Click here for the AMPWDA Code of Ethics and Bylaws.

AMPWDA Certification Standards

Effective January 1, 2019

1. Candidate must be a member in good standing.
2. Certifications will be conducted at AMPWDA Seminars and / or designated Certification days.  Each paid registration to an AMPWDA Seminar or AMPWDA Certification day will entitle the payee to one (1) certification attempt.  A retest may be available, time permitting
3. All AMPWDA Certifications will be valid for two (2) years or one (1) year, depending on the discipline. The Certification is only valid so long as the member is in good standing, and the AMPWDA Code of Ethics and Bylaws are upheld. 
4. All AMPWDA Certifications are for the canine and handler that complete the test. The Certifications are not valid in any other combination of canine and handler.
5. AMPWDA reserves the right to cancel any Certification for violation of the AMPWDA Code of Ethics and Bylaws.
6. AMPWDA will not refund any Certification or Academy fees if the AMPWDA member is removed for violation of the AMPWDA Code of Ethics and Bylaws.
7. All Certification Tests are pass or fail, based on the criteria listed below.  Final determination is up to the AMPWDA Master Trainer and will not be open for debate.. 

All Mantrailing Certifications
Will Be Tested Double-Blind With GPS Verification

Double-Blind - Only the K-9, handler, and optionally a backup will go on the trail (No One Who Has Knowledge Of The Trail Can Go On The Trail)

GPS Verification - The team must cover at least 70% of the trail. This does not mean you need to be right on the trail, but you must follow it's flow. There is no penalty for getting off trail and correcting.

All Mantrailing Certifications are valid for two (2) years.

 

BASIC
AMPWDA Level 1 Mantrailing

The trail will be a minimum of thirty (30) minutes old and approximately one half (.5) of a mile in distance. The trail will cover at least  three (3) surfaces and  have at least one (1) 90 degree turn. There will be no intentional cross trails. A scent article may be used. Handler, Canine and one (1) Person Backup will be permitted. The runner will be waiting at the end of the trail. The K9 team will be given ten (10) minutes to start the trail and thirty (30) minutes to complete the trail.

AMPWDA Urban Mantrailing

The trail will be a minimum of forty-five (45) minutes old and approximately three quarters (.75) mile in distance.  There may be one (1) or more major road crossings. There will be an intentional cross trail. There will be at least two (2) ninety (90) degree turns. Trail will laid in an urban or suburban setting with the majority of the trail on hard surface. Scent article may be used. Handler, Canine and one (1) Person Backup will be permitted. The runner will be waiting at the end of the trail. The K9 team will be given ten (10) minutes to start the trail and forty-five (45) minutes to complete the trail.  

EXPERT
AMPWDA Level 2 Mantrailing

The trail will be a minimum of one (1) hour old and approximately one  (1) mile in distance. The trail will cover at least four (4) surfaces, have at least one (1) road crossing, at least one creek crossing(if available) and multiple turns. There will be at least one (1) intentional cross trail. A scent article may be used. Handler, Canine and one (1) Person Backup will be permitted. The runner will be waiting at the end of the trail. The K9 team will be given ten (10) minutes to start the trail and one (1) hour to complete the trail.

DISTINGUISHED EXPERT
AMPWDA Level 3 Mantrailing

The trail will be a minimum of four (4) hours old and approximately one   (1) mile in distance. The trail will cover at least four (4) surfaces, have at least one (1) road crossing, at least one creek crossing(if available) and multiple turns. There will be at least one (1) intentional cross trail. A scent article may be used. Handler, Canine and one (1) Person Backup will be permitted. The runner may or may not be waiting at the end of the trail.  If the runner is not present, a large scent article will be left and the trail end will be clearly marked.  The K9 team will be given ten (10) minutes to start the trail and one and one half (1.5) hours to complete the trail.

The AMPWDA MASTER Mantrailing Challenge

As yet, no team has successfully completed this challenge. 

Like the above listed Mantrailing Certifications, this challenge will be run under double-blind protocol with GPS verification - the team must cover at least 70% of the trail.  This does not mean you need to be right on the trail, but you must follow it's flow.  There is no penalty for getting off trail and correcting.

Any team that successfully completes this challenge will be awarded the AMPWDA Master Mantrailing Challenge Trophy and Certification.

The trail will be between twenty-four (24) hours and twenty-six hours old and approximately one and one half (1.5) miles in distance. The trail will cover at least four (4) surfaces, have at least one (1) road crossing, at least one creek crossing(if available) and multiple turns. There will be at least one (1) intentional cross trail. A scent article may be used. Handler, Canine and one (1) Person Backup will be permitted. The runner may or may not be waiting at the end of the trail.  If the runner is not present, a large scent article will be left and the trail end will be clearly marked.  The K9 team will be given ten (10) minutes to start the trail and two (2) hours to complete the trail.

AMPWDA Human Remains Detection (LAND)

Human Remains Detection (LAND) Certifications are valid for one (1) year.

The Human Remains Detection (HRD) certification test will consist of an odor recognition/obedience test (pre-test) and the certification evaluation. The successful passage of the odor recognition test and possessing the required prerequisites will be required to advance to the certification evaluation.


Prerequisites:
Crime Scene Preservation Class
Bloodborne Pathogens and Hazmat (may be combined)
Training records or other proof that training records which meet the industry standards are being maintained for the previous 6 months.
The dog and handler must be in sufficient health to complete the evaluation.
The dog must be a minimum of 8 months old, the handler is preferred to be a minimum of 18 years old.

Obedience Test:
Recall to handler on command from a distance of approximately 25 yards.

Travel off leash with the handler for a distance of at least 25 yards along a predetermined path.

Down on command from a distance of at least 25 yards and remain in the down position while the handler approaches and hooks a leash onto the collar.

The above-mentioned obedience exercises will be performed off leash. An electronic collar (e-collar) may be worn by the dog, however, no electrical stimulation will be permitted.

Greeting a neutral person while on leash. The handler will greet and shake hands with the individual. The dog shall not make contact with the individual during the greeting. A correctional collar will be allowed so long as it may be worn during an operational search. A leash correction to prevent the dog from jumping on the person will be permitted.

Odor Recognition Test:
The odor recognition/obedience test must be successfully completed within one week of the certification evaluation test. It is recommended that the odor recognition test should be arranged and challenged as individual search stations.
The odor recognition test will require the successful location of 3 out of 4 target odors. The target odors should be hidden among common distraction odors in a controlled environment.
The distraction odors may be investigated, however, should not be alerted on. The distraction odors will consist of each of the following: Clean tennis ball, clean latex, vinyl or nitro gloves, animal remains, and dog slobber or drool.
A false alert which is identified and communicated by the handler will constitute a failure of that particular area.
The spacing and location relative to the target source shall be sufficient so as not to produce unreasonable overlapping scent pools or contact contamination.
The handler will be shown the search boundaries.
The handler will be told how many sources are present in the area and will be restricted to a specific area to stand or move about.
Once the search command is given, the dog must hunt for the source, locate the source, and provide its trained final response within an appropriate distance from the odor source.
The handler must correctly communicate the location of the source to the evaluator with a 75% success rate and the dog must perform its trained final response within a reasonable distance to source (3 out of 4).
Any unnecessary direction provided by the handler at any time after search command is given or any other violation of the instructions given to the handler will be deemed as a failure of that particular exercise. Additional restrictions may be imposed such as not speaking as the dog is working.
The successful completion of the odor recognition/obedience test only, does not qualify as a certification.

Certification Evaluation:
The evaluation will consist of 6-7 stations with 6 mandatory stations and 1 optional station. In the 6 mandatory stations, the handler will NOT be advised of the number of sources or if any sources are present within the search station. The search stations will consist of the following:
(2) rural large sized areas (approximately one acre), (2) rural or urban medium sized areas (1/4 acre), (1) building of any size, and (1) vehicle search area consisting of 3 to 6 vehicles. Within the 6 mandatory stations, there will be at least one source hidden from view at ground level, one source buried in soil at a depth of 6-24 inches, one elevated source between 4 to 6 feet above ground level, and one blank station. Other sources may be present, hidden in the same fashions as previously listed, or hidden in other realistic scenarios. Animal remains will be present in at least one station. There is also no limit on the number of blank stations.
The handler will be provided a specific time limit for the completion of each station. The time limits will be set as follows:
30 minutes each for the large sized rural areas
7.5 minutes each for the medium sized rural or urban areas
30 minutes for each 1000 square feet of building to be searched
1.5 minutes per vehicle
*The evaluator reserves the right to increase the permitted time limits by 50%, based on search conditions. Any adjustments in time will be determined in advance of the start of the test and will be applied for all test takers at the particular test venue.
The sources will consist of human remains with no pseudo odors permitted. The sources used will consist of muscle, adipose, bone, and organ tissues with at least one source containing strictly bone and at least one source with no bone present. The weights and amounts of the sources will be realistic quantities.

The optional 7th station may consist of any of the following areas based on the availability of the necessary resources and the available time:
Shoreline search- within a distance of the shore so as not to require a boat
Building search- number of rooms and size based on the discretion if the evaluator
Cistern or well search- size and number if sources at the discretion of the evaluator
Blank area
Double blind evaluation
Any of the previous searches in the first 6 stations
The time limits and the information provided for the optional search station will be at the discretion of the evaluator. The handler shall be advised in advance if an optional search station will be used. Included in that, it shall be explained in advance the type, reasoning for, time limit, and the basis for the additional search station. The inclusion of any optional areas shall be based on the search mission of the team and/or the search environment. If an optional station is included, the final certification will be based on the results of ALL of the stations.

The passage of the HRD Certification will be based on the following:
The successful passage of the obedience/odor recognition test within 48 hours of the evaluation
The possession of the required prerequisites
The successful identification of 100% of the sources and blank stations by the handler, based on the handler’s recognition/interpretation of the canine behavior. Reasonable variances will be granted based on the search environment, the type, and size of the target odor used. The canine must perform an independent and recognizable trained final response at or as near as practical to the target odor source. Evaluator discretion concerning the trained final response may be used based on the type of search and the environmental circumstances, so long as the same discretion is extended to each handler and canine at the test venue.
A makeup test will be permitted to achieve the 100% success, so long as an initial score of 90% is achieved. The makeup will represent the source(s) missed in type, size, and placement. If a blank area is the area(s) missed, a minimum of three test stations will be used as the makeup.

The Human Remains Detection Certification will be valid for a period of one year from the successful completion of the test. The evaluator’s opinions and decisions are final.

AMPWDA Human Remains Detection (WATER)

Human Remains Detection (WATER) Certifications are valid for one (1) year.

This test is designed to resemble practical searches within normal operational environments. This test will evaluate the handlers ability to understand the environment, come up with a search plan, the canines ability to recognize and respond to the target odor.
The handler will be able to recognize the canines alert and be able to articulate where the submerged target odor is located.
The Human Remains Detection (HRD) water certification test will consist of an odor recognition test (pre-test) and the certification evaluation. The successful passage of the odor recognition test and possessing the required prerequisites will be required to advance to the certification evaluation.

Prerequisites:
Crime Scene Preservation Class
Blood-borne Pathogens and Hazmat (may be combined)
Training records or other proof that training records which meet the industry standards are being maintained for the previous 6 months.
The dog and handler must be in sufficient health to complete the evaluation.
The dog must be a minimum of 1 year old, the handler is preferred to be a minimum of 18 years old.
Provide proof of successfully completing Land HRD certification that meets or exceeds AMPWADA standards.

Odor Recognition Test:
The odor recognition/ test must be successfully completed within 48 hours of the certification evaluation test. This test will be conducted on land.
The odor recognition test will require the successful location of 1 target odor out of 4 odors. The target odor should be hidden among common distraction odors in a controlled environment.
The distraction odors may be investigated, however, should not be alerted on. The distraction odors will consist of one or all of the following clean tennis ball, clean latex, vinyl or nitro gloves, animal remains and any other distractor that could pertain to a water environment.
A false alert which is identified and communicated by the handler will constitute a failure of that particular area.
The spacing and location relative to the target source shall be sufficient so as not to produce unreasonable overlapping scent pools or contact contamination.
The handler will send the dog to the search area
The handler will be restricted to a specific area to stand or move about.
Once the search command is given, the dog must hunt for the source, locate the source, and provide its trained final response within an appropriate distance from the odor source.
The handler must correctly communicate the location of the source to the evaluator with a 100% success rate and the dog must perform it’s trained final response within a reasonable distance to source.
Any unnecessary direction provided by the handler at any time after search command is given or any other violation of the instructions given to the handler will be deemed as a failure of that particular exercise. Additional restrictions may be imposed such as not speaking as the dog is working.
The successful completion of the odor recognition/obedience test only, does not qualify as a certification.

Water Certification Evaluation:
Prior to the evaluation the handler will articulate to the evaluator the canines alert to odor
The evaluation will consist of

Level 1- Shoreline (will consist of 2 search areas)
● The handler will articulate to the evaluator how the canine will respond in the presence of the target odor.
● Target odor will consist of human blood, human decomposition material (tissue, bone, adipocere, or body fluid)
● Target odor will be no less than 1 oz
● Each search area will be no less than 50 yards in length
● Target odor will be no more than 12ft from shore
● Target odor will be placed approximately 3-5ft deep
● Handler will be given 15 minutes per search area
Level II- Shoreline and boat
● Successfully passed the shoreline portion of this evaluation before moving to boat work
● A lake or pond with a search area at least 100 x 100yds (2 acres)
● Target odor will be placed at least 10ft deep
● The canines response should be within a radius of 6ft from where the target odor is placed
● Handler will articulate the search strategy to boat driver
● Boat driver will comply with what is asked by the handler in the means of how the area will be searched. No guidance will be given from the boat driver
● Handler will have 1 hour to complete the boat portion

The passage of the HRD Certification will be based on the following:
The successful passage of the odor recognition test within 48 hours of the evaluation
The possession of the required prerequisites
The successful identification of 100% of the target odors, based on the handlers recognition/interpretation of the canine behavior. Reasonable variances will be granted based on the search environment and the type and size of target odor used. The canine must perform an independent and recognizable trained final response. Evaluator discretion concerning the trained final response may be based on the type of search and environmental circumstances so long as the same discretion is extended to each handler and canine at the test venue.
This is a pass or fail test. No make up stations will be permitted due to the nature of the environment, water contamination from previously placed source and time involved in the moving and replacing of water sources.

The Human Remains Detection Certification will be valid for a period of one year from the successful completion of the test. The evaluator’s opinions and decisions are final.

AMPWDA Air Scent Live Find

Air Scent Live Find Certifications are valid for two (2) years.

Prerequisite Courses & Requirements - Handler must provide copies of certificates/proof of the following: Crime Scene Preservation Course, ICS-100 & ICS-700, Up to date training logs, and AKC CGC or equivalent.

Prerequisite Physical Condition - Handler and dog must be able to physically complete all tests. It is recommended that the dog be rated a “5”, as per the Purina Body Condition System. The Master Trainer reserves the right to stop any tests based upon the physical abilities and/or safety of the dog or handler. 

Level 1 – Basic Search
Locate a single stationary subject in a pre-defined 40-60 acre area, within 2 hours, including breaks. A GPS may be used.

Level 2 – Intermediate Search
Locate a single stationary subject in a pre-defined 60-80 acre area, within 3 hours, including breaks. A GPS may be used.

Level 3 – Advanced Search
To achieve the Level 3 certification, the team must successfully complete both a night and day search. The Master Trainer reserves the right to conduct tests on a single or multiple days. A GPS may be used for both searches.

Night Search: Locate a single stationary subject situated within an 80+/- acre area, within 3 hours, including breaks.
Day Search: Locate two moving subjects located within a 140-160 acre area, within 4 hours, including breaks. 

AMPWDA Police Service Dog

Police Service Dog Certifications are valid for one (1) year.

Certification testing will be performed in each of the following five (5) categories.  A separate certification will be awarded for the passing of each individual category.  When the the K9 team holds a current certification in all categories, they will receive a certification for the title 'Police Service Dog'.

1) Obedience Testing

Obedience is the foundation of all dog training and, during the course of its instruction, builds an important bond between the handler and canine. Additionally, a trained and certified police service dog must demonstrate obedience as it ensures that the dog will perform as expected when deployed and reduces liability for the team and their respective department. As such, passing the obedience evolution is a requirement for certification.

The testing will include the following exercises: sit, down, stay, recall (at a distance), heel (3 speeds: slow, normal, double time), right turn, left turn, about turn, and down in motion.

The team must be able to complete the following exercises utilizing both hand and/or voice commands when instructed to do so by the Master Trainer: sit, down, stay, recall.

The order in which the exercises are to be performed will be determined by the Master Trainer at the time of testing.

Though pinch/prong collars are allowed for this evolution, electronic correction collars will not be permitted. Further, any handler giving excessive, unnecessary or undue corrections will be asked to leave and be given an overall failure for the certification.

This is a pass/fail evolution and successful completion is required to advance to the next evolution.

2) Criminal Apprehension/ Handler Protection

The intention of this evolution is to test the team’s ability to apprehend a person whom may be fleeing the police and needs to be taken into police custody. This evolution will also measure the canine’s ability to apprehend and a suspect and hold them until the handler can arrive to safely take the suspect in custody.

It is the intention of this evolution to test the canine’s ability to deploy when it recognizes that the handler is being assaulted or at the command of the handler when an assault is imminent.

This evolution shall be administered in the following manner:

a. The handler and canine will approach a suspect and attempt to question them relative to a crime they may be involved in. The suspect will show passive resistance by simply verbally refusing to speak to the police at first. Then, the suspect will begin to walk away and eventually begin running from the police. The canine will be deployed to apprehend the suspect as he is fleeing.

b. The handler will "out" his dog and place it in a sit or down stay position or recall to a finish position.

c. The suspect will, in a standing position, be positioned in such a fashion so as to simulate a pat-frisk or search incident to arrest. This is a two repetition exercise. One pat down will be executed with no assault on the handler. The second will be when the suspect pushes away from the handler. The canine will apprehend the suspect.

d. The handler will "out" his dog and place it in a sit or down stay position or recall to a finish position.

e. The team will respond to an area designated by the Master Trainer, approximately 30-40 yards away from the suspect. The handler will be instructed to send his dog to apprehend the suspect. When the dog is clearly fixed on the suspect, the handler will recall his dog.

The following considerations shall be adhered to relative to this evolution:

a. The handler will be required to use verbal commands given to the suspect before deploying his dog, as would occur in the field as in a real life deployment.

b. During the handler protection exercises, the dog must apprehend the suspect that assaulted the handler with or without command.

c. During the recall, the handler is to send his dog from the "finish" or "heel" position. The handler is not to move from their position. The dog must be recalled to the handler or be in a down/sit in motion. A failure will be issued for the entire evolution if the canine comes in contact with the suspect in any way during this exercise.

d. The first exercise of the evolution (long-send apprehension) and the final exercise of the evolution (recall) may be done during gunfire, blanks only, at the Master Trainer’s discretion. If evoked, there will be a minimum of 2 shots fired.

3) Area Search (Suspect)

The intention of this evolution is to determine the dogs ability to search and commit to searching for a suspect in a predetermined area. This area may be an open field, or a portion of a wooded area.

The Master Trainer shall put a suspect in a pre-determined location within the area to be searched. The dog will be deployed off leash and directed to search the area only after the handler issues to appropriate warnings.

This is a timed evolution. The time shall be determined by the Master Trainer and varies based on the area to be searched. The test can be terminated if the Master Trainer determines that the dog is no longer working or if the suspect is not apprehended within the time limit.

The dog must apprehend the suspect to successfully complete the evolution.

This evolution will require the handler to take a tactical approach to their search of the area and maintain officer safety considerations. Though not a reason for evolution failure, the Master Trainer will recommend remedial training for the handler if obvious and egregious officer safety issues should arise during the exercise.

4) Building Search

This evolution is designed to simulate a real-world situation and, accordingly, is designed to test the canine’s ability to search a building in an attempt to apprehend a suspect.

There will be 3 types of buildings used: a residence, a warehouse or commercial building, and a school.

The suspect will be hidden in an area pre-determined by the Master Trainer and will be hidden for at least 10 minutes prior to the search. They will be placed in an area of concealment from the team and will be, if possible, a person unknown to the dog.

The test must be done off leash and the handler will accompany the dog through the search and can encourage the dog when needed or necessary. All doors in the building are to remain closed if that is the way they were when the test was started. The handler will not open any doors for the dog unless instructed by the Master Trainer. The dog must give a readily identifiable indication to the handler when a suspect is located.

This evolution will require the handler to take a tactical approach to their search of the building and maintain officer safety considerations. Though not a reason for evolution failure, the Master Trainer will recommend remedial training for the handler

5) Police Tracking

A police service dog must be able to trail persons who flee from, or are wanted by the police.  This test will be conducted using single-blind protocol.

The trail will be a minimum of thirty (30) minutes old and approximately one half (.5) of a mile in distance. The trail will cover at least  three (3) surfaces, have one (1) road crossing and at least one (1) 90 degree turn. There will be no intentional cross trails. A scent article may be used. Handler, Canine and one (1) Person Backup will be permitted. The runner will be waiting at the end of the trail. The K9 team will be given ten (10) minutes to start the trail and thirty (30) minutes to complete the trail.  K9 team may be asked to conduct an apprehension at the end of the trail.

AMPWDA Narcotics Detection Dog

Narcotics Detection Dog (NDD) certification through AMPWDA is achieved when the canine team completes all 3 of the following evolutions successfully in the presence of a Master Trainer: vehicle searches, building searches and open area searches.

When testing, the order of the testing will begin with vehicles, and progress to building and then open areas. The dog will be given sufficient time to rest and recover after each evaluation. This time period is to be determined by the Master Trainer.

In order to proceed from one evolution to the next, the team must have successfully passed the preceding evolution. That is, in order to progress from vehicles to buildings, the team must have first successfully completed the vehicle search evolution. Failure to perform to standard in any of the evolutions will result in an overall failure for the certification.

The Master Trainer reserves the right to amend the order of testing at their discretion however, teams will still be required to pass the first exercise to advance to the second, and pass the second to advance to the third.

These evolutions are pass/fail situations only. There is no point system, nor are the teams subject to comparison based on the performance within the standard, by a point or rating system.

A team will be allowed one certification attempt every six months. If the team fails to certify after two attempts in a calendar year, they will not be allowed to attempt a certification for one complete calendar year after the date of the last test attempt. The handler is responsible for providing documentation regarding the re-training that the team underwent prior to their next certification attempt.

No pseudo-narcotics will be used for the testing during any of the exercises or evolutions. The Master Trainer will place the source odor in a location unknown to the handler in such a manner so as not to be readily accessible by an active alert dog.

Dogs will be tested in as many as 5 odors. The handler will inform the Master Trainer as to how many odors the dog is trained to detect. There must be a minimum of one hide per odor, per evolution.

There is no time limit to this test.

Vehicle Searches

The purpose of this evolution is to determine the reliability and proficiency of a dog in the detection of narcotics that may be concealed in or on a motor vehicle.

7 vehicles will be searched. Target odors will be concealed about the interior and/or exterior of 5 of those vehicles, leaving 2 blank.

The handler must "call" 4 out of the 5 vehicles with source odor. Only 1 miss is allowed.

Building Search

The purpose of this evolution is to determine the reliability and proficiency of a dog in the detection of narcotics that may be concealed in or about a building.

2 Blank rooms will be used. A minimum of 1 hide per odor is required.

Handler must "call" 4 out of the 5 rooms with target odor.

Open Area Search

The purpose of this evolution is to determine the reliability and proficiency of a dog in the detection of narcotics that may be concealed in an open area, or that have been discarded by persons attempting to lead the police astray.

Hides will be placed in an open area by the Master Trainer.


mouseover