Service Dogs For Military Members
Most service members have some kind of pet whether it is a cat, fish, gerbil, or mans best friend a dog. Many have pets to have as a companion, to stay active, and for some good entertainment. But many military members and first responders could benefit from having a service dog or therapy dog to help with physical and emotional issues caused from service. If youve ever thought dogs were an inferior animal or an unworthy pet, this article will change your mind forever.
Qualificationstraining And Duty Stations
Becoming a Military Working Dog Handler takes an individual with patience who is willing to go through advanced training.
Not only does an individual in this position learn how to train their dog, they learn how to provide care for the dog and they learn basic police functions.
To enter into this position, recruits will be required to achieve a 91 on the Skilled Technical ASVAB test.
You also must be able to get a Secret security clearance.
This means you must be a U.S. Citizen as in most instances, you cannot gain security clearance without being a U.S. Citizen.
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After completing all medical, physical and required placement testing/clearances, recruits will attend Basic Military Training for 10 weeks.
The AIT will be broken into two phases and cover how to care for, handle, and train a Military Working Dog.
First, during phase 1, MWD Handlers will complete on-the-job instruction covering police methods and proper dog handling techniques.
This 7-week phase will cover topics such as how to arrest and restrain subjects.
Second, MWD Handlers will be taught how to incorporate a Military Working Dog into the tools they learned from phase 1.
This 11-week phase will also consist of training your dog and providing first aid.
Helpful skills as an MOS 31K:
Only About 50% Of Dogs In The Mwd Program Make It Through Training
Dog noses save lives, but the dogs theyre attached to must also be absolutely obedient, disciplined, and loyal.
In addition, the dogs must be free of physical issues, such as hip dysplasia.
Today there are over 1,600 Military Working Canines working at US and Allied installations around the world.
MWD Rocky and handler Air Force Staff Sgt. Samantha Frydenlund aims at a target during a Top Dog competition at Joint Base Andrews, MD.
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The First Dog To Ever Earn Rank Was Sergeant Stubby
Sgt. Stubby was a brindle bull terrier mutt who served as the mascot for the 102nd infantry regiment in WW1.
Stubby served as a critical member of the 26th Yankee division, saving multiple soldiers from mustard gas attacks and helping the wounded in more than 17 battles.
In his most daring feat, Stubby caught a German soldier who had infiltrated US-controlled territory to map trench layouts and troop positions. In a flash, Stubby took the intruder by the leg, incapacitating the enemy combatant until US forces could arrive. For his heroism, Stubby was promoted to the rank of Sergeant.
Sergeant Stubby in his full regalia. Source: Public Domain
What Are The Different Types Of Working Dogs
Working dogs are able to perform dozens of very specialized tasks including search and rescue, cancer detection, sniffer dogs, herding, guarding, military K9, and more.
Indeed, it is a matter of great pleasure that humans are blessed to have such great companions. Working dogs are polyvalent enough to accompany in each step by either performing intelligent, physical tasks or providing psychological support. And all this is because of the different types of breeds and their uniqueness that are expressed in the dogs.
Here are some of the different working dogs and a quick look at the nature of work they are supposed to execute along with a few other related and relevant details, worth being aware of.
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Mwds Are Being Returned Home To The Us
In the past, military dogs were considered equipment and either left behind or euthanized when they were no longer able to work. This has changed. In 2000, Robbys Law was passed that facilitates the adoption of retired military working dogs by law enforcement agencies, former handlers of these dogs, and other persons capable of caring for these dogs. Save-A-Vet is one organization that helps find suitable homes for K-9 veterans.Another positive development is the passing of the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act . Previously handlers who wanted to bring a dog home after their tour duty was over could do so, but they had to pay for the transportation, which is very expensive. This act mandates the return of retiring military working dogs to U.S. soil and the first rights of adoption go to former handlers and their families. Visit the American Humane Association website for details on this important act.
Complete Military Police School
Tick all the eligibility requirements and apply for military police school. After
After nineteen weeks of standard courses, like military and civil law, policing strategies, reporting protocols, and civilian policing, you should be able to take advanced classes on military animal training. These will serve as your foundation. Acing all these will prepare you for tougher and more specialized training in the future.
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Dogs That Cannot Make The Cut As A K9 Working Dog
Not all dogs are fit for duty. Some dont have the discipline, some dont have the right sense of smell to detect bombs or drugs, and some arent socialized well enough. Other dogs may qualify but later get sick or hurt.
In the end, all of these animals must be provided good homes, which is one reason why there is a working dog adoption program operated in two different ways with the blessing of the DoD.
Quick Frequently Asked Questions
What MOS is a dog handler in the Army?
An Army Military Working Dog Handler is categorized as MOS 31K. The MOS 31 series MOS focus on law enforcement and includes military police, criminal investigations, and internment specialists.
How do I become a military dog handler?
To become a Military Working Dog Handler in the U.S. Army, youll need to score 91 or better on the Skilled Technical portion of the ASVAB. Youll also need to be a U.S. citizen and obtain a Secret security clearance.
How long is training for military dog handlers?
An Army Military Working Dog Handler has 10 weeks of Basic, then 17 weeks of Advanced Individual Training. Training includes how to care, handle, and train your dog as well as first aid and working with your dog.
Do Army dog handlers see combat?
Army Military Working Dogs are frequently trained for combat support in tracking and patrol. Working dogs will also check routes for potential threats when deployed, and some are employed for detecting explosives as well.
Do military dog handlers get to keep their dogs?
On deployment, Army dog handlers will always bunk with their dog. However, after returning home, the working dog must stay on base in the kennel. About 90 percent of military working dogs are adopted by handlers when they retire.
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They Do It All For The Kong
War dogs are selected for military service based in part on their love of a ball or a Kong dog toy, which can be hidden to simulate a bomb or drugs. A military working dog has to really, really want the Kong in order to be selected because this reward is going to be part of their paycheck for years to come .
The dogs love of the Kong is absolutely crucial in motivating the animal to work as hard as it needs to in order to save lives in combat.
How To Train Military Dogs
This article was co-authored by . Mark Garcia is a Certified Dog Training Specialist and the Founder of Rosewood K9 based in Los Angeles, California. Mark specializes in dog training, boarding, and day care services. He uses scientifically proven methods for dog training that includes behavior and obedience training, confidence building, structured leadership, and positive puppy training. This article has been viewed 5,528 times.
Military Working Dogs are some of the best-trained canines in the world, but theres no great secret to how theyre trained. Military Working Dog Handlers train dogs using most of the same techniques as civilian dog trainers, so the instruction they give to specially-selected MWDs can also work with your pup at home. Alternatively, if youre interested in becoming a MWDH yourself, its worth taking the time to check out some of the basic requirements for the role.
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Military Working Dog History
Dogs have been involved in armed forces almost as long as people have been. The Romans, Greeks and Egyptians are all recorded to have used the four-legged friends in battle. It is only since World War II that the U.S. military has formally recorded dogs as part of the force but theyve been informally used in the U.S. since the Revolutionary War.
Sniffer Dogs Used For Detection Are Usually Sporting Dog Breeds
Dogs have a literally superhuman sense of smell, with ten to twenty times the number of receptors on their nose. With little or no wind, a dog has the ability to detect intruders using its senses of smell and hearing.
Many military working dogs are trained for one purpose: sniffing out explosives or narcotics, but not both.
Dogs dont need to be close to detect a bomb or IED inside a vehicleoften dogs can signal a bombs presence from 50 feet away. By doing so, these heroic dogs can approach and search an object, without putting handlers or fellow soldiers in harms way.
Dog breeds used for sniffing and odor detection are usually sporting breeds such as Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and Chesapeake Bay Retrievers. However, Poodles and Jack Russell Terriers are also commonly enlisted for their excellent noses.
MWD Aci with handler Rachel Higuera during detection training.
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Military Working Dog Adoption Tips
Facts You May Not Know About Military Dogs
Military dogs have a long history, especially in the United States and Europe. Military dog breeds have always been to war with US soldiers, however, they only started getting the recognition they deserved during World War II. It was during that war that military officers recognized the value they bring to the camp, and they were honored for that.
Most military dog breeds are bred in Germany and the Netherlands. The bloodlines here date back hundreds of years. These canines were born for the job in these countries. In recent times, the United States is using more military dogs that are bred in the United States.
Only about 50% of military dogs make it through training. They are trained rigorously and taught several survival skills. This is critical for dogs in the SEAL team especially. These breeds are saddled with difficult assignments, so they are ready for anything beyond what their natural abilities are. Not all dogs pass the test.
Military dog breeds can also suffer from PTSD. It is common for human soldiers to suffer from PTSD when they leave active service. The same goes for the military dog. Wars can lead to emotional trauma, and for some, it can be overwhelming. Military dogs have been known to mourn when their handlers die. As the handlers too mourn when their dogs die. The pairing of a handler and dog is for the long-term, both get emotionally connected. There is a strong loyalty between them.
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Over 90% Of Retired Mwds Are Adopted By Their Former Handlers
LCPL Jared Heine and his MWD Spike. The pair was separated when Heine was injured by an IED in 2011 but three years later, they were reunited. When a MWD retires, the canines handler is given the option to adopt.
If the handler is unable or unwilling to take the animal in, the Department of Defense helps the dogs find willing families, and between 2012-2014, the DoD adopted out 1,312 dogs to individuals and 252 to law enforcement agencies..
Icipate In Active Duty
Once a dog handler has completed basic and advanced training, they can begin active duty as an Army dog handler. From there, a dog handler can advance into higher ranks, but they are still responsible for the care and training of the service animal as they advance. Some dog handlers spend their entire military career with their companions.
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Official Status As Equipment
Even though war dogs do many things soldiers do, like jump out of airplanes, participate in combat, and save lives, theyre currently classified as equipment of the military, not canine members. Legislation has been proposed to change this, but so far it hasnt become law. Many trainers and handlers are very passionate about war dogs receiving due consideration as members of the armed forces and not as objects like desks or computers.
Despite their being classified as equipment, its been a long time since war dogs were treated like equipment. Many inhumane practices of the past have been discontinued, and today, war dogs are raised, respected, and cared for like the heroes they are.
Dogs Have Fought Alongside American Forces In Every Conflict Since The Revolutionary War But Only Officially Since Wwii
Although the practice of using dogs to augment military forces dates back to ancient Greece, no military in history has used them as extensively, or as effectively as the United States. Military service dogs have served in combat alongside US soldiers during every major conflict since the birth of the nation, but they were not officially recognized until World War II. Dogs were mostly used as message carriers and sentries during the first few conflicts but nowadays, theyre trained to perform a wide-range of highly-specialized tasks.
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Mental Health Service Dogs
One of the most important, but least talked about illnesses attacking our veterans are mental health problems. They are hard to see from simply looking at someone, their arm isnt broken and they arent in a wheelchair, but they still need help. Anyone suffering from PTSD, OCD, panic attacks, anxiety, or many other mental illnesses would benefit from having a mental health service dog. The dogs help in a number of ways by reminding their owner to take medication, reduce the feeling of being startled by someone coming up from behind them, and help during panic attacks. But, more importantly, they help mentally by creating a sense of security, are there 24/7, and create a sense of purpose, to only name a few.
Since September 11, 2001, over 400,000 veterans have separated with some type of hearing loss or ringing in the ears. This means service members may have a hard time hearing daily conversation but also have trouble hearing doorbells, smoke alarms, or their own baby crying. Animal rescuers will be happy to know that hearing dogs arent restricted to the typical service dog breed, like a Golden Retriever or German Shepard. Since all dogs have incredible hearing, the breed is less important. But, temperament and desire to work are still big factors in training and shouldnt be ignored.
Air Force K9 Dog Handler Careers
June 8, 2018 By admin
The program that deals with the Department of Defense Military working dog program is the United States Air Force. Air Force Dog handlers work with their canines to train and detect explosives, or find drugs in a number of different situations. There are over 1300 working Dog handler teams worldwide, and the working dogs from the other services Army, Navy, and Marine Corps have been through the Air Force Dog Handler Team program. The 341st Squadron is responsible for training Dog Handler Teams, and it is located at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.
Do You Like Working With Dogs?
Working as an Air Force K9 Dog handler involves working together with your assigned dog to train and learn how to perform the detection mission. On a single day as many as 108 different dogs may be working and training, with their handlers at the Air Force Base. Dogs are exposed to training regimes that teach both the dog and handler how to deal with different types of situations. There are two different types of Dog handler missions:
Civilian K9 Law Enforcement Jobs Abound Today!
Personnel, who are headed for training for handler complete basic training, then are assigned to the dog school for their technical school training. They are paired with a dog, and work to become a trained detection team.
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What Skills Do You Need To Be A Dog Handler
Some of the skill sets that you will need to become a military dog handler are patience, compassion, communication, and teamwork. On top of that, you need to possess fundamental military ethics, professionalism, and firearms knowledge.
There are military dog handlers in all branches, but the most common and sought-after position is the dog handler in the Army. That being said, we will focus on Army dog handler requirements in this article.