I want to join Customs, AQIS or the Police Force as a dog handler!
We get many emails from people asking us how they go about joining Customs, AQIS or the Police Force as a dog handler. These government departments have their own training programs and are not accessible by the private sector. You must apply through the normal channels be accepted into the relevant agency you are interested in and then follow the process from there to join the dog squad. If you are looking to do a course in “dog training and /or handling” prior to joining, so you can improve your chances, from our experience, it is a waste of time as the government dog units like to train you from scratch. This was certainly the case for me when I joined the RAAF Police Dog Mustering. Of course prior knowledge is an advantage in respect to learning once you are in the dog unit but our opinion is don’t actively seek out a training course in the private sector that will improve your chances of joining. Also if a dog training establishment states that they have a course that will definitely help you join a government dog unit, steer clear of them.
The best course of action for anyone thinking of becoming a dog trainer/handler is to first define the area of the dog training/handling world that most interests you. Then seek out the information you need to take you specifically on that path. For example if you were interested in becoming a police dog handler. I would not join a local puppy class for inspiration. I would apply to the police force as a recruit with the intention of applying for apposition as a dog handler internally.