​027 473 1486
027 431 6225

About Us

Our people

New Zealand Detector Dogs have the most highly qualified and trained staff in the private sector of NZ.  Our staff have long and proven backgrounds as professional dog handlers and trainers from New Zealand's leading government agencies - Police and MAF Biosecurity (MPI).  

Not only are our handlers amongst the best in the country, but most are qualified, recognised trainers in their specific fields.  Our experience has given us a wide reaching depth of knowledge, covering drug detection, biosecurity, Police dogs, explosive detection, drug screening, drug testing and detecting drugs in the workplace. Our drug dog teams are one of the most effective solutions to drug detection and deterrence available. Screening at our international borders and ports has to be at the highest possible level and our extensive experience has given us the reputation as being the leading service provider of detector dogs in the private sector of New Zealand.

Experience and knowledge is vital as detector dog handlers are considered to be 'expert witnesses' and need to have documented and proven backgrounds to support any legal, employment or procedural proceedings which may occur as a result of a dog indication.  Our wide range of experience is not only in providing highly trained K9 teams for the purpose of drug, explosives or biosecurity detection, but we also have extensive knowledge in the training and certification of specialist detector dogs, detector dog breeding and sourcing and also the programme development and management of specialist scent detector dogs which has been acknowledged at international and ministerial level.

In addition to our vast and wide ranging dog handling experience our handlers are also qualified collectors for urine drug screening, and have completed advanced training in managing drug and alcohol issues in the workplace.

Our handlers are recognised experts with Police and government backgrounds who have extensive experience in law enforcement, border protection and managing any issues they may detect in your workplace and can give expert guidance at every step of the process. 

Our Drug and Explosive  handlers are dedicated to getting the best out of our K9's and provide our clients with the highest level of service and advice regarding how to manage the risks we detect in their organisation.  Our level of expertise is second to none in the private enterprise of NZ.


Meet the team:  

Janet Williams - Managing Director (Drug Dog Handler/Trainer North Island)

Janet’s background is as a detector dog handler, senior handler, Canine Operations Supervisor and Airport Team Manager responsible for the Biosecurity Detector Dog teams from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry that covered all the major international airports across New Zealand protecting our borders from 1997 – 2009.

Janet was responsible for the selection, training, deployment, proficiency testing and operational management of up to 21 passive response dog teams across New Zealand at any one time. She developed and wrote the MAF Biosecurity Detector Dog Training Manual while also designing and implementing most of the current training, competency, validation testing and deployment processes by which New Zealand’s Biosecurity dogs are operated under today. Janet was also the Project Manager running the MAF Breeding Enhancement Programme which involved collaboration between NZ and the UK for the specialist breeding of the Biosecurity Detector Dogs.  The MAF Biosecurity Detector Dog Programme is now recognised as a world leader in Biosecurity detector dogs.

Janet also developed New Zealand’s first Paua Detector Dog Programme in a Government Inter-agency agreement between MAF and the Ministry of Fisheries with specialist dogs trained to detect illegally gathered and smuggled paua.  This initiative was recognised at Ministerial level and acknowledged as having a major impact in reducing the levels of a valuable natural resource being smuggled at our international borders.

NZ Detector Dogs Handler Janet with Zara next to Company vehicle

Due to Janet’s achievements her services for training, consulting and establishing new detector dog teams and programmes are highly sought after both nationally and internationally by overseas government and private establishments.  Janet has attended numerous overseas conferences as a subject matter expert in specialist detector dogs in Australia, UK, Italy, USA and has extensive experience in specialist detector dog breeding programmes.

In 1996, through Massey University Janet completed the Veterinary Science Extramural Paper ‘Principles of Canine Behaviour’, passing with an A grade.

Janet also spent 13 years in the New Zealand Police, working in Incident cars, Crime Control Unit, Recruiting, Diplomatic & Witness Protection Squad, Eagle Helicopter Air crew member and was a qualified Police Intelligence Analyst.  Janet received a number of commendations and recommendations for commendations during her Police career.

"Janet developed, reviewed and updated the entire training documentation of the MAF Detector Dog Programme.  Apart from the enormity of the task, the end result is a true asset to MAF.

Janet's range of expertise in canine operations spans a wide spectrum, encompassing breeding and training through to validation systems.  It is unusual to have this breadth of knowledge and experience in one person."

Jeff Trevella, National Manager MAF Quarantine Service.


Sarah Dyer- Drug Dog Handler/Trainer- North Island

Sarah joins NZ Detector Dogs as NZ's most experienced handler/trainer of Biosecurity Detector Dogs.

From 2001-2015 Sarah has worked and trained specialist detector dogs for the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI).  In her time at MPI she was responsible for the sourcing, selection, training and wellbeing of MPI's Detector Dogs - ensuring their care and training was of the highest standards.

Sarah was also responsible for the Initial training of new handlers, monitoring and evaluating the field performance of the Biosecurity dog teams across NZ and the planning, managing and development of training for the dog teams to ensure they were operating to a high level of proficiency.

As a qualified assessor she also carried out the Validation testing of dog teams for both government and private enterprises.

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Sarah has also competed in agility and obedience disciplines getting to Senior in agility and Test A in Obedience at National Levels.

She has completed the Veterinary Sciences Extramural paper "Principles of Canine Behaviour" through Massey University and is also attended the Animal and Technology & Veterinary Nursing course at UNITEC and qualified as a Vet Nurse with Credit.

Scott Williams - Dog Handler/Canine Training

Scott was a member of the NZ Police for over 31 years.  Twenty one of those years being a NZ Police Dog handler and Regional Training Sergeant in the Auckland Police Dog Section.

During his 21 years of Police Dog handling experience Scott trained and worked five General Purpose patrol dogs and also, served on the Armed Offenders Squad as a dog handler.  In 2008 Scott was promoted to the Regional Training Sergeant on the Auckland Dog Section and was responsible for the training and operational performance of the patrol dogs and handlers.  His responsibilities included the training of new handlers, training new dogs and the retraining of experienced dog teams ensuring all operational aspects of Police dog handling were up to the national standards.

Scott has also carried out training as a drug dog handler and  In 1996, through Massey University  completed the Veterinary Science Extramural Paper ‘Principles of Canine Behaviour’. 

In 2004 Scott was awarded a NZ Police Silver Merit Award for the apprehension of a dangerous armed offender in the act of committing an armed kidnapping of a female victim.

Scott Luke-82-493-633-836
Wayne Pitcaithly - General Manager (Drug Dog Handler South Island)

Wayne was a member of the New Zealand Police for 23 years. 15 years of this time he served as a dog handler having trained and worked three operational General Purpose Police dogs. Wayne also served for a similar time on the Armed Offender's Squad, some of this time as a AOS dog handler and as a Team Leader .

In 2005 he successfully completed the Veterinary Sciences Extramural paper "Principles of Canine Behaviour" through Massey University.

After working in the Solomon Islands he was promoted to Sergeant, supervising a section of front-line police officers before taking up the role of Alcohol Harm Reduction Officer which involved training, giving advice, ensuring compliance and prosecuting people involved in the liquor industry.

“His contribution to section is outstanding and is reflected in the results this year of being the top performing handler in the Dunedin Police Dog Section.” (Sergeant Miller) NZ Police

"Wayne is an excellent 2 I/C who ensures the Dunedin Police Dog Section is run effectively in my absence, and he takes the responsibility of being in the position seriously. He has the potential to fulfill the role as a Police Dog Section NCO. He has effectively planned and run dog section training days and exercises. He continues to take opportunities to upskill himself and advance his skills to further his career within the dog section." (Sergeant Bolt) NZ Police

Wayne was one of the original founding handlers of NZ Detector Dogs, running the South Island for over 4 years.

In 2014 Wayne left NZ Detector Dogs for 2.5 years to be closer to family, in that time he worked in the building industry as a sales consultant. He now rejoins the NZDDS team to carry on with the work and clients he established and is looking forward to touching base with everyone again.

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About us

As the leading service provider of specialist drug detector dogs we have put our wide ranging skills together to provide  clients with highly trained K9 's for the purpose of drug and explosives detection.

Latest news

Our dog teams have featured regularly in the media in programmes such as Dog Squad, Coast Watch and in numerous publications.

Contact us

027 473 1486 - Janet
027 431 6225 - Wayne
We welcome your enquiries!

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