Hundeo: Dog Training

How do I become a dog handler and what do I need?

Especially for dog lovers, the profession of dog handler is a dream job. Working with dogs is an interesting option for many people. Thus, they can turn their passion for animals into a profession. In this article we inform about how to become a dog handler.

Dog handler
Table of Contents

What is a dog handler?

A handler is the closest caregiver of a working dog. He gets the dog already in the puppy age to the side. Then he accompanies him both professionally and privately until the end of his life. 

The handler undertakes the education and training of the dog. He works closely with the quadruped every day and takes care of him. 

A dog handler is primarily responsible for the welfare of the dog. He may also be held liable if the dog is identified as the cause of damage. 

Dog handlers accompany their dogs to the respective locations. Once there, they ensure that everything runs smoothly. Depending on the industry and the dog's talent, a corresponding specialization can be made. 

This includes, for example, the Search for explosives, drugs or other specific substances. Also a specialization in the search for missing people is conceivable. The same applies to the Rescue of injured or the general protection of persons.

How to become a dog handler?

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There is no special training to become a dog handler.

Instead, some employers offer what is called a Further training as a dog handler an. However, this is linked to certain prerequisites and conditions.

A important prerequisite here is a successful completed vocational training. This should preferably have been done in one of the areas listed below:

  • Police/ Customs
  • Security and guard services
  • German Armed Forces
  • special rescue services.

In the above-mentioned areas, the support of dogs is often resorted to. Here, the animals can take the position of a search, protection or rescue dog.

Further training to become a dog handler can be done in two ways 

On the one hand, private continuing education can be undertaken. However, the interested party must pay for these himself. He is also not entitled to support from the relevant employment office. Relief from the costs is only possible to a limited extent and rarely.

The employee may voluntarily assume part of the costs. Otherwise, the interested party is left to bear the costs all by himself. In such a case, it is usually also necessary to bring your own dog.

The second variant is only possible for the German Armed Forces or the police. Applicants who wish to qualify as a dog handler here will not be required to pay the cost of continuing education.

These would be completely taken over by the respective institution. In addition, they also get a selected and suitable dog to the side.

However, prior employment as a civil servant or professional soldier is mandatory to be considered as a dog handler by the police or the armed forces.

Prerequisites and useful skills

Probably the most important requirement for a job as a dog handler is the joy of working with animals. Applicants should preferably already have experience with dogs. 

It is also an advantage if they get along well with dogs and enjoy being with them. You will spend an enormous amount of time with the animal and quickly take it to your heart.

A effective and purposeful training of the dog can guarantee successful cooperation. Therefore a intimate bond of massive importance. Dog and handler must build a close relationship of trust with each other. Only then the demanding education and training can be positive.

In most cases, the dogs also live privately in the handler's household. They thus become not only work colleagues, but also family members. This is not only for organizational reasons. At the same time, this also strengthens the relationship between man and animal enormously.

The willingness to take in the dog and partner must therefore be given.

Also, it should be understood that the four-legged friends will not live forever. In case of death or severe injuries, the dogs are replaced by new ones. The same applies likewise with age weakness. This aspect is often underestimated or not sufficiently considered.

In principle, applicants are also required to have a certain level of physical fitness. The reason for this is obvious. Most of the work as a dog handler takes place in the field. Physical resilience is a mandatory requirement here. 

In addition, the Willingness to work shifts, as well as nights, weekends and holidays will exist. This is usually necessary and non-negotiable.

Dog handlers should also have a Some degree of intelligence bring along 

Most employers require that you pass comprehensive employment tests. These are usually divided into two parts: the physical and the mental. 

In the first part, physical fitness, health status and resilience are tested. 

In the second part, the mental abilities are tested. This includes language skills, an intelligence test and a general knowledge test.

Necessary equipment and accessories tips

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As a dog handler, you can be on duty at any conceivable time of day or night. Therefore, a good basic equipment is an advantage.

The suitable clothing plays a major role here. This should be absolutely comfortable and weatherproof. Dog handlers and their four-legged friends are often out and about in wind and weather.

Sturdy, safe shoes and practical functional clothing are incredibly important here. The clothes should be at best water-repellent and breathable. In this way, it is ideal for any weather.

Good and quality work clothes for dog handlers is for example here to find.

Often the dogs are carried in vehicles. If this is the case, safe transport of the animals must be ensured. For this are Dog belts or Transport boxes available in various designs. These provide a safe ride for man and beast. Also in the event of an accident, they can protect the welfare, life and health of the dog.

Moreover, it makes sense, enough food and water for the animal to have with them. Man and animal are often in action for many hours. This can be due to dangerous situations or time pressure. A dog handler should always be prepared for such situations.

All necessary food and supplies should always be within reach.

Many dog handlers also like to resort to a very short "guide line back. The dogs usually obey without problems on the word. Nevertheless, the possession of a leash including collar important. In this way, a dog can be guided well and in a controlled manner.

This is especially important in the case of a people control. Here, the dogs are not let loose running freely on the people. Instead, they are introduced to the "target object" by their reference person. This behavior has proven itself, since many people are afraid of dogs. If the dog then strikes, the handler can intervene directly.

The same applies to the Search for traces in the wild. Here are gladly Search lines respectively Tracking lines used. These are to ensure that the dogs do not run too far ahead and that the handlers can keep up.

Written by Claudia Weise
Written by Claudia Weise

I am an editor at hundeo and when it comes to dogs, my heart beats faster. My goal is to publish the best dog guides on the web. There is a lot of passion in every article and I am happy about every feedback to constantly improve our content.

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