What type of pack do I need for my pack check?
Where do I get my SARTECH II?
Do I need to take my SARTECH III first?
Why doesn't NASAR schedule more tests?
What's the difference between a Lead Evaluator (LE) and an Evaluator (E)?
So what do Evaluators do?
K9 Specific Certifications FAQ
How much does certification cost? What about recertification?
What do I need to attempt a certification?
Do I have to always take the written test first?
If I fail a field test, how soon can I restest?
Can I challenge the CST II right away?
Can I reward my dog during a test?
Can I use a GPS?
What are my dog and I evaluated on?
What should I train for to pass the certification?
What is a "trained final response"?
What other obedience certifications are accepted besides the AKC CGC?
What is required content for the Crime Scene Preservation Class?
Q: What type of pack do I need for my pack check?
A: One that will be comfortable for the deployment period you are testing for. There is no need to spend a large amount of money on a pack unless you will be using it for your everyday deployments, an appropriately sized backpack from a large discount store is sufficient. The pack is meant to be a general collection of first aid, safety and survival gear that could help you if you get in a dangerous/survival situation while searching, most of which can be found at a large discount store in the camping section. Many people end up using a modified version of this pack for their day to day operations. After the test, the majority of the contents end up permanently stored in your vehicle.
Q: Where do I get my SARTECH II?
A: You will have to check the Course Schedule page (under General Certification Exams) to find current SARTECH II offerings. If you would like to have one offered in your area, please contact a Lead Evaluator in your state/region.
Q: Do I need to take my SARTECH III first?
A: No, you do not need to take the SARTECH III first, or any other class for that matter, you can challenge the SARTECH II directly. However, you will have to have map and compass skills, map reading skills, clue awareness and an understanding of basic man tracking and search skills before attempting the tests. It does have practical stations just like the K9 tests. It also requires you to pass a written test.
Q: Why doesn't NASAR schedule more tests?
A: NASAR Lead Evaluators respond to requests for tests based on what members or requesting agencies ask for. If you would like to have a test scheduled in your area, either a SARTECH II test or K9 Tests, talk to your deploying agency or contact a Lead Evaluator. If all else fails, contact someone on the K9 Committee and we will help you out.
Q: What's the difference between a Lead Evaluator (LE) and an Evaluator (E)?
A: Lots of paperwork. The real answer is experience in setting up and conducing events through NASAR. All LE's have to be an evaluator first and apprentice with a Lead Evaluator to move into the LE position. The LE is responsible for all paperwork, collecting money, assisting Evaluators with questions, answering questions from testing candidates, making sure tests are administered correctly and fairly, informing candidates of failures and reasons why, and submitting all paperwork to NASAR.
Q: So what do Evaluators do?
A: Administer field tests, assist the LE with paperwork and usually get blisters. (Lead Evaluators usually get blisters as well).
K9 Specific Certifications FAQ
Q: How much does certification cost? What about recertification?
A: Each certification will cost $55 for a NASAR member and $70 for a non NASAR member. This cost covers a test and a re-test. Recertification possibilities are currently in committee with NASAR.
Q: What do I need to attempt a certification?
A: The general prerequisites are the NASAR SARTECHTM II, ICS 100 and 700, a basic obedience certification for the dog, a minimum age of 12 months for the dog and a first aid certification. Depending on the certification there are usually additional prerequisites. Please visit the K9 Certification Central site and choose the discipline you are interested in to see the perquisites. You can download the list from the discipline page.
Q: Do I have to always take the written test first?
A: You have to take the written test, either the CST or the disaster responder, the first time you attempt a certification. If you receive over a 70 on the written portion, you will not have to take the written test again, even if you certify with another dog. If you want to certify in both the wilderness and disaster responder certification series, you will have to take two written tests.
Q: If I fail a field test, how soon can I restest?
A: If you retested in the same testing event and failed, you will have to wait six months.
Q: Can I challenge the CST II right away?
A: If you mean the CST II-Area Search, yes. If you happen to fail, you will have to take the CST III-Area Search before attempting the CST II Area Search again. You have to take all the trailing tests in order. CST III, II then. You can challenge any of the HRD tests without following the progression.
Q: Can I reward my dog during a test?
A: It depends on the test. For HRD tests, the answer is no. You will have to move outside the boundaries of the testing area to reward. For Area Search and Trailing tests, yes. Disaster tests and Water HRD, it is up to the handler, however, if you reward with food, don't expect to be able to reward within the bounds/boat for any certification.
Q: Can I use a GPS?
A: Yes, just not in the CST III. Just know how to use it before you show up, otherwise it serves as a distraction for you when you should be thinking about other things. Even though you may use a GPS, you should also have strong mapping skills and be able to use it to explain your search strategy using the map provided too you. Technology is great but a well rounded handler can use either a map or a GPS and many use them in combination in addition to their compass. Not just one or the other. Besides, even the best technology can get run over by a truck or lost in the woods.
Q: What are my dog and I evaluated on?
A: We evaluate the handler on things such as land navigation skills, search strategy, how well you read your dog, can you articulate what your dog is going to do when showing interest and for their final response, and noting areas of interest on your map.
Your dog is evaluated on whether or not it works well, if it performs its final response, and if it will go back to work if distracted.
As a team you are evaluated on your effectiveness and whether or not you found the subject within the allotted time. The items you are evaluated on specifically will depend on the test you are taking. You can look in the CCP or on the web page for that particular discipline for the specific evaluations.
Q: What should I train for to pass the certification?
A: Do not train to pass the certification, train for being deployed into the real world. If you look through all the certifications, they have the specifics of what is included in the certification. For example, in the trailing certifications there are cross tracks and you should be training to successfully complete a trail with many cross tracks before attempting the certification. Also, in the HRD certification a distraction of animal remains or false holes are included, you and your dog should know how to deal with each of these before completing your training anyway and being deployed into real situations.
Q: What is a "trained final response"?
A: This is a behavior that has been specifically trained to ‘report' that the dog has found the source of scent. This could be a down, sit, bark, dig or any combination of those. It could also be a bump or bringsle find/refind. It is a behavior that you have specifically trained and can articulate to your evaluator or the law enforcement officer walking with you during a deployment.
Q: What other obedience certifications are accepted besides the AKC CGC?
A: The candidate must produce written proof of the canine having successfully completed a nationally recognized obedience evaluation, which meets or exceeds the American Kennel Club's Canine Good Citizen test. Examples include, but are not limited to, evaluations conducted by a recognized Association of Pet Dog Trainers or National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors, training clubs or organizations, FEMA and/or law enforcement instructors.
Q: What is required content for the Crime Scene Preservation Class?
A: Crime Scene Preservation Class topics covered must include, but are not limited to the following:
• The class should teach how to preserve evidence that would otherwise be destroyed or lost.
• The class should teach how to handle both live and deceased subject with respect to preserving evidence.
• The class should teach the methodology of "Preserving the Chain of Evidence".
• The class should teach how to be an asset to the law enforcement community when the searcher is the first on a crime scene, and not a detriment to any further investigation.
• Include an endorsement from a recognized law enforcement agency, if it is already not provided by a law enforcement agency.
• Provide a certificate of completion that details that it is a crime scene preservation or evidence preservation or crime scene behavior class.
• The certificate should at least provide a reference to the agency authorizing the class.
This class should be taught by Law Enforcement personnel or Crime Scene Technicians.