Joint Base Langley-Eustis

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Military working dogs bite into joint training

By Airman 1st Class Kaylee Dubois | 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs | August 02, 2017


Canine handlers from local police departments joined the 3rd Military Police Detachment for military working dog training at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, July 24-27, 2017.

The detachment brought in a Florida-based agency that trains police and military working dogs all over the world. The team taught the detachment along with their Newport News, Chesapeake and Virginia Beach, Virginia, guest different ways to engage their dogs with potential perpetrators.

U.S. Army Pvt. Levi Graham, 3rd MPD military working dog handler, said although biting a human is unnatural to dogs, one of the training’s goals was to teach the handlers to drive the dogs’ desire to bite a perpetrator, and not just training equipment.

With the safety of the handlers, trainers, dogs and even the perpetrators in mind, the working dog handlers donned tactical bite suits while practicing “decoy” development and canine bite-building techniques.  To better simulate real-world possibilities, the handlers also hid bite guards under different colored shirts to keep the dogs from associating the equipment with biting a perpetrator.

“We want the dog to react to the behaviors, not just a visual stimulus,” said Scott Clark, Florida-based agency head trainer. “We don’t want the dog equipment fixated; we want the dog focused on the true engagement of a person.”

Hoping to excite the dogs, the handlers shouted words of encouragement and made high-frequency sounds. During the dogs’ excited state, the handlers focused on enhancing their dog’s desire to bite, the strength of their bite and their drive forward through the bite.

According to Clark, working dogs give law enforcement officers an advantage when restraining a criminal, and can eliminate the need for officers to use a weapon.

“We want to prepare the dogs professionally and to their full capability to perform in the jobs that they do,” said Clark. “Teaching these fundamental skills, encouraging and developing the dog’s bite, is crucial for safety and tactical issues.”

U.S. Army Sgt. Richard McNully, 3rd MPD military working dog handler, said providing advanced training for the local police departments is mutually beneficial for both on- and off-post communities.

“We work heavily with the police in Hampton Roads, so the more training we get with them, the better we will work together to protect our community,” said McNully. “If we ever need the local police on post, or if they need us out in the community, we will have the relationship needed to work together.”

The working dogs are considered an advanced detection resource for both the military and local law enforcement departments. With their noses to the ground, the working dogs continue to support the safety and security of the Hampton Roads community.

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