Students at Wrexham Glyndwr University have had a taste of what it takes to become a search dog handler.

The Forensics department been involved in developing two short courses at the Northop campus with an eye on gaining accreditation from NASDU (National Association of Specialist Dog Users) for future courses.

They are designed for people thinking about becoming a search dog handler, or who know that they are likely to work with search dogs in the future.

Students from various subject areas, ranging from Animal Studies to Policing, took part in the ‘hands-on’ canine-themed taster events, working with real search dogs, and gave plenty of positive feedback to the organisers.

Senior Lecturer in Forensic Science, Amy Rattenbury said: “Becoming a handler is expensive, and takes a long time, so we wanted to offer a little taster. Last week we ran the first round of those short courses.”

The first course was an Introduction to Dog Handling enabling students to hear a learn about missing people search dogs, cadaver search dogs, and canines used in drugs searches.

Courses were comprised of a couple of hours of online content, and two-and-a-half days spent on campus where students were given the opportunity to carry out simulated searches and demonstrations with the dogs.

Amy added: “We ran a second short course in canine operational support which is designed for people to learn more about navigation and communication, and search activities.

“We had a really good mixture of people. We had a couple of people who are thinking about becoming dog handlers and wanted to get a taste, we had Forensic Science students, Animal Studies students, Policing students, so it appealed to quite a lot of people which is always quite nice.

“Being able to get the experts in is always great.”

One student who took part said: “Such an interesting course. Staff were really friendly and taught me a lot about what it is like to be a dog handler. Thank you again for running this course!”

The next Introduction to Search Dog Handling courses take place at the Northop Campus from Monday, June 29 to Wednesday, July 1, and from Monday, August 13, to Wednesday August 15.

For more information on course fees and how to book, visit

For more information about Wrexham Glyndwr University’s Forensic Science course, visit