Legislative Action Center

Law Enforcement K9s: The Crucial Value of Proper Training and Certification
April 17, 2023 by AKC Government Relations


The AKC Detection Dog Task Force was pleased to host Don Slavik, Executive Director of the United States Police Canine Association, in a recent webinar discussion on the value of Police K9s as a positive law enforcement tool for public safety in our communities, states and nation. 

Police K9s deflect danger, protect their human partners, and detect scent in a way that is unmatched by any other law enforcement tool.    

Mr. Slavik pointed out that, “Police K9s are the best mobile detection tool law enforcement can utilize. As we have learned in the past with many of our subject matter experts, ‘quality education’ for the handler is of the upmost importance.” He emphasized the importance of experience and practice for K9 teams and noted that the demeanor of a handler and their ability to work as a team with their K9 directly impacts the dog’s ability to learn and react in the field. 

K9 handler training builds on the following basic concepts: 

  • Team Leadership 
  • Understanding the Principles of Training
  • How Air Movement Affects Odor and Scent
  • Understanding Deployment Strategy
  • Laws & Policy
  • Proportionality
  • De-escalation 

Scenario-based training is crucial to immerse the K9 in different situations and ensure a dog learns how to act outside of a training situation. State certification requirements can vary significantly; the most important thing is for the handler to keep strict training logs, Slavik said. “If you’re not training your dog, then your dog is training you.”

AKC values the contribution that working and detection dogs make to national security and the extraordinary role that these dogs play in protecting the peace and security of individuals, communities and nations against extremist threats. 

“Legislative threats to the responsible use of properly trained law enforcement K9s have made this a particularly timely topic”, said Sheila Goffe, AKC Vice President, Government Relations.     

To view the webinar click HERE.


Please join us for our next webinar: 

Dr. Cindy Otto 

Thursday, June 22, 2023, 7:30 pm

“Working Dog Veterinary Care, What Makes it Different?”


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