The requirement to have only qualified and approved K9 security dog handlers working in the security industry is about standards. More specifically, this is ensuring that security is maintained 24/7 but also that this is done professionally and with the security dog’s welfare as paramount importance. The process to achieve this is strict and rigorous, as you would expect, but in terms of understanding what it takes to become a qualified canine security dog handler, there are some personal and behavioural questions to ask about a person’s character also.
In other words, to become a qualified security dog handler and to be able to work with trained security dogs, of course you need qualifications, but before you even think about that you need to ask yourself if you are the right kind of person for this job in terms of desire and temperament. The security industry is specialist, challenging and in demand, but people can be attracted to it for the wrong reasons, particularly when you come to K9 security, so here we have broken down the process to analyse and assess what a potential K9 security professional will need to consider.
Are you a dog lover?
This might sound a bit silly, but the relationship you have to form with a dog in order to be able to carry out security responsibilities professionally, means you can’t just wing it. You have to be able to work with dogs, understand dogs, have patience for dogs and want to protect them. You need to train the dog to work with you, and this makes you a team. Are you able to do that?
Do you have a passion for the job?
Security is a serious business, and canine security is challenging and skilful, so fundamentally, do you want to do it? Don’t just be tempted by an open job vacancy, this will require long, isolated hours outdoors, so if you like to go clubbing on a weekend and have a very active social life, this won’t be the profession for you.
This is essential when assessing whether you have the right personality for K9 security and working with trained security dogs. You will be working unsociable hours in lonely conditions. This requires focus and concentration, an eye for detail and a lot of discipline. You are not at work to play with dogs, you have a job to do. You might also be required to train a dog to work with you. Do you have the patience and temperament to do that?
This stands for Security Industry Authority, and permits you to work in the security industry, such as a door supervisor, on CCTV patrols, for cash and valuables in transit, or as a security guard. An SIA licence is valid for three years at a time and as of April 2020 cost £190.
This is the standard qualification of the National Association of Security Dog Users. It is sometimes offered as an on-the-job qualification, but it is worth pursuing this approval at an early stage of your career progression – even before you have a job – because it makes you an asset to any potential employer and makes you stand out in the job market. You need to be SIA-licenced to embark on a Level 2 General Purpose Security Dog Handler course, which usually takes about five days to complete and should cost around £500. This is a basic course and higher qualifications are possible, but this trains you to make basic commands, about control techniques (particularly when facing aggression) and how to use a security dog to assist in searching premises and people. Some courses may require you to take a one-day introductory course before you take the Level 2 course, but it is generally accepted that having the Level 2 qualification makes you employable as a security dog handler.
Additional optional requirements
- Employment Status: It is advisable to ensure you are aware of employment status when seeking short or long term contracts in the job market.
- Trained dogs: Some security dog handlers train their own dogs from a young age, while others buy a pre-trained dog who is a little older. Ultimately, you need a trained security dog to work with you as a partnership, so it is up to you how you do it and there are pros and cons to each approach.
- Vehicle: It may be beneficial to have your own vehicle, usually a van or an estate car, set up as a dog unit with a barrier, blankets and dog accessories. If you are self-employed this makes professional sense, but if you are permanently employed, an employer may provide this.
If you need expert security dog handlers, look no further than React K9. We are trained to the highest standards to provide an exceptional security dog service across the UK.