United States v. Goldberg 2021 U.S. App. LEXIS 7431 (10th Cir. Mar. 15, 2021) U.S. Court of Appeals Tenth Circuit

To the extent that Goldberg brings a legal challenge, this court has held that an alert, as opposed to a final indication, is sufficient to establish probable cause. See Moore, 795 F.3d at 1232 (“We have held that an alert, or a change in a dog’s behavior in reaction to the odor of drugs, is sufficient to establish probable cause to search a vehicle, and that a final indication is not necessary.”); Parada, 577 F.3d at 1282

This case clarifies and separates the K-9 “alert” from the K-9 “final response.” There are situations where your K-9 will “alert,” however he cannot go into a “final response.”

The classic example is a high find. The K-9 will have a very demonstrative “alert”; however he cannot go into a “final response,” as he cannot get to source.

This case illustrates another example where the K-9 will “alert,” however he did not go into a “final response,” as the dog could not get to source.

SWGDOG’s (The Scientific Working Group on Dog and Orthogonal detector Guidelines) “best practices” define:


A characteristic change in ongoing behavior in response to a trained odor, as interpreted by the handler. The components of the alert may include: Change of behavior (COB), interest, and final response or indication.

Final response:

Operational usage: A behavior that a dog has been trained to exhibit in the presence of a target odor source. This behavior may be either passive (sit, stare, down, point, etc.) or active (bite, bark, scratch, etc.).