Recruiting detector dogs

The MPI Detector Dog Programme is always looking for suitable dogs for the programme. Find out what is involved if you think your dog is a candidate.

We seek playful, well-socialised dogs

Suitable dogs are:

  • beagles or labradors
  • aged 3 years or younger
  • healthy.

They must also:

  • have full records of medical history and immunisations
  • have a strong play or food drive
  • be good around people, especially children
  • be well socialised.

If your dog has what it takes, the dog goes to our National Training Centre in Auckland. We evaluate your dog for up to 3 weeks. We test its temperament and we will take it to various worksites around the airport. The dog will also have a full physical health examination at MPI's cost.

If the dog is suitable to enter the training programme, the ownership is signed over and the dog starts training.

Video – harrier puppies in training

Watch the video to find out about a new breed of dog MPI is trialling – harrier hounds.


Dogs learn to find prohibited items

Dogs are trained to find:

  • plants and plant products, for example fruits, vegetables, bulbs, flowers, leaves, and seeds
  • animals and animal products, for example meat, eggs, live birds, or reptiles.

The dogs learn to respond in a passive manner by simply sitting next to the baggage containing these items. The dogs will then be rewarded with food for any correct responses.

Dogs that fail to qualify are returned

If a dog fails to qualify during training, we will offer the dog back to its previous owner or foster family, or find a new approved, suitable home. If, for some reason, the dog is unhappy, or does not enjoy the work, its training stops.

Find out more

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