NEWS | Jan. 29, 2012

Man's best friends train to expose

By Capt. Candice Allen Joint Task Force-Bravo Public Affairs Office

Someone robs the Exchange and hides inside a building and with the crook barricaded in Joint Security Forces members are now forced to enter; however, not before the military working dog gets the first crack at the suspect.

Although this scenario has not happened, Joint Security Forces servicemembers and their military working dogs train here Jan. 7 just the same.

Three patrol German Shepherds - Jake, Chip and Oscar - searched rooms during building search training, which is a patrol certification requirement, to find the suspect.

"Each type of training we do is scenario-based," Master at Arms Chief Benjamin Cook, JSF Kennel Master, said. "During the training, we give commands that trigger the dog to know that he's doing patrol or detection."

During the training Jake, one of patrol dogs, clears each room before his handler, Master at Arms Seaman Dustin Tyler, enters the building performing tactical movements.

"Using tactical movements provides the officer coverage and concealment from the suspect that is hiding," Cook said. "It's safety for the officer."

Each canine trains on 10 different scenarios from patrol to detection every week.

"Training is both fun and challenging," Cook said. "We're always trying to train and prepare the dog to the next level. We can't focus solely on one task as the dog will become weaker in other tasks. So, it's a never-ending battle for perfection."

On average, each dog receives more than a hundred hours of training per month.

"I like my job," Tyler said. "I get to go to work every day and play with dogs."

The mission of the JSF canine unit is to deter any illegal activity, possible threats and conduct narcotic and explosive detection at Soto Cano Air Base.