The Transportation Security Administration — or TSA — employs more than 1,000 explosives detection canine teams at any given time. But before they’re deployed to one of the many mass-transit sites across the United States, they must graduate from the TSA National Explosives Detection Canine Program. Insider spent a day with the program at the TSA Canine Training Center, located at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, to see how the TSA trains both dogs and handlers.

The dogs receive 24 to 32 weeks of training and work in a variety of environments, including mock aircraft and airport terminals. Trainers use classical conditioning to teach the dogs to search for odors from explosive materials. After six to eight weeks of training, the dogs are paired with a handler, whom they’ll finish the course and graduate with. Roughly 90% of all canine teams graduate from the course.

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What TSA Airport Dogs Go Through In Explosives Training | Boot Camp

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