SOTO CANO AIR BASE, Honduras –
Joint Security Forces' military working dog handlers performed bomb and drug detection training here in order to keep the MWDs proficient Sept 5.
U.S. Navy Master at Arms Chief Petty Officer Jeremy Aldrich, the JSF kennel master, walked throughout the post's motor pull and placed various drug and bomb scented objects inside of vehicles, trailers and various other containers as U.S. Navy Master at Arms-3 Class Petty Officer Francisco Cota, JSF dog handler, kept the Belgian Malinois and German Sheppard away from the area of detection.
"Military working dogs have been used since World War II, as they were used as sentries to deter any type of criminal activity on installations," said Aldrich. "Since we utilize our dogs for detection and patrol purposes we are required to train them between four and six hours a week, but we generally exceed this requirement."
"There are some large breeds of MWD, but don't let them fool you, even though they can be 85-90 pounds, they are still fast and agile," he added.
Patrol dog teams can be used not only for routine patrol duties, but also for intruder detection, tracking and at observation posts.
"No matter, which branch someone's in, we are all trained at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland," said Cota. "Before I received a dog, our instructors gave us empty ammo cans, which had a leash attached to it. We had to pretend it was our dog and perform facing movements as they watched to ensure we were doing them correctly."
"It's awesome to see the dogs grow as they are training," he added. "That's the most satisfying part for me is working with the dogs and improving them every day. As you work with the dog you begin to pick up on certain clues such as some dogs will point their ears when they find something and others will rapidly swing their tail."
The average military working dog serves for about eight to 10 years before they are retired. If someone would like to adopt a MWD they can visit http://www.militaryworkingdogadoptions.com/.