Australian Government - Australian Customs and Border Protection Service

To protect Australia's borders and foster lawful trade and travel.

Training Detector Dog Teams

Customs and Border Protection detector dogs and handlers are trained in Melbourne, with a focus on training passive response dogs. A passive response dog is trained to give a “sit” response to both people and cargo. Both male and female Labrador Retrievers are trained as detector dogs.

Training detector dog teams

Customs and Border Protection uses various detection exercises using articles scented with a target odour, so that the detector dog establishes scent association.  After a successful response the handler rewards the dog with a tug-of-war game and a great deal of praise. Each exercise is designed for challenging and progressive development, using the Labrador's enjoyment of the game as motivation to detect. Detector dog team training also includes introducing the handler and dog to the methods required to effectively search all areas of interest to Customs and Border Protection. 

Customs and Border Protection detector dog teams are trained to find goods concealed in luggage, parcels, mail, cargo containers, vessels, vehicles, aircraft, and on people.

Detector dog handlers are only recruited internally from current Customs and Border Protection officers.  Please see the general recruitment page for further information on becoming a Customs and Border Protection officer.