Unit of competency details

PSPBORD304A - Maintain detector dog proficiency (Release 3)


Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by and equivalent to PSPBDR004 - Maintain detector dog proficiencyUnit code updated. Content and formatting updated to comply with the new standards. All PC transitioned from passive to active voice. Assessment Requirements created drawing upon specified assessment information from superseded unit. 06/Mar/2016

ReleaseRelease date
3 (this release) 01/Nov/2012
(View details for release 2) 07/Mar/2012
(View details for release 1) 05/May/2009


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 099905 Security Services  

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 099905 Security Services  24/May/2005 
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Modification History


TP Version 




Unit descriptor edited.



Layout adjusted. No changes to content.



Primary release.

Unit Descriptor

This unit covers the skills and knowledge required to maintain a detector dog at maximum level of performance and readiness. This involves team (handler plus dog) in ongoing proficiency training. The unit includes developing a plan for proficiency maintenance training, implementing the training maintaining dog/handler team performance, and maintaining the dog's health and well-being.

In practice, maintaining detector dog proficiency may overlap with other generalist or specialist workplace activities such as complying with legislation, working effectively, using teamwork, applying workplace safety procedures, etc.

No licensing, legislative, regulatory or certification requirements apply to this unit at the time of publication

Application of the Unit

Not applicable.

Licensing/Regulatory Information

Not applicable.


Not applicable.

Employability Skills Information

This unit contains employability skills.

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content

Elements are the essential outcomes of the unit of competency.

Together, performance criteria specify the requirements for competent performance. Text in bold italics  is explained in the Range Statement following.

Elements and Performance Criteria



1 . Develop a plan for proficiency maintenance training 

1.1 A detector dog's capability  is assessed.

1.2 The needs of the dog/handler team are identified and assessed. 

1.3 A tailored proficiency maintenance training plan is developed addressing the unique needs, strengths and weaknesses of the team.

1.4 The training is scheduled to meet priority needs within an agreed timeframe.

1.5 The training plan is regularly updated to reflect the changing needs of the team.

2 . Implement proficiency maintenance training 

2.1 Proficiency maintenance training  is implemented in accordance with the schedule and available resources.

2.2 The dog's response to training is assessed immediately.

2.3 Training is modified as required to meet desired outcomes.

2.4 Custody, transport and utilisation of training aids is undertaken in accordance with legislation , policy and guidelines. 

2.5 Training and other records  are maintained in accordance with legislation, policy and guidelines.

3 . Maintain dog /handler team performance 

3.1 Performance standards for the detector dog team are identified and agreed with relevant personnel.

3.2 A plan for achieving team effectiveness is implemented.

3.3 The detector dog team's effectiveness is assessed against specific performance criteria.

3.4 Performance records are maintained for monitoring purposes in accordance with relevant legislation, policy and guidelines.

3.5 Team plans and working practices are reviewed and improvements are identified if required to achieve maximum performance.

4 . Maintain dog's health and well-being 

4.1 The detector dog's health is monitored  on a regular and consistent basis.

4.2 The dog's needs and problems are identified and actions are taken to address them.

4.3 The detector dog is maintained at a high level  of fitness.

4.4 Cleaning and maintenance  of detector dog's quarters are undertaken/organised to the required standard.

Required Skills and Knowledge

This section describes the essential skills and knowledge and their level, required for this unit.

Skill requirements 

Look for evidence that confirms skills in:

  • deploying detector dogs
  • observing and analysing capability and performance
  • applying decision making using sound judgment
  • organising training schedules
  • keeping records
  • communicating using a range of styles to suit different audiences
  • responding to diversity, including gender and disability
  • applying occupational health and safety and environmental procedures in the context of detector dog proficiency maintenance

Knowledge requirements 

Look for evidence that confirms knowledge and understanding of:

  • enabling and allied legislation and regulations
  • organisational policy, procedures, guidelines and protocols
  • occupational health and safety and environment policies and guidelines relating to detector dog program
  • detector dog program training and deployment principles
  • proficiency maintenance training exercises
  • dog's health requirements
  • health and hygiene
  • fitness levels
  • performance standards
  • reporting procedures
  • equipment operation, usage and maintenance procedures

Evidence Guide

The Evidence Guide specifies the evidence required to demonstrate achievement in the unit of competency as a whole. It must be read in conjunction with the Unit descriptor, Performance Criteria, the Range Statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Public Sector Training Package.

Units to be assessed together 

  • Pre-requisite units that must  be achieved prior  to this unit:Nil
  • Co-requisite units that must  be assessed with  this unit:Nil
  • Co-assessed units that may  be assessed with this unit to increase the efficiency and realism of the assessment process include, but are not limited to:
  • PSPBORD303A Deploy detector dog
  • PSPGOV301B Work effectively in the organisation
  • PSPGOV302B Contribute to workgroup activities
  • PSPLEGN301B Comply with legislation in the public sector
  • PSPOHS301A Contribute to workplace safety

Overview of evidence requirements 

In addition to integrated demonstration of the elements and their related performance criteria, look for evidence that confirms:

  • the knowledge requirements of this unit
  • the skill requirements of this unit
  • application of the Employability Skills as they relate to this unit (see Employability Summaries in Qualifications Framework)
  • detector dog proficiency maintenance in a range of (3 or more) contexts (or occasions, over time) - re-qualification is periodically required

Resources required to carry out assessment 

These resources include:

  • legislation, policy, procedures, guidelines and standard operating procedures/work instructions relating to detector dog proficiency maintenance
  • case studies and workplace scenarios to capture the range of situations likely to be encountered when maintaining the proficiency of a detector dog team

Where and how to assess evidence 

Valid assessment of this unit requires:

  • a workplace environment or one that closely resembles normal work practice and replicates the range of conditions likely to be encountered when maintaining detector dog proficiency, including coping with difficulties, irregularities and breakdowns in routine
  • detector dog proficiency maintenance in a range of (3 or more) contexts (or occasions, over time)
  • periodic re-qualification

Assessment methods should reflect workplace demands, such as literacy, and the needs of particular groups, such as:

  • people with disabilities
  • people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • women
  • young people
  • older people
  • people in rural and remote locations

Assessment methods suitable for valid and reliable assessment of this competency may include, but are not limited to, a combination of 2 or more of:

  • demonstration
  • observation
  • questioning
  • scenarios
  • simulation or role plays
  • authenticated evidence from the workplace and/or training courses

For consistency of assessment 

Evidence must be gathered over time in a range of contexts to ensure the person can achieve the unit outcome and apply the competency in different situations or environments

Range Statement

The Range Statement provides information about the context in which the unit of competency is carried out. The variables cater for differences between States and Territories and the Commonwealth, and between organisations and workplaces. They allow for different work requirements, work practices and knowledge. The Range Statement also provides a focus for assessment. It relates to the unit as a whole. Text in bold italics  in the Performance Criteria is explained here.

The dog's capability  includes due consideration given to:

  • work area
  • performance
  • number of detections
  • number of finds
  • response
  • motivation to search

Assessment  and tailoring of the plan should be undertaken with:

  • a training coordinator/instructor
  • another detector dog team member
  • senior handler

Proficiency maintenance training  includes:

  • a planned set of exercises to:
  • enhance detection capabilities for a range of target odours
  • maintain the dog's intent
  • develop and maintain the dog's quality and duration of search

Legislation , policy and guidelines  may include:

  • Customs Act 1901 and regulations
  • Quarantine Act 1908 and regulations
  • policies and procedures related to detector dog training, operational and training aid control
  • occupational health and safety
  • national and regional standing operating orders
  • work instructions
  • organisational policy and procedures

Training records  include:

  • proficiency maintenance training records
  • daily diaries
  • database records
  • work log books
  • health records

Monitoring  of the dog's health includes:

  • thirteen point daily health check
  • an annual veterinary health check

High level  of fitness for the dog includes:

  • being clean
  • being fit
  • being healthy
  • being well-groomed
  • working well

Cleaning and maintenance  may include:

  • ensuring contracted staff complete tasks to required standard
  • undertaken by handler

Unit Sector(s)

Not applicable.

Competency field

Border Protection.