Lying still and remaining in one spot for 10 minutes is a hard task for most people but even harder if you are a highly sensitive and keen crime-fighting canine.

But police dog Mist obeyed the instruction from her Northland-based handler Constable Elyse Lewis and after completing other testing obedience tasks the duo collected the Commissioner's Challenge Cup at the NZ Police Patrol and Detector Dogs Championships, near Upper Hutt, Wellington.

The combination were impressive in their first outing at the championships and finished second overall after three days of fierce competition.

The top two finish meant they have qualified to represent New Zealand in a transtasman challenge against Australian police dog teams next month.

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Mike Clement presents Constable Elyse Lewis and dog Mist with the Commissioner's Challenge Cup for topping the obedience section of the national championships. Photo/ NZ Police Association
Mike Clement presents Constable Elyse Lewis and dog Mist with the Commissioner's Challenge Cup for topping the obedience section of the national championships. Photo/ NZ Police Association

Lewis was only the second female police dog handler to compete at the National Championship level after finishing second at a qualifying event between Northland and Auckland handlers earlier this year.

"I found the competition very challenging and it really pushed me outside my comfort zone and tested my pressure levels," Lewis said.

"I'm real proud of Mist as the competition is real hard for the dogs as well. In training we reward the dog but when you are at nationals it's very serious and formal and there's no praise."

The obedience tasks also included Lewis standing 30m from Mist and getting her to respond to verbal and hand signals. There were also some agility tests.

"It shows the control you have over the dog."

Their second place was the culmination of many hours training in between sniffing out criminals on the beat in Northland.

"We were training every day in the lead-up and focused on three or four things, keeping it pretty short so Mist didn't get bored."

They also spent three days training with their Auckland counterparts.

A chance to represent New Zealand will mean more training but it's a challenge Lewis will relish.

The combo's success comes after they were awarded the Erridge Cup - an accolade for best-performing rookie dog and handler in the country during their first year of service in January this year.

The Erridge Cup is only awarded when there is an officer worthy of the trophy and is not handed out every year.

Dog Section supervisors around the country submit nominations for the award, with the selection made by supervisors and senior dog training staff at their yearly conference.

Lewis is only the fifth female dog handler in the history of New Zealand Police and one of two currently working in New Zealand. She spent nine years as a frontline officer in Whangārei before chasing her dream of becoming a dog handler.

The duo became operational in November 2015, working initially in Dunedin as part of the Southern District before transferring home to Whangarei in 2016 where Lewis created history becoming the region's first female dog handler.