American Working Dogs
Cadaver Search Certification

American Working Dogs was founded by handler's throughout the United States and now around the world to offer another practical avenue to certify their K9 teams.

The canine team shall be evaluated by an approved K-9 team evaluator prior to general law enforcement deployment and at least once annually. If the canine team fails the testing, they may re-test after a 24 hour period. Certifications are good for a period of 1 year from the date of testing. Certification Forms and copies of the Certificate are property of AWD and shall be kept on file by AWD

*** Please click here to find an American Working Dogs Certifying Official in your area.***


Team must be prepared to travel to a location designated by the certifying official.

Section 1. Type of Cadaver Aids to Be Used for Certification

Only Human Remains Will be Used as Aids.



Consumption of any aid results in a failed certification.
The second alert on a non- hide location or a second missed hide results in a failed certification.


No Pseudo Aids Will Be Used For Certification


Size and Amount of Aids:

The amount and size of the aid will dictate the depth of the hide (smaller amounts will be shallow etc).


Height and Depth of Aids:

Aids will be hidden at various heights and depths to be determined by the certifying official but no shallower than 6 inches, or deeper than 36 inches, or higher than six feet.


Section 2. Time Issues

There must be at least a 30 minute set time for each aid. Certifying official will dictate how long an aid will need to set given the environment, depth, and nature of the hide.
The team will be allowed the necessary time required to do a systemic search of the area.
The handler may request a rest break if the canine tires or shows signs of heat exhaustion.
The time limit at a given area will be at the discretion of the cerifying official. The dog must show competence and continues interest in working and in locating the cadaver aid.


Section 3. Alerts

Each handler is responsible for notifying the certifying official the type of alert (Passive or aggressive) to expect. Handler must announce each canine alert to the certifying official.


Section 4. Search Area

SEARCH will consist of at least three of the following:
1 aid hidden in rubble, concrete, lumber, building material, etc.
1 aid hidden on the surface concealed with leaves, brush, etc.
1 aid buried with additional diggings added to area to disguise the actual hide location
1 aid concealed above the ground
1 aid hidden at the discretion of the certifying official that is similar to actual finds from the case history of the area.
Only one aid will be hidden in no less than a 50 yard by 50 yard area with a maximum of 50 yard by 100 yard. Final determination of appropriate sized area will be left to the certifying official.
The canine team must alert on at least two different environments to pass certification.


Section 5. Certification

Certification is valid for one calendar year. There will be a 24hr waiting period to attempt to certify again unless circumstances at the time of the certification has been determined by the certifying official to warrant another attempt. All rulings by the certifying official are final.