(ASB and OSAC Recommendations for Detection Dog Standards)


The purpose of this assessment is to evaluate the proficiency and reliability of dogs and handler teams in the detection of narcotics.  The basic narcotic odors (and their derivatives) that may be tested are marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamines.  Cocaine and Methamphetamine are mandatory odors and other odor derivatives may be added in an evaluation if the handler requests them in advance.

Approved Narcotics Substances

Law Enforcement Canine Teams

Assessments for active United States law enforcement canine teams must use real, laboratory tested, narcotic samples except for Fentanyl.  Assessments for Fentanyl may be conducted using non-expired odor prints manufactured by Precision Explosives.  In any assessment utilizing approved odor prints the assessment must also include a blank odor print of a similar size as the scented print used in the assessment.

International Teams / Civilian Teams / Non-Law Enforcement Teams

Assessments for international teams, civilian teams, or non-law enforcement teams may use real laboratory tested narcotic samples or non-expired odor prints manufactured by Precision Explosives for all odors being assessed.   If odor prints are used the assessments must also include a blank odor print of similar size to the scented odor prints being used for the narcotics assessment packaged in the same manner as the scented print.

Hide Amounts and Locations
Quantities of narcotics hidden for certification shall not be less than 7g per hide.  All hides should allow reasonable access to the odor and should not be hidden over 4’ from ground level.


Certification Assessments for Agency Provided Standards

Drugbeat Certifying Officials may certify canine teams to other federal, state, or department standards when requested by the agency or team and approved by the certifying official.  The team must submit a copy of the standard to the certifying official who must approve the standard prior to certifying the team. The standard must meet or exceed Drugbeat standards. The certifying official will submit a copy of the standard to Drugbeat along with the certification paperwork and retain it for future courtroom testimony.

Certification Assessments for Drugbeat Narcotics Detection Standards

Passing Certifications

To pass and achieve certification teams must achieve a 90% positive alert rate or above.  Teams must not exceed a false alert rate more than 10%.

Non-Passing Assessments

Teams will fail to pass assessment by demonstrating less that a 90% positive alert rate or by exceeding a 10% false alert rate. The certifying official may also fail the team due to hander errors or safety issues to include but not limited to: not maintaining positive control of the canine (safety issues), allowing canine outside of the designated search area, failing to follow directions given by the certifying official, or if the certifying official determines the dog is no longer actively searching.

The paperwork for all non-passing assessments shall be submitted to Drugbeat by the certifying official.  Drugbeat recognizes there are many reasons a team may not pass an assessment including errors by new handlers.  For this reason, there is no minimum time required for a team to wait before attempting certification again.  This decision shall be left up to the certifying official conducting the assessment.  Teams who are reattempting a certification after a non-passing attempt shall not have the hides placed in the same location as the initial or earlier attempts.  Teams who re-attempt within 45 days of a non-passing assessment shall not be charged any additional assessment fees by Drugbeat.

Assessment Areas

Areas for assessment may include but not limited to the following areas: Indoors, Vehicles (Cars, Trucks, Boats, Aircraft), Luggage/Packages, Outdoor Open Area, etc

Distraction / Proofing Odors

Distraction / proofing odors must be present in testing areas.  If a team is not certifying marijuana, then marijuana will be present as a distraction odor in at least one assessment location for the operational assessment, and present as a proofing odor for the odor recognition Test (ORT).

Certification Assessments

Certification assessment will consist of either:
A.  An operation assessment AND an odor/scent recognition assessment (preferred method), OR
B.  An operational assessment that incorporates ALL target odors/scents being attempted or mandated.

All certifications conducted should include at least one element or component that should be a double-blind assessment.  All other components should be single-blind. There shall be a minimum of one (1) blank uncontaminated search area to be searched by the team.  Teams shall not know the location of the blank area prior to the assessment.

Odor Recognition Test / Assessment Element

Teams are required to screen all available containers and to verbally call all alerts.

For each ORT the number of containers utilized may change based on the number of odors being evaluated.  Example of containers (PVC pipe tubes, sterile cans similar to paint cans or other metal tins designed to keep a substance secure from the dog while allowing odor to escape, buckets with lids, etc.) The general guidelines to follow are at least 5 containers should be blanks, 5 containers should contain distraction/proofing odors (10 total containers that do not contain target odor).

The blanks and distraction odor containers may be increased to allow more items to be checked at the discretion of the certifying official, however the combined number of blanks and distraction containers should not exceed 19.  The remaining containers should contain your target odors.

There should be at least 5ft of space between containers in the line.  Containers may be in a single file line or split into separate single file lines.  If split into multiple lines each line of containers should be at least 10 feet from other lines.

The target odor locations should only be known to the certifying official conducting the assessment.

Set time for placement of the target/proofing odors will be a minimum of thirty (30) minutes.

Certifications / Certificates

Certificates will be issued to teams that successfully demonstrate proficiency and reliability in detecting the target odors attempted and will list the odors which the team has certified on and may list types of search areas evaluated including but not limited to areas indoors, outdoors, open areas, warehouses, luggage, vehicles, luggage/packages, blank areas and double-blind assessment areas.

Certifications are valid for the handler and dog team and shall be valid for 1 year (365 Days or 366 Days in a leap year).  If another handler is assigned to a previously certified dog the new handler will have to successfully complete an assessment with the dog to obtain a certification certificate demonstrating proficiency as a team.

Certifying Officials

Certifying officials shall not be routinely involved in the maintenance training of the canine team being tested.  Certifying officials shall not be the vendor of the dog on the initial certification nor shall they be full time employees of the vendor selling the dog.

Vendors may conduct re-certifications on dog teams they have previously sold but shall not conduct the initial certification of the team when the dog is initially purchased.

Certifying Official’s shall maintain their own records for certifications they administer including type and quantity of aides used or specialized standards requested by handler or handler agency.


Handlers are responsible for the safety and security of their dog at all times.  Assessments may be conducted on or off lead if approved by the certifying official in a contained area.  Handlers must verbally call the indication to the certifying official when they recognize the alert, a final trained response is not mandatory to demonstrate for the handler to call the alert.


Handlers may reward the dog during the assessment in any manner (Food, Toys, and Praise), however no narcotic contaminated rewards shall be allowed during certification anywhere in the assessment area.  If food is used it must be delivered from the hand and care should be taken not to drop or leave any food in the assessment area.

Grievance Process

In the event a team believes the certification was not conducted within standards or has other legitimate documented concerns that resulted in a non-passing evaluation they may file a written grievance to the Drugbeat Administrator (certifications@drugbeat.com) who will determine if an investigation needs to be conducted.   All grievances shall be filed (either postmarked or emailed) within 10 business days of the assessment in question.

The administrator may assign another uninvolved certifying official to investigate the assessment in question.  The results of the investigation shall be provided to the administrator within 10 business days of receiving the investigation assignment.

The administrator shall review all information and notify the grieving party and the involved certifying official in writing of the findings of the investigation within 5 business days of receiving the completed investigation back from the investigator.


Distraction/proofing odors: any object/item other than laboratory tested controlled substance present during the test and may include but not limited to food items, leather, plastic, wood, latex, baggies, tennis balls, etc.

Double-blind assessment: Neither the handler nor the evaluator knows the location of the target odor or scent nor whether target odor is present or not.

False alert: an indication by the dog in the absence of odor/scent they are trained to locate.

False alert rate: if searching a defined number of objects, the false alert rate is calculated as the number of false alerts divided by the number of non-target objects available. For example, if there are 20 non-target objects/vehicles searched by the team and there was one false alert out of 20 items the false alert rate would be 1/20 or 5%.

Non-productive response: an indication that cannot be confirmed by the canine handler.  This may be the result of residual odor, scent transfer, or indicate the presence of odor with an unknown source.

Odor recognition test: A test of the canine’s ability to alert to target odor(s) in a controlled environment.

Positive alert: an alert by the dog to the presence of a substance they are trained to detect.

Positive alert rate: The rate is calculated as the number of positive alerts divided by the number of available targets. For example, if the certification has ten target odors/scents and the canine team identifies nine out of the ten odors/scents, it will have achieved a 90% positive alert rate.

Single-Blind assessment: The handler does not know the location of the target odor or scent nor whether target odor is present or not.

Trained final response: the behavior the dog is trained to exhibit in the presence of a target odor/scent source.  This may be passive (sit, stare, down, etc) or active (scratch, bark, bite, etc).