Inside DI

DynCorp International Explosive-Detecting Dog Handler, Spencer Himes

dyncorp international explosive detecting dogSpencer Himes was starting his last two years of service with the U.S. Military when he discovered a hidden calling to train as a handler for the military’s canine unit working with Explosive Detector Dogs (EDDs).

While working as a military police officer on a Special Reaction Team for the Provost Marshal’s Office, Himes came in contact with the installation canine unit. After befriending some of the dog handlers and researching the role, he was determined to become a dog handler and headed to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas for 11 weeks of handler training.

Training the Humans

Working with a Patrol EDD, Himes first learned how to command the dog for tactics such as patrol techniques, controlled aggression, scouting, pursuing a fleeing suspect and obedience. He then focused on working with the dog to find narcotics or explosives. Himes was also taught how to properly care for the dog’s health.

Himes commented, “The dogs are already up-to-speed and are actually training the handlers – showing them how to avoid the dangers from explosive devices by learning the dog’s reactions. For example, the dog will sit or have some other non-aggressive reaction when they have discovered a potentially dangerous object.”

Training the Dogsdyncorp international k9 team

After serving in the military, Himes went to work for DynCorp International in Iraq as an Explosive Detective Dog Handler. That’s where he met Rex, the half German Shepherd, half Belgian Malinois who became his partner for the next three and a half years.

They trained together for some time so Himes could build rapport with Rex and they eventually became mission-certified for work at one of the regional embassies. Their primary duty was to sweep areas where meetings would take place to ensure the safety of the participants.

EDDs generally train for about 60 days on detecting explosives in open areas, buildings, vehicles and on travel routes before they are initially certified. Detection training can utilize traditional protocol training, or what is known as the deferred final response training method. Canines are also trained in patrol techniques which teach basic obedience and proficiency in completing obstacle courses, scouting for suspects, building search methods and controlled aggression. Patrol training also takes approximately 60 days.

Breed and Temperament

There is no specific breed requirement for EDD team dogs, although you most often see German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois, Dutch Shepherds or Labradors. Other breeds such as Weimaraners, German Shorthaired Pointers Vizslas or even Beagles are also used as EDDs.

“It’s really more the temperament of the dog that matters. This also determines the type of work the dog will perform as each dog is evaluated to see where it fits best. Rex is a bit skittish and will defend more than he will attack, so he was a great choice as an explosives dog,” said Himes.

The Rewards of Service

Now seven years old and suffering from arthritis, Rex is retired from his EDD work and lives with Himes in Johns Island, S.C. Handlers are often allowed to keep their retired dogs through a formal written request to the State Department. A veterinarian must examine the dog to confirm that it should be retired, the State Department must agree, and the handler must have the proper living environment for the dog.

According to Himes, Rex is enjoying his well-earned retirement and happily handling his new role of companion and friend—with no danger attached.

Reader Interactions


  1. Derin says

    D fact dat all dogs can b trained to detect ieds is extremely a keyword and of interest, comparing different types of breeds in d world.

  2. Denzil Mukuma says

    I m Denzil Mukuma from South Africa, I m professional Dog handler trained by Mechem with Two years experience, I was trained on EDD/MDD now I m looking for international vacancy especially in afghanistan or iraq or even other places around the worlds, thanks hope u will get back to me

  3. jimmy says

    hello my name is jimmy mpedi im from south africa im looking for job as dog hantler pls can u sent me u email addrass

  4. Ralph Baker says

    Good day,

    I am R Baker, a professional EDD/Narcotic/Patrolling dog handler from SA. My training was done in San Antonio, Texas and I was based in Afghanistan for nearly 2 years. I am currently looking for an opportunity in this field as I have a American Visa till 2021.

  5. Dragan Malikanovic says

    I m Dragan Malikanovic from Bosnia and Herzegovina, I m professional Dog handler trained by Ronco with 10 years experience, I was trained on EDD/MDD now I m looking for international vacancy especially in afghanistan or iraq or even other places around the worlds, thanks hope u will get back to me

  6. Aleksandar Micevic says

    I m Aleksandar Micevic from Bosnia and Herzegovina, I m professional Dog handler trained by GTO,AMK9 WITH 4 years experience, I was trained on EDD/MDD now I m looking for international vacancy especially in Afganistan or Iraq or even other places around the worlds, thanks hope u will get back to me.Thank in advance

  7. rocco says

    Good day.

    Can you please forward me information on your explosives and narcotics course.

    I also would like to inquire if it would be possible to pay the course in installments.

    Rudolph Neveling

    • Phillip Simion says

      Dear Sir /Madam

      My name is Phillip Simion im looking for a job as a EDD or Narcotics dog handler im read for any deploymet i will be gled if you consider my application

      Thank you

  8. jimmy says

    Hello my name is Jimmy mpedi i am looking for job as dog hantler or dog trainerI have 31 years experience working with dogs i was team lead mdd dog hantler in Mozambique and DRC and agola and etophia as Team lead for mdd dog hantler.and irag as edd dog hantlerAnd afganastan.sawdan as team lead for mdd dog hantler.

  9. George C. Alvarez says

    Good day!I’m George from the Phils.,I’ve worked with DynCorp.Intl.,last 2009-11,one of your constraction site in Jllabad,Afghanistan,as a K9 bomb detection dog handler under VCSI.I’ve been training dogs for more than 20yrs.Thank you!

  10. brains says

    hi mr, im new in this industry,ĺookin to grow reach your level or abov
    e,to have someone like you really encourage young guys like me,im proud of you of how you worked your way up hight to your rank,would like to get channeled to things i dont know,learn more,to make a best dog handler internationally,
    thank you

  11. Lawrence Wessels says

    Good day. I am a qualified K9 Narcotic Dog Handler. I qualified in San Antonio, Texas.

    I worked in Afghanistan for almost 4 years and the company’s contract expired sending me home.

    I am VERY interested in being deployed again, to either Afghanistan OR Iraq.

    However I notice that most of your vacancies are for US Citizens. Are you not employing South African. Is this true ???

    in the meantime I will visit your vacancy blog as suggested in your other above reply

    Thank you in advance.

    Lawrence Wessels.

  12. Jaime Molina Gavino says

    hi,have a great day i’m interested to be part of your K9 industry as a k9 Handler I was working as k9 handler in Kuwait,EDD/NDD.I’m a Filipino,just inform me,if you need Filipino Handler ty and more power.

  13. sylver lutwama says

    am here in dubai .i work as a k-9 handler specifically explosive dog detection. am still currently employed as a handler here with fedex regional hub dubai but we are sub contractors with fedex.i really wana join you dat side due to some reasons dat cant be explained here on comment aged 31 en am a ugandan . GOD BLESS waiting fo de response

  14. Bobby Burleson says

    Retired last after 28 years as a police officer and K9 handler. 7 years with Defense Intelligence Agency and TS clearance. Interested in overseas K9 position. Contact 205-919-4706

  15. vinicius bocaiuva says

    Dear Sirs, I am currently looking forward to locate 10 trained MWD (NDD, MDD, EDD, Search & Rescue, Missing Persons, Fugitives) to be donated to a Non-Profit Organization in Brazil. I thank in advance who might have an idication. Thx

  16. Shannon Bragg says

    Recently retired from military after 20 years. I have 11 years experience as a DDD/ EDD hanler. I have 2 tours of service to Iraq 2005/2007 Mosel and Baghdad as well as presidential secret service tasking experience. I am dedicated to the business of agression and detection. I am looking for work abroad. Please reply if interested. Resume and DD214 available upon request, secret clearance.

  17. ngonidzashe says

    I hope I find you well I’m a Zimbabwean EDD/NDD handler who have vast experience. I have worked in Afghanstan and Eritrea. I’m looking for possible employment I’m readily available.

  18. ngonidzashe says

    I’m readily available I’m an EDD/NDD handler/trainer I have worked in war torn Afghanstan and Eritrea. My email address is Please feel free to get in touch with me if you know companies that might need my experience

  19. José Félix castillo says

    Hi there, i was working at afganisthan since 2007 to 2013. I”m looking for a job,im doghandler EDD/ i”ve recived certificate from the army usa.i was working for AMK9 Dtection available to work with you..thanks

  20. Mario de souza says

    Hi my name is Mario i am a explosives dog handler from SA. Will you pls let me know if there is any vacancies available.

  21. Edward Canell says

    Looking for K9 employment over seas. Just retired after 21 years in the military just need to know where to start.

    Thank you for your time
    Ed C.

  22. John Lundt says

    I am a EDD handler and Team Leader living in Cape Town, South Africa.I have been in the UK, Egypt, Kuwait and the USA. I also have experience as a Kennel Master. I have a Military and Law Enforcement background. Seeking employment in High Risk Zones as a K9 handler. I am available immediately.
    John Lundt

  23. samson nyandoro says

    I am an EDD dog handler looking for a job anywhere in the world. I was trained in South Africa at MECHEM. please conduct me if there is any oportunity

  24. Gideon Francois Combrink says

    Good day .I am a qualified K9-PEDD/EDD Handler with 30 experience in the South-African Police Service ,living in Pretoria South-Africa.I completed a K9 Handlers course in San Antonio Texas .I worked in Afghanistan for 4 years .
    I am VERY interesting in being deployed again in Afghanistan or Iraq or anywhere in the world where needed,I am in the position to been deployed on a very short notice.
    Thank you in advance
    Deon Combrink

  25. Boipuso Ntlhabang says

    Good soldier working in Botswana in dog unit.i have 25yrs experience of working with dogs ver active.passion with initiatives and able to work without supervision im willing to retire very soon. I want a job of using detection dogs in UK…..

  26. José Félix Castillo says

    Hi, im José Félix i was working for amk9 detección service, since 2007 to 2013 im interested to work with you.

  27. sanelisiwe says

    hey , I am an African female from south Africa , 32 years of age and I’m a qualified k9 explosive handler , I would like to be deployed anywhere in the world where I can work and make a difference . I have worked in the south African police for 10 years
    hope to hear from you soon
    thank you

  28. Mohammad zahir says

    Dear Sir,

    A confident, self motivated individual with a well developed ability to plan, organize resources as well as people. Excellent communication skills and the ability to interact with people at all levels in and out of an organization, together with the awareness about one’s social responsibility make me a good candidate for any job with social responsibility and oriented towards improvement of people’s lot and prosperity.

    I would highly appreciate the opportunity to meet you. I really look forward to having the opening of an interview. I have all that I have enclosed in my resume. I assure you that you won’t be sorry for giving me a chance.
    Looking forward to your attention, Yours faithfully,

    Mohammad Zahir “Saidy

  29. Charles Fred Nangabo says

    Am seeking for the work of k9 handler, am a Ugandan i have worked with dogs for some time in Iraq and Afghanistan where i have been for years, so i hope i can mange to work with Dnycorp as a company to.
    Thank faithful
    C F Nangabo

  30. kaddu tonny says

    am seeking for work of EDD handler , am Ugandan I have worked with dogs for 5 years in pinnacle security company services LLc. where I have been for 6 years now. so I hope I can work with Dnycrop as a company. thank faithful. k. Tonny

  31. jimmy says

    good day my name is loenyg jimmy mpedi
    I’m looking for job as a dog handler instrutor or above trainer dog hantler.

  32. Felly Kabuka says

    Hello,Here is Mr Felly Kabuka, Congolese by nationality from Democragic Republic of the Congo.I have been worked with MECHEM DEMINING 4years as an Assistant MDD Handler,but nowadays I am under Dynasafe MineTech working as an EDD Handler from last year in Somalia(Mogadishu)By the way,I’ld like to improve that career by working with the company like yours.In case of any opportunities,I am available e-mail me.I’ll appreciate to have yoir e-amil.

  33. kumar khadka says

    I am a EDD handler and Team Leader living in Nepal.I have been in the Afghanistan,South Sudan and Seirra Leone,I also have experience as a Kennel Master. I have a Military and Law Enforcement background. Seeking employment in High Risk Zones as a K9 handler. I am available immediately.

  34. Mohammad Zahir says

    Hello Dear,

    I 16 years Experience worked mine action So there more problems About Family Relationship I did not have Family relationship people please Just you can help Me.
    Just you tell me what to do for You
    thank You Again Appreciate your patience
    I had been worked for NUMACCA projects about 7 Years & EODT 3 Years & EMCPA 2 Years & Sterling 3 Years like Officer and Supervisor

  35. Pieter Basson says

    Ive worked for AMK9 for 4 years as an explosive dog handler in Afghanistan. U am desperately looking for another contract and i am immediately available.

  36. kato laban says

    am kato Laban Ugandan by nationality ,i have been handler for 6years in Afghanistan,south Africa in dynasafe ,i attended dynasafe dog school in Pretoria ,and i worked with amk9 in Kabul and worked with Uganda police in Uganda as assistant trainer.looking for a job with your company ,iwill be grateful am considered ,yours at your services kato Laban

  37. Robert onyango says

    Dear Sir/Madam.
    I’m a Kennel Master,seniour EDD and security dog handler for over 17years experience at managerial level, worked with Global risk strategies iraq, Babylon Gates iraq/Abu ghrab,Reed Inc.,Saracen Uganda and BRZ/African Skies Ltd in Uganda.
    I’m available,
    Robert onyango.

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