Archive for dog handlers

Psychological Deterrents

Posted in dogs, Military Working Dogs with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 9, 2008 by wardogmarine

Finding explosives, chasing bad guys down, searching vehicles, and tracking suspects are just a few of the many tasks dog teams can be utilized for. But one of the most frequent uses of the dogs is their capablity to be a psychological deterrent. What that means is the mere presence of a working dog instantly provides a greater show of force and deters potential attacks. Would be attackers/suspects see the dogs at the gates, on patrols, and at checkpoints and think twice about approaching our troops. They know our dogs are capable of detecting them as well as their explosives and munitions.

The dogs also help keep curious onlookers and groups to stay back from the troops as they patrol because our dogs are very protective. They are a great source for crowd control and overall security for the troops patrolling. Many locals will often run up to the vehicles because of curiosity and eventually a small crowd will sometimes form around the troops. With the dogs present it allows the soldiers and Marines to control the crowd better, and allow our troops control who comes to them.

Soldiers and Marines patrol with heavy weapons and superior firepower, but for some reason the dog’s presence has an ability in inflict fear in a foe in a way a human can’t.  Demonstrations are often held on bases with Iraqi police, and other locals watching to show what the dogs are capable of doing in case a situation were to arise and the dog attacked. They see the fearlessness in the dog’s but more they see the loyalty they have to our soldiers and the whatever it takes ferociousness to keep them protected. 

This psychological presence is a simple function but, by far, one of the most used. Having a weapon that deters attacks before they even start is very powerful and in the end, saves lives. 


War Dog Article

Posted in Marine dog teams, Military Working Dogs, Working Dog News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 5, 2008 by wardogmarine
Dogs of War Play Key Role in Iraq

March 3, 2008 · About 1,000 of the military personnel who have served on the front lines of the war in Iraq look quite different from the rest. They are dogs.

Mostly Belgian Malinois and German shepherds, some Labrador retrievers and golden retrievers, these war canines are trained to take bullets for their comrades, detect roadside bombs and sniff out other dangers.

Lance Cpl. Justin Granado  and Jerry
Gloria Hillard, NPR
Parting with one’s dog is the hardest part of serving in the canine unit, says Lance Cpl. Justin Granado, pictured here with Jerry.

They typically serve the Department of Defense for 10 to 13 years, often with longer and more frequent deployments than their handlers. Three have been killed this time around in Iraq, and many more have been seriously wounded. Consequently, they sometimes need a little R and R. Camp Pendleton in southern California is where they get it.

“They deploy and they come back, that’s a rough time for them and they’re stressed out just the way we get stressed out,” explains Marine Sgt. Benjamin Maple, a trainer at Camp Pendleton’s canine unit. At his feet, “Corporal Jerry,” a Belgian Malinois, wags his tail.

Maple has been deployed to Iraq three times. He has seen a lot, he says, but when he talks about his other dog, Star, something changes in his eyes.

“I almost walked on an IED but he was ahead of me, he saved my life. He saved the lives of a couple Marines that were with me,” he says. “That dog has seen more combat, he puts me to shame. I actually named my daughter after him, I just had a baby girl and I got his name tattooed on my arm.”

Challenges of Dog Deployment

Dogs like Star are rotated from handler to handler throughout the years. The breaking of these well-established bonds is the toughest part of being in the canine unit, says Lance Cpl. Justin Granado.

“You come back, and they take you off that dog and put you with another dog, and you spend a lot of time and go through what you go through. It’s tough. He sleeps with you at night, and you do everything together. It’s like taking your best friend away,” he says.

Dogs are not new to battle. Four-legged soldiers and Marines have served the U.S. military in many capacities since World War I. The challenge in Iraq, however, is the weather. Blowing sand and scorching 130-degree heat take a toll on the dogs.

“It gets to the point where a lot of the ‘grunts’ help out,” Maple says. “You’re going on a 10-mile walking patrol, they’ll come up — ‘Hey, we’ll carry some water for your dog.’ ”

Sgt. Benjamin Maple and Arco 
Gloria Hillard, NPR
Sgt. Benjamin Maple visits Arco at the kennel. He served in Iraq with Arco for two years and says he hopes to adopt him one day.

Morale Boost

There is more than explosive-detecting practicality to the dog forces. Canines can be morale boosters, Maple says.

“It gives them some kind of remembrance of back home, their dog back home that they haven’t seen. And it makes them a little bit happier,” he says.

The grassy obstacle course of Camp Pendleton’s canine training unit is a far cry from Iraq or even Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, where the dogs undergo training.

Camp Pendleton is simply a peaceful intermediary. And soon the dogs — affectionately assigned ranks above those of their handlers — will return to Iraq.

Maple has a plan for 80-pound Arco, whom he served with in Iraq for two years. If and when the dog, currently recovering from an injury at Pendleton, makes it back from his next trip to the front lines, he says, he will bring the dog home.

If Arco comes up for adoption, as the dogs usually do, Maple says, “I’m going to be the first one calling: ‘Hey, I want that dog.’ ”

For original story go here:

War Dog Video Tributes

Posted in dogs, Military Working Dogs, Tribute Videos, working dogs with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 2, 2008 by wardogmarine

Here are some tribute videos sent to me. Enjoy.

Bite Work

Posted in dogs, Military Working Dogs, working dogs with tags , , , , , , , , on May 1, 2008 by wardogmarine

Imagine if your job was to let dogs bite you all day. As handlers we are trained to not only handle our working dogs but to also help train eachother’s. That includes decoying for each other to help our dog’s build their drive which in turn builds their confidence which makes them better working dogs. To some,  decoying looks easy, just stand there and let the dog bite you. Well a good decoy can take a dog’s confidence through the roof and turn a dog into a fantastic working dog. A bad decoy can create bad habits in a dog, hinder it’s confidence, injure a dog and even shut it down completely keeping it from developing it’s drive and confidence. Decoying is one of the most crucial and important aspects of developing the patrol certified working dog.

A decoy can use different kinds of gear to maximize a dog’s drive. There is the bite sleeve, the bite suit top which only covers the top half of the body, the bite suit bottom which covers your legs, hidden sleeves which decoys put under there clothing and much more. This gear protects the decoy from actually getting bit but from time to time some dogs are so powerful that their jaws will sometimes get through, or sometimes the gear has a small tear and a dog will get through.

Axel keeps a sharp eye on a “suspect” during aggression training Sept. 19 at a deployed location in Southwest Asia. Axel is a 386th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron military working dog. The military working dogs are trained several times a week to keep their skills sharp. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Tia Schroeder)

It can look dangerous but once you learn how to decoy it can be a lot of fun. In fact, there are people out there who are professional decoys where all they do is decoy for dogs. A good decoy is high in demand because they are as pivotal to developing the dog as the handler is. A bad decoy can not not only injure a dog but they can get injured as well.

When these dogs are released to attack the bite isn’t the biggest concern, it’s how hard the dog will hit the decoy, or the dog’s drive for the bite. Some dogs hit so hard that I have heard of shoulders being dislocated or some other injury take place. It can feel like you just got hit by a small train. It may sound dangerous but once you learn how to properly “catch” a dog it can be a lot of fun. Watching a dog come after you like a speedy bullet can be a rush for the decoy, but the biggest rush is for the dog about to get what he loves doing, the bite.

The goals are to maximize the dogs drive for the bite, teach it how to bite properly, and also bite when a real life situation presents itself. So if a handler needs to send his dog on a criminal, insurgent, or someone being unruly and the dog performs well, they can thank themselves as well as the decoys.

This video is a fantastic compilation of decoy work. The Israelis are known for having some of the most well trained working dogs in the world. In fact, they sent some of their expert trainers to train our military on new techniques they are using with dogs in combat because their dogs have been so effective. Here they show some of their abilities in decoying.

The video is long(7:59) but it has some great footage in terms of decoying. My personal favorite clips are at
:36, 4:12, 4:25, 5:19(leg bite), 7:05(dog flips), 7:34(slow motion leaping)