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Law Enforcement Handler Certification

Top Tier K9 offers a Law Enforcement Handler Certification in our portfolio of Foundation Dog certifications and processes.

Top Tier K9 Foundation Dogs are the alternative to green dogs. In many law enforcement agencies, green dogs are purchased from foreign locations, given bite and scent detection training, then marked up and resold to law enforcement agencies through green dog resellers.

Law Enforcement Officers who want to become K9 Handlers are then sent to train with the green dogs for, on average, 6 weeks of time. Inexperienced handlers are often put into a training position with a green dog that neither are prepared for and the bonding process is often associated with compulsion and corrections applied to the dogs, and the handlers, because neither have had the knowledge and comprehension level of training that would allow for a more positive bonding experience.

Green dogs and handlers are then sent back home to grow. The biggest challenge our research has uncovered is that the green dogs have little to no obedience and the handlers end up with out of control fur missiles with whom they are trained to submit, known in many military and LE arenas as "alpha rolling". This not only creates a dog that works out of fear (submission) but makes it near impossible to transfer the dog to another handler or department causing dogs to turn "handler aggressive" and be a lost asset.

The most important time for a dog to learn is the first 16-20 weeks of the dogs life. A green dog learns nothing in the first 16-20 weeks, hence the name "green dog" carried by dogs that are acquired at 12-16 months old.

A Top Tier K9 Foundation Dog begins training at between 6-9 weeks old and by 12-16 months old is fully off-leash obedient, tracks humans, indicates on specific target odors, apprehends criminals and protects the handler from attack. At competitive pricing to "green dogs" Top Tier K9 Foundation Dogs are already trained to perform advanced duties.

The Law Enforcement Handler Certification program starts with a completed Foundation Dog. Handlers are then trained through the Top Tier K9 On-Line school, to comprehend how the dog was trained through the Foundation Dog program and must pass written exams proving that comprehension. Handlers are trained to manage rewards and corrections before they meet their Foundation Dog.

The LE Handler then travels to our Madison Florida campus for a 2 week hands on bonding and proofing program. The dogs are already off leash obedient so the handlers can begin a bonding process that does not involve submission or alpha rolling (of the dog or handler). The handlers and their dogs then demonstrate their skills tracking, performing specific odor detection, area searches, apprehension scenarios, call offs and other advanced obedience challenges until they pass the objectives outlined in the certification.

Law Enforcement Handler Certification

  • Demonstrate comprehension in the four functional areas of the Foundation Dog training program

  • Demonstrate competency in managing the health and welfare of the selected Foundation Dog

  • Demonstrate proficiency in the four functional areas as a team with the selected Foundation Dog.

  • Demonstrate competency in problem solving in mission specific scenarios

  • Pass an analysis level of learning test on all four functional areas of training (Tracking, Scent Detection, Apprehension/Protection and Advanced Obedience)

The Top tier k9 Law Enforcement Handler Certification takes advantage of the fully trained Foundation Dog allowing the handler to miss only 2 weeks of work (the on-line portion of training is approximately 4 hours per week during off-duty time) as opposed to an average of 6 weeks of lost time for green dogs.

This program will be highlighted at the K9 Cop Magazine Conference in Nashville Tennessee from September 10-12, 2019 with live dog demonstrations. Visit or

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