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NNCDS Certification Standards

Canine and Handler Requirements
1. Canine must be a minimum of 12 months of age.
2. Must be able to show proof of six months minimum training upon request of evaluator.
3. The canine must be under the direction of the handler at all times. If deemed by the evaluator that the canine is not under the control of the handler the test will be stopped.
4. At no time may any canine show aggression towards other dogs, evaluators or handlers during the evaluation process. Any un-provoked incident will be grounds for failure of the test at that time. Remedial training will have to be documented prior to retesting.
5. Abuse of any canine during testing will result in an automatic failure.


Suggested Canine Handler Education
1. NFPA 472/CFR 291910.120(q)(6)(i) – Hazardous Materials – Awareness Level Course.
2. Incident Command System (ICS)/Incident Management System (IMS) course, ICS 100 & 200, modules 1-6 or higher level course.
3. NIMS IS-700 course, or higher. (
4. A current nationally approved Cardiac Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) certification.
5. A current American Red Cross or equivalent Basic First Aid Course or higher medical training.
6. An obedience evaluation which meets or exceeds the American Kennel Club's Canine Good Citizen test.
7. Successful completion of a crime scene preservation class that is endorsed by a recognized law enforcement agency and taught by law enforcement personnel or crime scene technicians
8. Canine First Aid.


Results of Testing
1. All candidates will be advised of the test results at the end of the entire exercise in an official debriefing with the Lead Evaluator.
2. Debrief will include positive as well as constructive feedback and criticism.
3. Decisions of the Lead Evaluator are Final.


Evaluators are approved through an application process by the Board of Directors that will examine a potential Evaluator on experience through training/education, field deployments, and experience as an instructor. At a minimum they will have:
1. A canine certified within their testing discipline within the last three years
2. A membership in good standing with NNCDS
3. Approval by the NNCDS Board of Directors
When/if at all possible, at least two (2) Evaluators shall evaluate all NNCDS canine evaluations. At a minimum one Lead Evaluator is necessary. An additional evaluator in good standing with NNCDS is desirable. No Apprentice Evaluators will be approved to administer NNCDS evaluations.


Retesting Conditions
1. If a test is stopped by a candidate or Evaluator(s) due to legitimate safety reasons that are beyond the control of the candidate or Evaluation Team, the candidate will be allowed to retake the entire field portion. The first attempt will not be counted as a failure. The Lead Evaluator determines what constitutes "legitimate safety reasons". As guidance, these could include severe thunderstorms in the immediate area, tornadoes, dangerously high winds, lightening, etc. A candidate who chooses not to search or stops the search due to terrain, fatigue, distractions, injury to self or dog, onset of dusk, rain, etc, will receive a fail.
2. Both evaluators agree that a re-test is appropriate. NNCDS will try to accommodate the K-9 Team when scheduling a retest, including retesting on the same day as the original test. If, however, the evaluators are unable to accommodate the K-9 Team, the retest may be postponed to the next scheduled NNCDS event. At that time, any delayed retests will be scheduled prior to conducting any first-time tests.
3. A K-9 Team that was unable to perform the search in the allotted time, walked the canine into the victim, or cued the canine into its trained indication shall not warrant a re-test.

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