The dog in the airport environment

Following the decision of the Commission of the European Union of 30 July 2010, establishing detailed measures for the implementation of the common basic standards for aviation security, the State Aviation Safety Agency (AESA) got down to work to develop and implement it in our country. This decision represents progress in the use of the dog as a security "tool" in the airport environment in our country, culminating in the accreditation of the first guide dog pairs in 2015.

As in any other environment, the dog becomes a great ally in order to raise the level of security of any facility in its various forms, which can be divided into two main areas of work: detection dogs and security dogs themselves. However, the Spanish culture regarding these animals and their performance is still far from that of other European countries such as France, Holland, Belgium or Germany, where the presence of canine teams is commonplace.

In this way we can differentiate between the security dog oriented to the reaction and the detector dog directed to the prevention in search of prohibited substances, whether these are drugs, weapons, explosives, etc..

With the application and entry into force of the decision of the European Commission to which we referred at the beginning, a new horizon of collaboration opens up at airports with the Security Forces and Corps (FCS), as it adds another element to the presence of the security guard. Under the mandate and cooperation of the latter, private security plays an eminently preventive role in air cargo terminals where the securing of one hundred percent of the cargo is mandatory. However, certain consignments, due to their size or characteristics, can only be searched by detection dogs.

The next step has been the control of aircraft supplies with these same procedures. Let's hope that in a short time our efficient "companions" will continue with the natural evolution to become a common tool for the security of travellers and their luggage, and that it will be as natural as in other European airports to observe the preventive patrolling of the guides and their dogs throughout the airport premises. In this sense, it is necessary to emphasize the need to have a highly qualified and trained team, which performs a serious and professional work, as is the case of the canine section of Mega-2 Security.

In the current situation of a global threat, one of the main advantages offered by the detection dog team is its mobility and dynamism. The security controls are static in clearly differentiated fixed points, while a binomial can move throughout the airport space controlling the entire terrain.

It offers a greater guarantee of security, increasing the deterrent effect, both in the case of searching for explosives and drug trafficking, since users do not know what type of dog the guard is handling. It is, therefore, an extra mobile security filter, it is an added value.

As for cargo terminals and aircraft supplies and their ability to accessibility to the transported goods, regardless of their size and composition, offers a guarantee that other technical means such as the scanner cannot inspect.


The accreditation of the Explosive Detection Dog Teams of Mega-2 Seguridad is obtained after the rigorous examinations supervised by the AESA and the canine section of the National Police. To take the tests, the following requirements are necessary: the certification of the link with the dog with a minimum of 200 hours, to be in possession of the specific course of surveillance with dogs and the course of transport without risk of dangerous goods by air CAT 12, as well as a theoretical training of the specific regulation that regulates this activity.

The tests consist of a first theoretical examination and two practical exercises. The first practical exercise consists of verifying the assimilation of the smells to be detected by the dog, while the second is an exercise that simulates a real search in open and closed spaces. In the two practical tests there are distractions that make it difficult to pass the exercise.

The accreditation obtained is valid for one year, after which the exams must be repeated for recertification. This obliges our Explosive Detection Dog Teams to carry out constant training and continuous recycling.

In addition, in the log books of the equipment inspected by the corresponding body, the monthly operational checks carried out in public facilities of the Ministry of Defence are recorded. In them it is stated that the Mega-2 Security binomials are capable of detecting the substances determined by AESA. In other words, in addition to the work carried out by the teams at the different airports, they undergo training by the company itself and are also tested monthly by an external body, which guarantees the reliability of our dogs and their handlers.

Finally, every day, before starting the working day, an operational check is mandatory to confirm that the animal is in optimal conditions for the search.

The training of dogs is a constant and rewarding task. In this part it is necessary to differentiate between the canine guide and the figure of the handler, which can sometimes be concurrent. As in any area of work, the selection of the worker will facilitate the results. In this case, the choice of the dog is fundamental since it will save time and effort for both the handler and the handler.

The ideal is to start working with the selected puppy as soon as possible, adapting the phases of training to his age. Having the puppy since weaning benefits us because we know exactly what has been its evolution, what and how we have worked with it, as well as its reactions. On the other hand, there is a risk that after the time and dedication used, it does not reach the necessary standards for the development of such a qualified and demanding work.

Role of the guide

It is the guide's responsibility to know perfectly the state of his dog at all times and to know if he is in conditions to carry out the service, as well as to provide him with the optimal hygienic-sanitary conditions: he must check his pads, ears, eyes, muzzle, wash him, brush him, be aware of his vaccinations, deworming...

Likewise, the handler is responsible for guaranteeing the rest required by the regulations during the work and, as a perfect connoisseur of his dog, to extend it as long as necessary.

The guide also has the administrative function of filling in the log books correctly with the searches carried out, as well as recording any incidents that have occurred. As he is aware of the regulations that govern this activity, he has the obligation to discriminate which goods the dog may or may not inspect. He is the most responsible for the security of the inspected cargo and this is confirmed with an individual seal that identifies him with his binomial registration number and his signature, which is printed on the cargo manifest.

You have the obligation to know and apply the protocol for action in the event of a positive marking of a possible explosive substance by the dog.


The dog is undervalued in Spain as an element of security. The scarce cynological culture about the possibilities offered by these animals means that at present they are not taking advantage of all their qualities and possibilities of action.

The presence of the dog-guide binomial provides three fundamental pillars of security: prevention, dissuasion and reaction.

Mega-2 Security teams are certified by AESA and the Port Authority of Barcelona, which in addition to being certified by official examinations must also pass audits and internal quality controls before assigning each team to the service.

The company has its own approved trainers and handlers to provide the different training actions required by airport security regulations (AVSEC) and to select the appropriate dogs for the performance of this activity.

Source: Nº456

Scroll to top