Today is Veterans’ day. It is a time to remember those who serve our country or have served our country during the course of their lives. We all appreciate the sacrifices and courage of these brave men and women but it is also important to remember the thousands of working military dogs in the service of our fighting forces.
These fearless canines, along with their loving handlers from every branch of the armed forces, are helping to safeguard military bases and operations and sniff out dangerous bombs and other explosive devices before they can harm our service members. They are able to make good use of their enhanced sense of smell to detect trouble and alert their handlers.
At the same time, these brave companions also have the ability to inflict fear in a potential aggressor in a way that a human cannot and will faithfully defend their colleagues when trouble arises. This allows them to act as a psychological deterrent to would be attackers and help keep the threat level to our own soldiers down.
Many of the working dogs within the U.S. military are German and Dutch Shepherds and Belgian Malinois. These breeds are chosen because of their high level of intelligence, their undying loyalty, and their athletic abilities. These factors make them well suited for the rigorous demands that military missions require.
Dogs have been used in military capacities since the days of the Roman Empire. Our country has used them since the Revolutionary War in various capacities. During World War I dogs were relied upon for companionship and to keep trenches free of rats and vermin. The largest surge in military working dogs was witnessed in World War II where the U.S. military deployed more than 10,000 specially trained canines to help guard encampments and bases, but they also were relied upon to aid in scouting, sending communications, and detecting hidden mines.
In our modern times, a few hundred military working dogs are currently serving with U.S. forces in Afghanistan and Iraq as patrol dogs and explosives and drug detectors. Nearly 2,000 more provide similar services at U.S. bases and operating posts worldwide. These numbers are increasing all the time. After September 11, 2001 the number of dogs being trained for military service has more than doubled.
Each military working dog goes through a detailed training process in order to ensure their safety and ability to perform. This 120 day program teaches the canines basic obedience skills as well as a more advanced curriculum for sniffing out trouble. This training is based on a positive reward system which incorporates a ball or some other toy as opposed to food. The specialists in this field have determined that food only works as a training tool for so long but what the dogs really crave is play time and one-on-one attention.
After they go through this initial training stage, the dogs and their specific handlers spend some time getting to know each other, bonding, and working as a team. It takes a certain amount of familiarity for a handler to be able to interpret exactly what their canine partner is attempting to tell them. Eventually they become very close and are able to perform with high levels of precision and safety.
||Dogs have always been in important part of the U.S. Armed Forces and it is important that we remember and appreciate what they have done for our country as well. Our thanks goes out to all the men and women who have so valiantly served in our military. We are very thankful for everything they have done and continue to do. We also send a special “Thank you” out today to all the military working dogs who serve and help protect these members of each branch of service.
|Russ Barker is very proud of all our service members, past and present, on this Veteran's day. Russ is a talented copy writer and blogger for DogTagArt.com, a family of pet enthusiasts that have constructed a website that focuses on pet safety with a good bit of style thrown in. They create fully personalized pet ID tags which give customers the option of showing off their creativity. These high-quality custom dog tags are sure to not only make a statement but ensure that pets are protected.