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Police dog training

The Police University College’s Police Dog Training Centre trains dog handlers, who then train police dogs. Each year, 12 patrol dog handlers and 2–4 specialist dog handlers begin their training.

Police dog handlers, just like other police officers, first complete the basic police education at the Police University College. Before an officer can apply for dog handler studies, they must first work as a police officer for at least two years after completing their basic police education. Experience of working in both uniformed duties and investigation duties is desirable.

A puppy peaking over a wooden fence with a police car in the background.

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Becoming a dog handler after specialist studies 

The officers who begin dog handler studies are chosen by the police departments. An officer who is interested in working as a dog handler first works as a patrol officer in a dog patrol in order to get a full picture of a dog handler’s duties.

Before the applicant is selected for training, the Police Dog Training Centre assesses their suitability for the dog handler’s role.

An officer who specializes in dog handling will complete patrol dog handler specialization studies at the Police University College, which will give them the necessary qualifications to take on the duties of a police dog handler. The training takes two and a half years to complete. A portion of the studies is contact teaching at the Police Dog Training Centre in Hämeenlinna.

Over the course of the studies, dog handlers and their dogs will take the police dog behavior test, endurance test and training inspections for the various training areas.

Specialist patrol dog handler studies curriculum curriculum