Skip to navigation Skip to content

TSA's National Explosives Detection Canine Team

Office of Law Enforcement/Federal Air Marshal Service

TSA Canine Puppy Program logo

TSA's National Explosives Detection Canine Team Program prepares dogs and handlers to serve on the front lines of America's War on Terror. These very effective, mobile teams can quickly locate and identify dangerous materials that may present a threat to transportation systems. Just as important, they can quickly rule out the presence of dangerous materials in unattended packages, structures or vehicles, allowing the free and efficient flow of commerce.

Law enforcement officers from all over the country travel to TSA's Explosives Detection Canine Handler Course at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas where they are paired with one of TSA's canine teammates . These dogs are bred specifically for the program by TSA's puppy program, also at Lackland AFB. German Shepherds, Belgian Malanoises, Vizslas and other types of dogs are used in the program because of their keen noses and affinity for this type of work. In addition to providing a highly trained dog and handler training, we provide partial funding for handler salaries, care and feeding of the canines, veterinary and other costs associated with the dog once the teams return to their hometowns.

After dog and handler are paired up, the new team completes a rigorous 10-week course to learn to locate and identify a wide variety of dangerous materials while working as an effective unit. This training includes search techniques for aircraft, baggage, vehicles and transportation structures, as well as procedures for identifying dangerous materials and "alerting" or letting the handler know when these materials are present.