ATF’s world-renowned Explosives Detection Canine program uses scientifically based methods to train canine teams to find explosives and firearms-related evidence for criminal investigations. In 2014, ATF’s National Canine Division launched the Search Enhanced Evidence K-9 (S.E.E.K.) program to provide canine teams with advanced tactics to use in the field.
S.E.E.K. canine teams learn unique off-leash techniques as well as traditional on-leash skills, which enables their handler to maintain control while the canine searches for target odors using their natural hunt drive. S.E.E.K. canines can work off-leash in a variety of difficult environments, including wooded or overgrown areas where a leash may easily tangle.
37 canine teams have graduated through the S.E.E.K. program as of 2021.
S.E.E.K. canines go through an intense 24-week program at the National Canine Training Center in Front Royal, Virginia. The first part of the training includes basic obedience skills and the detection of various explosives compounds and mixtures.
The second phase of the training pairs the canines with their handlers to focus on their combined tactical skills. During this phase, the K-9s continue to hone their detection skills by deploying to search various operational environments. This includes practicing searches at crime scenes, fields, schools, vehicles, bus lots, warehouses, retail stores, open areas and other facilities.