The Federal Government has announced a brand new live-in graduate program which will cater for more than 250 hopefuls aiming for careers in the law enforcement sector.
The graduates will be housed in a brand new, $25 million state-of-the-art facility designed specifically to produce the next generation of front-line border protection professionals.
According to the Minister for Home Affairs, Brendan O'Conner, facilities will include grassy open areas for play time, mock conveyer belts for sniffing, fake residential homes for exploring, a dedicated veterinarian centre and around 250 dog bowls.
And, in case you haven't guessed, acceptance into the program requires floppy ears, four paws, a wet nose and keen sense of smell.
"These puppies will one day be on the frontline of Australia's border protection and law enforcement. They are an important resource in keeping our nation safe," said O'Connor.
And unlike many graduate programs already in place around the country, the new Customs and Border Protection Detector Dog Program Facility in Melbourne will encourage breeding with colleagues, though this may be monitored to ensure the best possible outcomes.
"This state of the art centre will complement the world class work already being done to breed, train and deploy highly skilled detector dogs for law enforcement agencies," O'Connor said.
"By locating the breeding and training facilities in one place, Customs will be able to streamline its operations and provide the best quality care and training from each puppy's birth to its deployment into the workforce."
Labradors, who are the graduates of choice, can be trained to identify drugs, firearms, explosives and other restricted items and alert their handlers to the risk in a safe way, and the new centre is close to operational environments such as the airport.
It's also easily accessible to the more than 300 foster families who are currently caring for puppies by helping them to socialise in their first year of life.
The new centre is scheduled for completion in December this year and it is hoped that it will assist in combating a worldwide shortage of quality detector dogs.
"The program has now grown to become a world leader with nearly 2000 puppies being born since 1993," O'Connor said.
"I eagerly await seeing the puppies' new home and marking a new phase in this highly successful breeding and training program."
Like this story? Read more: