Our police service dog handlers

As Canada’s national police force, we have more than 160 Police Dog Service (PDS) teams posted across Canada. This is the largest number of operational PDS teams in Canada.

Becoming a Police Service Dog handler

Police service dog handlers with the RCMP must be:

  • a regular member of the RCMP
  • an above average investigator
  • able to work independently
  • self motivated
  • physically fit
  • willing to maintain a fitness lifestyle

They also need to:

  • successfully complete the Potential Police Service Dog Imprinting course
  • imprint puppies and demonstrate dog compatibility
  • successfully complete a map/compass/GPS course
  • successfully complete the Potential PDS Handler Selection Week
  • successfully complete the 5-month dog handler training course with their police service dog partner

We encourage our police dog handlers to:

  • be involved with their communities
  • become proactive in youth education (particularly vulnerable youth)
  • be positive role models for youth

Qualities of a good Police Service Dog handler

Beyond the requirements of the job itself, good dog handlers must be:

  • patient
  • considerate of the impact of their actions on their PSD partner
  • decisive
  • flexible
  • emotionally disciplined
  • even-tempered
  • able to take responsibility for their PSD partner’s actions
  • able to respect their PSD partner’s uniqueness and talents

Becoming a Police Service Dog trainer

Police Service Dog trainers must:

  • be an experienced PSD handler in the RCMP
  • demonstrate proficiency in facilitation techniques and adult learning
  • have a thorough knowledge of a range of advanced PSD training techniques
  • have extensive involvement in training PSD teams
  • assist in developing colleagues in the effective training of police service dogs
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