How to become a Customs Detector Dog handler

To become a Customs detector dog handler you need to be fit and healthy. Good handlers are also quick thinking and possess a strong work ethic with the ability to work to tight deadlines.

From time to time Customs advertises for people like this to become trainee detector dog handlers.

Applicants are short-listed and successful applicants sit a psychometric test. When the results of these tests are received, the remaining successful applicants undergo fitness assessment and a face-to-face interview. Out of this process successful applicants will be offered positions on the next available course.

The basic handlers’ course is a live-in 13-week course in Canberra at the Customs Detector Dog Training Centre. The course is intensive and physically demanding, with trainee handlers having to pass three formal assessments. Once the course is completed, applicants go back to their home regions whereby they receive further training under the guidance of experienced senior handlers.

After three months of this guidance, trainee handlers go back to Canberra for a final two-week assessment period and, if successful, they graduate as Customs Detector Dog Handlers.

Exercise 4. Answer the following questions:

1) What are detector dog teams trained to do?

2) How were detector dog teams trained in the past?

3) What do people need to become a Customs detector dog handler?

4) What is the basic handlers’ course?

5) What assessments do trainee handlers have to pass?

Exercise 5.Scan the text above and connect the figures (1-8) with the letters (a-h).

1. To become a Customs detector dog handler... a) ...fitness assessment and a face-to-face interview.
2. The Detector Dog Programme was expanded to... b) ... Federal, State and Territory police and other government agencies in search operations.
3. Successful applicants undergo... c) ...with the ability to work to tight deadlines with little or no supervision.
4. Detector dog teams are trained to... d) ...you need to be fit and healthy.
5. Good handlers are also quick thinking... e) ...improve training methods and new applications for detector dog teams.
6. The basic handlers’ course is... f) ...include firearms and component parts, ammunition, explosives and chemical precursors.
7. Customs detector dogs also support... g) ...find goods hidden in luggage, parcels, mail, cargo containers, vessels, vehicles, aircraft and on people.
8. Customs is continually looking for ways to... h) a live-in 13-week course in Canberra at the Customs Detector Dog Training Centre.


Exercise 6.Study the scheme below to speak on drug detection system.

Text 2

Word Study

Exercise 7. Match left and right.


1) law enforcement agencies a) нелегальные предметы или вещества
2) a natural disaster or an accident b) назначение для работы в аэропорту
3) illegal items or substances c) действия по спасению
4) airport assignments d) правоохранительные органы
5) catching criminals e) стихийное бедствие или авария
6) terrorist attacks f) поимка преступников
7) rescue efforts g) атаки террористов


Exercise 8.Study the following words and word-combinations:

to uphold the law – поддерживать закон

to search out human beings – разыскивать людей

to be injured – быть раненным

to be trapped – быть пойманным в ловушку

tiling – полость, пустота

in the nibble – здесь в небольшом пространстве

Exercise 9. Prepare to talk about the function of K9 teams. Use the statements as a plan.

1. K9 officers belong to an exclusive club of law enforcement professionals.

2. They patrol airports, seaports, and the borders.

3. A key, common requirement for applying for canine duty is the satisfactory experience in any similar jobs.

4. K9 officers receive training in the detection of narcotics, explosives, and electronic devices.

5. They learn to track the suspects.

6. The dogs are well trained, sociable and respond to the handler’s every command.

7. K9 teams are a wonderful public relations tool by providing demonstrations at schools, daycare centres, hospitals, civic organizations, churches and other public functions.


What Does a K9 Officer Do?

А К9 officer spends his days working to uphold the law with the help of a trained dog. This dog uses his nose, sight and hearing for detecting the presence of illegal items or substances. The team also searches out human beings who may be hiding or have been injured or trapped during a natural disaster or an accident. They also detect items people are trying to smuggle from one location to another.

There are many law enforcement agencies that hire K9 officers. The types of tasks required may depend on the agency and the environment in which the officer and dog are expected to work. Some K9 officers may be given airport assignments, for example. In this case, the officer works with his dog to detect the presence of illegal drugs or smuggled contraband.

Sometimes, K9 officers are given border assignments, which mean they patrol the areas where individuals cross different countries. A K9 officer and his dog may work together to detect smuggled drugs and prevent them from entering a particular region.

A K9 officer’s job often includes catching criminals. They often help to lead rescue efforts after natural disasters, major accidents, and even terrorist attacks. If a building falls down or otherwise collapses and traps humans in the nibble, an officer and his dog may be instrumental in finding them.

Text 3

Exercise 10.Read Text 3 to fill in the gaps using the words from the box.


agent; experience; search; countries; tools; canines; intrusion; duty hours; skills


The use of the police dogs in United States has proven over the years to be one of the best (1) _____ known to law enforcement. The Police dog’s (2) ______ to detect narcotics, explosives, or hidden suspects have saved millions of taxpayer’s dollars.

The Police dog’s abilities speed up the (3) _____ and allow police officers to spend their (4) _____ working on other aspects of their job. The Supreme Court of the United States of America has been many times on the side of the Police Dog when it comes to the (5) ______ of its citizens when searching for narcotics or explosives. The Supreme Court Justices have ruled that a trained Police Dog is less intrusive than a sworn government (6) ______ when searching either a piece of luggage or a vehicle.

The ability to provide (7) ______ to work in many different environments has come with many years of overseas travel by the staff of Enforcement Canine, Inc. They have been working with dog handlers, trainers, and managers for a combined 45 years in foreign (8) ______ including Iraq, Korea, Japan, Slovakia, Holland, and Belgium. This (9) ______ includes handling Explosive Detection Dogs, Narcotic Detection Dogs, and Patrol Dogs in hostile work environments.

Exercise 11.Render the article below in English in 5-7 sentences. Use the following words and word-combinations:

Kingisepp Customs; North-Western Operative Customs; detector dog teams training; hard drugs: detector dog handlers; cargo and automobile transport; detector dogs; to interpret the dog’s behaviour or ‘indications’; at the border; concealed excise goods.


В Кингисеппской таможне состоялись учебно-практические занятия специалистов-кинологов таможни, где их четвероногие питомцы проходят обучение по программе поиска сильнодействующих наркотиков.

В программе семинара журналистам продемонстрировали работу поисковых собак по поиску закладок наркотиков в грузовом и легковом транспорте.

Среди личного состава кинологического отдела выделялось несколько собак-поисковиков, наиболее успешно справлявшихся с поставленной задачей. Это лабрадор «Лаки», безошибочно определявший спрятанные акцизные товары (сигареты), лабрадор «Лавр», известный в операциях по поиску оружия, ветеран «Фил», на его счету многочисленные обнаружения наркотических средств на границе.

Завершением программы практических занятий для инструкторов-кинологов и их питомцев, будет итоговый экзамен, с участием комиссии Северо-Западной оперативной таможни по поиску сильнодействующих наркотических средств.


Exercise 12.Translate the following into Russian.

Specialists training narcotic detection dogs can detect substances such as Amphetamine, Ice, Cocaine, Heroin, and Marijuana. Detection dogs can search areas not accessible to handlers or to a man. A random search by detection dogs may include trains, buses, aircraft, cars, trucks and schools.

Talking Points

Exercise 13.Discuss all of the ideas mentioned in the texts above. Combine the strongest points to prove the statement:

“In spite of the new technologies the drug detector dogs remain the main tool for Customs enforcement.”

Exercise 14. Class discussion. Talk about training of dogs and handlers. What Customs Dog Training Centres do you know? What breeds of dogs are used at the Customs control?

Exercise 15.Find the information how ‘four-footed’ Customs officers fight with contraband. Tell the class about them.

Exercise 16. Get ready to answer the following questions:

1. What are Customs detector dogs trained to look for?

2. How long does it take to train a detector dog?

3. Where do Customs detector dogs live?

4. How many уears does a detector dog work for?

5. Where do the dogs go when they retire?

6. What areas do Customs detector dog teams work in?

7. Where do Customs agencies find detector dogs?

Exercise 17. Write down five words that come to your mind when you hear the words Canine Enforcement.

Compare your list with your partner’s. Check your word list with the given semantic map on Canine Enforcement.






Report to the class on the five words you picked. Challenge one another’s choices and give reasons for your own.


Focus on Grammar

Exercise 18. Translate into English. Pay attention to the Passives.


1. Кинология насчитывает 400 пород собак.

2. Многие наркотики были обнаружены при помощи специально натренированных собак.

3. Собаки применяются на самых рискованных участках жизнедеятельности людей.

4. Многие нарушители были задержаны при помощи милицейских собак.

5. Служебные собаки всегда использовались на границе.

Exercise 19.Translate the sentences into Russian. Pay attention to the Passive forms of the verbs.

1. Drug detector dogs have been trained by Swedish Customs since 2003.

2. The dog handler is assigned a young dog (approximately 1-3 years old) and is responsible for its teaching and training.

3. The dog is assessed entirely on the basis of its own characteristics.

4. Characteristics that are sought include hunting and retrieval instincts, temperament, approachability, stamina, acuity, and defence.

5. Dogs are recruited on the open market.

6. Dogs are approved after a suitability test.

7. A detection dog team is certified after training before they can begin their work.

8. Each year a prize is awarded to the drug detector dog.

9. Border Collies and an English Springer spaniel are being used in anti-drug work.

10. K9 officers are given border assignments, which mean they patrol areas where individuals cross from one country to another.

Exercise 20.Translate into Russian. Pay attention to Modal verbs.

1. Since drug detector dog has to work at varying places, such as in ships, warehouses areas and containers, it has to have a positive attitude towards different working environments and must not be scared of loud noises.

2. Drug detector dogs must also be friendly towards people, since the dogs work amongst people.

3. The tests show whether the puppy has such problems that may be a barrier to its development into a drug detector dog.

Exercise 21.Match the halves.


1. After the initial training course the dog 2. The dogs are transported in 3. The training philosophy employed by the Police 4. The dog handlers must be 5. During demonstrations, handlers provide general information 6. All Police dog handlers are experienced 7. Dogs live at home 8. The general purpose dog is mainly used a) on drugs and firearms, currency and food, plant and animal products and demonstrate their dogs trained abilities b) dedicated to their dogs, while both on- and off- duty c) with their handlers d) to track and search for people e) police officers with approximately five years policing experience f) is based on positive reinforcement g) air-conditioned vehicles h) border services officers


Exercise 22.Put the verbs into the Passive forms.

1. Passengers leave all sorts of things in buses. The conductors collect them and send them to the Lost Property Office.

2. The Police dog’s skills to detect narcotics and explosives have saved millions of taxpayers’ dollars.

3. We will prosecute trespassers (нарушители границ владения).

4. Someone suggested that taxes should be reduced.

5. The police shouldn’t allow people to park here.

6. They searched his house and found a number of stolen articles.

7. You shouldn’t leave these documents on the desk. You should lock them up.

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