Archive for Military Working Dogs
This interview, from msnbc.com, explains how the military working dog puppy breeding program works and the canine boot camp the puppies go through.
“Follow the incredible story of the US Marine war dog platoons of WWIIwhen marine commanders were willing to try anything, including using dogs to sniff out hidden enemy. But nobody anticipated just how effective they would be against the enemy and how important they would become to their handlers.”
Call them War Dogs, K-9s, Military Police dogs, or Hell Hounds.
By any name, they are an important part of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Recently the dogs brought along their handlers and put on a demonstration aboard Al Asad Air Base in Iraq’s Al Anbar Province.
Meet Diva, Rex and Bach.
Produced by Randy Garsee.
by Patrick Desmond
37th Training Wing Public Affairs
6/18/2009 – LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas (AFNS) — After three weeks, the newest member of the 37th Force Support Squadron Airman and Family Readiness Flight knows her way around the three-story building and often bounds through open doors on surprise visits.
Aamee, a four-month old Belgian Malinois, is the first puppy to be fostered by a unit at Lackland through the military working dog foster program.
Sharon Witter and Master Sgt. Don Friemel, both with the 37th Force Support Squadron, go over paperwork while Aamee plays with a tennis ball. The Airman and Family Readiness Flight is fostering Aamee, exposing her to a variety of social settings, and caring for her until she is ready for military working dog training. (U.S. Air Force photo/Robbin Cresswell)
The foster program socializes potential working dogs to different people and environments to prepare them for a life of various handlers and locations. Aamee has been with the flight on a pilot test since May 1.
Sharon Witter, Airman and Family Readiness Flight chief, said it provides a different work atmosphere.
“It is a stress reliever, I think, for everybody,” she said. “We definitely have to communicate more. You can’t just leave her alone.”
When broaching the program’s pilot test of unit care, Ms. Witter, a dog lover with two of her own, admitted she likes to do things a little differently and jumped at the chance to support the program.
“When I started thinking about doing this for the office, I saw it as a win-win for everyone involved,” she said. “The puppy gets the attention and socialization, and the Department of Defense puppy foster program wins. Eventually they will go do their job as a military working dog. They are just military working puppies right now.”
The deciding factor was the ability to split responsibility between Ms. Witter, Master Sgts. Jason Hohenstreiter and Don Friemel, both assigned to the Readiness Flight, with the program’s option for joint custody.
“(Adopting a puppy) can be a really big undertaking,” Sergeant Hohenstreiter said. “Being able to take a break works out better for everybody, especially for the dog. Then the dog is getting all the attention it needs and is not becoming a burden.”
Aamee, knows her way around the building, but she is getting to know the base as well. She’s gone to commander’s call, Veterans in the Classroom training and the Skylark Bowling Center.
“People love the visits,” Ms. Witter said. “The puppy draws a crowd. We don’t have to say ‘Hey, here, look! It’s the puppy!’ The more visibility we provide her, the more people see her and the more people understand the program and ask about it.”
The foster program requires constant puppy supervision and specific guidelines for care.
“You are trying to prepare the dog for training,” Sergeant Hohenstreiter said. “You are getting it ready for school, almost like pre-K; you just want to help them develop the skills that are going to help them succeed.”
Ms. Witter said the large kennel whether in the office or at home, is the puppy’s main base so she gets accustomed to living in tight quarters.
“She has to eat and sleep in her crate,” she said. “That’s her home whether it’s in my house or in Iraq. They want her to be comfortable in that adjustment.”
Even playtime is more about building motor skills than having fun. Sergeant Hohenstreiter said playing fetch has rules; too, you never pull the tennis ball out of her mouth.
Describing tug-o-war, Ms. Witter added, “Puppy always wins.”
Though caring for Aamee is demanding of time and patience, Ms. Witter said she’s looking at the big picture.
“One day she might save a life; that’s what these puppies are eventually trained to do in Iraq, Afghanistan or even an airport,” she said. “When I see the grown dogs doing their thing, I’m just amazed and in awe of how they do it. Now, to be a part of how they develop and how they get there, it’s just a good feeling.”
Aamee returns to the military working dog program in August to undergo patrol or drug and explosive detection training.
Batavia native trains to be military dog handler
By Air Force Staff Sgt. Jessica Switzer Joint Hometown News ServiceSaturday, June 20, 2009 6:19 AM EDT
Dog handlers wait with their dogs before participating in a series of tests determining the handler’s control on a working environment at the Military Working Dog Hospital at the Department of Defense Military Working Dog Center, Lackland AFB, Texas. (Photo by Michael Tolzmann)
But for the son of a Batavia couple, all he can think about as the 80-pound animal leaps toward his arm is making sure the dog gets a good bite.
Air Force Senior Airman Joseph Teresi, son of Joseph and Mary Beth Teresi of Lewiston Road, is a student military working dog handler with the 341st Training Squadron, the largest canine training center of its kind in the world.
Air Force Senior Airman Joseph Teresi, a Batavia native, is a student military working dog handler. He is learning to become a handler at the Department of Defense Military Working Dog center at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. (Photo by Senior Airman Christopher Griffin)
The Department of Defense Military Working Dog Center has courses that train both new dogs and new handlers to work together as sentries and bomb and drug sniffers. The human students spend 11 weeks working with veteran dogs learning how to control and understand their future canine partners. The new dogs work with veteran handlers to learn patrol work and to recognize the scents of drugs and explosives and the behaviors that will tell their handlers they’ve found something.
A military working dog attacks a handler on command at the Department of Defense Military Working Dog Center, Lackland AFB, Texas. Military working dogs are taught deterrence and how to protect their handler. (Photo by Senior Airman Christopher Griffin)
“I work with a dog every day and put in long hours of dog training and grooming,” said Teresi, a 2006 graduate of Notre Dame High School. “I also conduct police patrols with my four-legged partner.”
Working with canines is a completely different military experience.
“It doesn’t matter how badly a day is going or how long I’ve been working, when I look down my leash there’s always a tail wagging,” said Teresi. “A dog doesn’t care about the bad; he’s there by your side. He becomes a four-legged best friend.”
Military working dogs bark as handlers walk by the kennels at the Department of Defense Military Working Dog Center, Lackland AFB, Texas. (Photo by Senior Airman Christopher Griffin)
Human students at the school learn the basics of their future partners including safety procedures, managing health, the gear they will be using, general record keeping for the animals and the principles of behavioral conditioning.
Then they begin to work with the dogs, learning basic obedience commands, how to control the animals, procedures for patrolling and searching an area and how to keep a working dog in top form.
A military working dog handler instructs his dog to detect explosives around vehicles at the Department of Defense Military Working Dog Center, Lackland AFB, Texas. (Photo by Senior Airman Christopher Griffin)
“Military working dogs are a vital resource unmatched by any piece of equipment,” said Teresi, who has been in the Air Force for three years and has been deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa. “Sure, some day a machine may be able to smell a bomb, but it will never have a heart or the will to keep going.”
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Story by Deborah silliman Wolfe
LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. – Luke Air Force Base 56th Security Forces Squadron members had a chance to share some of their military policing skills with members of the Kazakhstan Ministry of Defense and Arizona National Guard who visited here Monday.
“State National Guard Bureaus have coordinated with foreign nations in a state partnership program which was started at the end of the Cold War when the Soviet Union fell apart,” said Maj. Andrew Chilcoat, Air National Guard 162nd Fighter Wing bilateral affairs officer for the state partnership program who currently works in the U.S. Embassy in Astana, Kazakhstan. “Arizona has partnered with Kazakhstan for more than ten years. We usually do 20 events every year, bringing officers from Kazakhstan to Arizona, or taking ANG members to Kazakhstan.”
Capt. Bill Karlage, 856th Military Police Company AANG, Flagstaff, explained that because of limited assets at his detachment in Prescott, it was necessary to come to Luke to demonstrate some training that would be beneficial to the Kazakhstan visitors.
“One of my missions is law and order, but I do not have a lot of patrol cars,” he said. “I don’t have the dogs, and I don’t have the law and order proficiency for a traffic stop. We are more of a combat type mission focusing on area security, maneuverability, mobility operations and police intelligence in Iraq and Afghanistan. Here domestically, it is great to have a Defense Department installation such as Luke to bring their assets to this type of training.”
While many Luke security forces members frequently team with other services to perform “outside the wire” combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, the visit was an excellent opportunity to showcase security forces home station duties.
Tech. Sgt. Warren, 56th SFS non-commissioned officer in-charge of the military working dog section, headed up the effort at Luke to ensure the Kazakhstanis were able to see and participate in certain local training scenarios.
“We were happy to help,” he said. “This is the first time we’ve done this here and I’m very excited to share our experience.”
Warren, who recently served a year with the Army working with a provincial reconstruction team training Afghan police, escorted the visitors around base, starting with a brief at 56th SFS headquarters.
Col. Andre Curry, 56th Mission Support Group commander greeted the visitors. After Curry’s remarks, Maj. Michael Borders, 56th SFS commander, briefed the group and led a question and answer session after which the group headed to the kennels where the military dog handlers led the K-9s in demonstrating their skills. Following the kennel, the group practiced their baton skills and witnessed how Luke security forces would handle a high-risk traffic stop.
Members of the Kazakhstan ministry of defense appreciated their time at Luke.
“It is very important and very helpful, I think, for both sides,” Justice Col. Timur Dandebayev Kazakhstan ministry of defense, said. “For us it is very important because we learn something new from your experienced personnel, especially about the dog training and military police forces. There are lots of points which we can commonly use in cooperation and in terms of the partnership for peace missions.”