Drugs cannot hide from the nose.

No human has the nose to find drugs like highly trained ZeroStone drug detector dogs. It's the easy, no mess “straight to the scent” way to conduct a search. Our latest star is Stone. Stone is trained in drug detection by Matt MacDougall our nationally renowned Dog Handler. Stone has a nose like no other, and a real enthusiasm for the work. Both highly qualified, he and Matt are a leading team.

ZeroStone Investigations offer a drug Detector Dog service because although drug testing has its valuable place, it can only go so far. Methamphetamine type drugs for example leave the body quickly - a problem could be missed by staff testing alone. Stone’s recent evaluation (a stringent independent assessment we do each year) shows he is a top dog. A top dog delivers a top result... because his expertly trained nose never lies.


Nose Fact: Dogs possess up to 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses, compared to about six million in humans. The part of a dog’s brain that is devoted to analysing smells is, proportionally speaking, 40 times greater than ours.

Seek. Sniff. Find.

Stone is trained to sniff out the tiniest residues. Different manufacturing processes and ingredients can affect drug odours, and our training methods and training aides ensure that these subtle variances are no barrier to their location and detection. Our training aides consist of real live samples as well as chemically formulated aides imported from the United States. If there are any of these illicit drugs stashed on your property we’ll find them.

Stone is a dog with an expertly trained nose. However, it’s the tight loyal bond that is nurtured between dog and handler that is crucial to the high standard of our service. Read more about this relationship and the whole team here.

The areas we search

A ZeroStone Drug Detector dog search is an investment in the safety and well-being of your business, school or organisation. We search all kinds of buildings, installations, plants and machinery in the South Island and beyond.

What if we find something? View our discretion policies here.

Private Positive Outcomes

The best outcome is to identify the absence of drugs. Then we can help you maintain that with on-going compliance monitoring.

A Reliable Solution

Our illegal Drug problem in New Zealand is very real. NZ has among the highest drug abuse rates in the world – particularly with amphetamine-group substances. Our stance is a positive one: making sure our drug detector dogs service is an efficient and powerful deterrent.

Reducing Risk

Many businesses have obligations under the Health and Safety Act 2015 or Worksafe’s PCBU (Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking) requirements. We can help manage that compliance simply. Drug awareness education is another tool we offer – one that is particularly important in schools.

Reducing Cost

Staff working under the influence of drugs or bringing drugs to the workplace is costly both in human and productivity terms. In any situation – factory, school, home or business – our service is all about positive outcomes for people’s lives.

Integrity & Clarity

Why should you conduct a search?

Proactive drug deterrence keeps your people safe. If there is someone selling, stashing, or using illicit drugs on your premises, the simple presence of a drug detector dog, once or twice a year, will make them think twice.

What if we find something?                                

We have police backgrounds, but are private providers offering you specialist tools. That means our services are not about crime detection or bringing charges. If we do find drugs we enable clients to take the drugs to the police. Or we provide a service to take the drugs to the police. The Report we provide after the search should provide enough evidence for employment proceedings if that is the route you choose to take. We also offer an expert witness service if required. Many choose to make private interventions that can turn around a person’s life.

What about legal considerations?

We will carefully answer all your questions about the service, potential outcomes, and any legal considerations before we start. We know how the law applies to allowing our detector dogs into a workplace or private home and can advise you fully about that. Our police background has taught us, to act with integrity in all things, and communicate with clarity.

Absolute Discretion.
Minimal Intrusion.

Why should you conduct a search?

Our private drug Detector Dog service is all about keeping people, workplaces, and communities safe – and maintaining confidentiality while helping you with your responsibilities in that role. We do so with minimal intrusion and respect your privacy. Our service can lead to helpful early interventions for people with drug problems. The interventions you wish to make are your private choice. As ex-policemen we are well practised at providing guidance, holding secrets and treating everyone with respect. “We are a division of ZeroStone Investigations so taking care to be discreet comes naturally. Our former police background also gave Matt and me the strong desire to serve the best we can in all respects.  Mike Lawson, Director

The Team

ZeroStone Detector Dog Ltd is a Blenheim locally owned and operated business. It is co-owned by Mike Lawson and Matt MacDougall. They have much more in common than their love of rugby and desire to serve the community. They are both ex-policemen who have been nationally recognised for their excellent contributions. Mike is a former NZ Police Detective who spent the majority of his 24 years in the Police working on a Drug Task Force. Matt MacDougall is our expert Dog Handler with over 10 years of NZ Police and Dog Handling experience - both as a General Purpose Dog Handler and with the Armed Offenders Squad. German Shepherd “Stone” is our star performer under the expert guidance of Matt.

Matt MacDougall

I love watching Stone on the job. Especially seeing him get results no human could get in a short time frame. Matt


Dogs like Stone don't happen very often. Stone is a “natural.” Already at a young age he is doing what most dogs take years to achieve. He has a happy drive to do his work - more than any police dog I’ve seen. Matt

Mike Lawson

Matt and I really take pride in the quality of our ZeroStone Detector Dog service. We will be welcoming new dog “Luka” for Matt to train very shortly. Mike

Dog Handler

Matt MacDougall

Dog Handler Matt MacDougall, who is also a Director of the business with Mike Lawson, has 10 years of experience in Police Service in Tasman and Canterbury. During his time as a General Purpose and Armed Offenders Squad (AOS) Dog Handler he won awards for his exceptional work. 2013 - Received Canterbury Dog Section Trainee of the Year for his work with AOS Patrol Dog, Jag. Most Patrol Dogs graduate around the 2 year old (or older) mark, but Matt managed to graduate with Jag when he was just 14 months old. 2014 - Awarded the Erridge Cup. Best Performing Dog Team Nationally in their first Year Operational. 2017 - South Island Dog Trials - 1st Place. During his Police career Matt, and the dogs he has trained, have tracked and apprehended hundreds of offenders and located numerous amounts of property and drugs. Matt brings his dedication and love of the work to our ZeroStone Detector Dog service. He has already built an awesome bond with Stone. The way he builds the training relationship with dogs seems to bring out their best early – like his Patrol Dog Jag. “It is a massive commitment becoming a handler and detector dog team. It’s much more than the searches. It’s many hours of constant ongoing training and exercise to always be ready for action – and keep to the highest standard for yearly independent valuation. It’s awesome to feel the loyalty between us strengthen all the time.”

Drug Dog


Matt describes Stone as a breath of fresh air. He is proving to be an extraordinary dog with an excellent nose. Stone passed his recent evaluation (2020) with flying colours, a great achievement for a young one year old dog. “Having a new dog and taking on the challenge of bonding and training them to be a drug detector is huge. But the rewards are huge too. Seeing them rise to that and get results no human can get is amazing.” Matt and Stone have a special bond, so necessary in this profession. Stone works hard and seems to relish it. Stone also has a loving, enthusiastic and loyal personality. As Matt says, “no matter what day he has had he always wants be with you.” The fantastic thing about dogs is they do not lie. A highly trained nose like Stone’s does not miss a thing. With Matt and Stone on the job, you can expect a 100% success rate. If there are drugs to be found, you can rely on Stone to find them.


Mike Lawson

Mike Lawson retired from the NZ Police in August 2016, after 24 years service. He spent 17 years working as an Investigator and Detective, including eight years specifically targeting serious methamphetamine and drug dealing syndicates in Marlborough, Tasman and around New Zealand. He has a wealth of experience in serious crime investigation, including homicide, violence, sexual abuse, dishonesty, fraud and drug offending. He has prepared many investigations for District and High Court hearings receiving commendations for his work in this area. This kind of senior Policing experience ensures empathy and discretion, and the management skills to handle intense situations.  These abilities are perfect for ZeroStone’s work in both their Investigations division and Detector Dog division. Mike brings many talents to the business. As well as having “hands on” experience policing and examining the methamphetamine criminal underworld, he developed an innovative Telephone Analysis System. This is now being used extensively through the Tasman, Canterbury and Southern Police Districts. You can read more about this on www.ZeroStone.co.nz “The focus with our ZeroStone Detector Dog service is safety in the workplace, and helping people achieve that. It’s different work to policing and more often leads to positive interventions rather than criminal proceedings. Matt and I love it (and Stone!) because to serve is what we are all about.”

The Process

ZeroStone Detector Dog offers the only private Detector Dog service in the top of the South Island. We are located in Blenheim and can travel anywhere in the country. As dog searches act as a powerful deterrent, regular searches once or twice a year is highly recommended. The chart below shows you what to expect.

Stone and Matt in Action

Expert marker training teaches the Detector Dog to zero in quickly on a scent trail, then point out the location to their handler, either by sitting or lying down or staring at the drug find. Matt marks completion with the word “YES” and Stone knows its reward time! For Stone the best reward is playing with Matt enjoying a tug of war with a ball.

Contact us for more information or to organise a meeting or site visit.

We are located in Blenheim and service all of the South Island. However, we will work throughout the North Island under arrangement.