Human Remains Detection


  • The canine and handler must demonstrate the ability to search an assigned area effectively for the search for human remains.
  • The handler will develop a search plan based on the scenario presented as well as the terrain features and weather conditions, and articulate that plan to the evaluator. The handler may deviate from the initial search plan, but must advise the evaluator as to when and why he/she has changed the search strategy.
  • The handler must also advise the evaluator of the dog's trained final response. This should be freely offered by the canine without prompt from the handler. The handler must call the source location correctly.
  • The dog must search independently.
  • The handler must maintain control of his/her dog at all times.
  • The dog and handler must make an effective search team.

Sources and Placement:

  • The canine team being evaluated will be expected to locate and perform their final response on human tissue, blood, and bone. The source material utilized for the evaluations will be provided by the evaluator.
  • The size or amount of the source utilized in the evaluation can be between several drops (.1mL) of blood to no more than a placenta (1-2 pounds) and bone fragments no smaller than a quarter ($.25) to no longer than seven (7) inches in length.
  • The evaluator will ensure remains are secured in such a manner that they cannot be consumed by the testing canine.
  • Animal remains found within the test area will be considered part of the environment. Any placement of distracters will be done in such a manner to prevent contamination. No human waste will be utilized as a distraction.
  • Source placement can consist of hidden burial or surface concealed. The buried source will be placed between six (6) and twenty-four (24) inches deep, dependent upon soil type, source amount and type. Within the building source may be placed in an elevated position not to exceed nine (9) feet.
  • Minimum set time for training aids shall be no less than thirty (30) minutes and no more than 24 hours. Maximum set time may be extended as needed.


Failures and Retesting:

  • Immediate failures include performance of the final response on animal remains, marking or urinating on source, and consumption or attempted consumption of source. Aggression towards the handler, evaluator, or helpers is considered an immediate failure. One (1) false final response or missing two (2) sources will constitute failure.
  • The handler must show that they have control of their canine at all times. If the canine does not appear to be under the control and direction of the handler the evaluator can stop the evaluation. The evaluator has the discretion to allow the team to restart or can fail the team and reschedule the evaluation at a later date.
  • Canines may perform a scratch alert, but if the handler allows the canine to continue digging to the point that the source is visible or dislodged it will result in a failure.
  • If the handler fails to meet the needs of the canine by not providing water or rest breaks the evaluator is required to stop the evaluation, which will result in an immediate failure.
  • A team that fails an evaluation station will be able to retest at the discretion of the evaluator one (1) station on the day of evaluations. The team will be eligible for re-evaluation in six (6) months and must show training records that indicate remedial training.
  • All decisions of the evaluator are final.


HRD Land

  • Land evaluations will consist of 5 stations, and to include two wilderness/urban (fields, wooded areas, and a variety of vegetation and terrain features), one urban area (side of buildings, parking lot, roadway, grass, and landscaping), a building and vehicles. There may be 0-3 sources per area.
  • A minimum of one area will be blank with freshly disturbed soil.
  • One area will be searched as a double blind.



  • Each wilderness sector will be not less than 1 acre and not more than 2 acres. The size of the sector may change depending on the terrain available. A minimum of thirty (30) minutes per acre will be allowed and adjusted accordingly for terrain and environmental conditions. A minimum of one sector will also contain negatives such as dead animals, false holes, and other distractions



  • An urban sector will cover a minimum of 1 acre and is not to exceed 1.5 acres. The size of the sector may change depending upon the terrain and conditions. A minimum of 30 minutes will be provided for every acre.
  • The building portion, due to the difficulty in locating suitable sites, the size and condition of the building may vary. The building must consist of a minimum of two rooms not to exceed 1000 sq. feet, excluding the bathroom. The test may be performed in one building or may consist of two buildings if need be. This portion of the test will be limited to thirty (30) minutes.
  • A minimum of three vehicles will be used for this portion of the test, with a maximum of five. The search can cover both interior and exterior with one vehicle containing a source. Search time will be three minutes per vehicle.


HRD Water

  • The Water Areas Evaluation will consist of a shallow water or shoreline search, and boat search areas. A PFD must be worn by the handler when on a boat, pier, or near the water.
  • The shallow water or shoreline portion of the evaluation will be no shorter than fifty (50) yards and no wider than four (4) yards, with a maximum depth of 1 yard (3 ft). The team will be allowed 15 minutes to conduct their search.
  • The boat search portion of the evaluation will be conducted on calm water a minimum area of 2-4 acres. Source will be placed at a depth of twelve (12) feet. The canine team's final response must be within a fifteen (15) foot radius of the source. The evaluator will factor source depth, water conditions, and wind in determining if the canine's final response is within acceptable parameters.
  • Sources used for the evaluation will consist of tissue, bone, or both. Sources shall be placed no less than 30 minutes prior to testing and will be no less than 30 grams (1 oz).
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