopping mall or in the middle of the desert. The D4D Certification can be tailored to fit your needs and provide the most practical application for the certifying K-9 team.


Beyond the flexibility and practicality of an on-site D4D Certification there can be a major cost savings. The certification can often take place during the K-9 Team’s regular duty hours or following a shift. This reduces overtime costs and additional days away. The largest savings often comes from removing the cost of travel for the K-9 Teams, the D4D Certification Team come to you, rather than transporting the dogs and handlers.

Since traditional certifications often take place away from the K-9 team’s place of work, it often reduces the ability for the K-9 Team supervisors or the clients to witness the certification events. By hosting a D4D Certification at the place of performance, it opens up the certification process and makes it transparent to all interested parties.

To set up an On Site certification contact us