Drug Detection Dogs

By K9 Patrol 10/10/18, Posted in Dog Training, Industry Updates

Why are Drug Detection Dogs used?

Drug Dogs (also known as Sniffer Dogs) tend to be used:

  • to assist the police with any drug related operations
  • in airports and shipping ports for passengers, luggage, imports and exported goods
  • at music and sporting events
  • in schools and hospitals
  • in private businesses in line with HR policies for their staff

How are Drug Detection Dogs trained?

Drug Detection dogs are usually trained with their favourite toy. Their training links their toy with the smell of the drugs. They have no interest in the drugs themselves, it’s the reward of their toy that drives them to locate the scent of the drugs.

Why do some drug dogs work on their lead and others work off their lead?

Drug Dogs can be either Passive, Proactive or Dual Purpose. The type of assignment will determine the type of dog that’s required.


  • Operated on lead under full control of handler at all times
  • Used to search people in a non-intrusive way with minimal contact


  • Initially operated off the lead but still under full control of handler at all times (more methodical searches may be done on the lead)
  • Used to search areas such as event venues, classrooms, hospitals, business and residential properties

Dual Purpose

  • Trained to undertake both Passive and Proactive searches

How does the handler know when drugs have been detected?

Detection Dogs are trained to indicate their find so that their handler knows when to take control and a more hands-on search can be undertaken, usually by authorised personnel and not the handler. Indications can be passive or aggressive with the dog being trained specifically on an indication method relating to the item they are searching for.


  • A specific stance/position from the dog, such as sitting position with their nose pointing directly the scent


  • The dog will dig, or paw at the area of the scent

The training for handlers and detection dogs is intense and once the certification has been achieved continuous training is an absolute must.

Should you have a need for a Drug Detection Dog, contact our team on 01423 551526 or email info@k9patrol.co.uk and we will be happy to help.

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