Do you know what is military dog training and how it influenced the progress of warfare? Dogs who got military dog training is not like the regular training we are familiar with.
We all train our dogs to obey basic commands like “sit”, “come” or “heel” all these commands are considered as basic commands for dogs and we all know that, but did you ever think about what is the more advanced command training a dog could take?
Military dog training is considered to be one of the highest advanced training that a dog could take. Dogs participating in Warcraft is not a modern thing, in fact, in many ancient civilizations dogs were a part of the armies.
You can find records of military dogs back to before 600 BC. With time going by, new military dog training methods are used, thus, dogs start to participate in new and different troops in the military with new roles. In this article, you will know more about the evolution of military dog training and the roles of dogs in warfare.
Military Dog Training; How It Starts
The job of military dog training is given to a handler, this handler is responsible for the dog from the second he is chosen to be a military dog and goes with him on the journey to become one.
They first give the dog and the handler a week to get familiar with each other, they would hang together in the camp and do some basic exercise together until the dog is comfortable with his handler. When they get to the point that the dog is comfortable, the formal obedience training starts.
The first thing a dog will learn is to obey a command using both verbal and hand signal commands, along with working on restricting excessive barking. The final stage of the basic training is a week of demolition exercise, this kind of exercise is about exposing the dog for minor arm fire and explosive shells.
Not all dogs are fit for the role of being a military dog, between 1942 and 1945, about 19,000 dogs were brought to become military dogs, 45% of the patch failed to get across basic training.
Nowadays, military dog training has many different sections depending on the job the dog will take, here are some of the old and modern roles a military dog could take.
Military Dog Training; Pulling weapons
This is one of the old roles of military dogs, in Belgium and Holland dogs were used to pull the weapon carriages. This was in the 19th and early 20th century, dogs were used back this time to pull carriages with good and much stuff, so they thought why not to use them to pull warfare related stuff? They chose mastiffs, with their wide chest and strong legs they were a perfect choice for pulling.
A mastiff could pull a 200-pound carriage for a massive distance, they proved that they are so qualified that the Belgium force assigned 36 dogs for every battalion.
Military Dog Training; Attack Dogs
Attack dogs are used in ancient and modern times, in old times you would find a dog with armor, they were so brutal that a soldier with a sword won’t stop them, in fact, they even might kill him.
In modern days, attack dogs are usually trained to hold a defensive position. They won’t attack until they feel that their position is threatened, based on those dangerous situations, police use dogs to run after suspects and corner them to be taken to custody.
Dogs are trained to deal with a lot of situations, to halt different scenarios and how to perfectly handle them. German Shepherd is one of the best breeds that fit for this job, along with other breeds like Rottweilers and Dobermans as well.
Improvised Explosive Detection (IED)
Pentagon spent about 18$ million dollars on Improvised Explosive Detection (IED) and neutralization in the time between 2006 and 2012. A lot of soldiers used to die because of roadside bombs in Afganistan.
New expensive technologies were developed to assist in military dog training for improvising explosive detection, dogs went through much excessive training for that aim. Although marines were suspicious about this plan, dogs proved that they were qualified for such a role that the number of dogs sent to Iraq and Afganistan increased to be around 600 dogs in 2012 when they initially sent 13 trained Labrador retrievers in 2007.
Military Dog Training; Ambulance Dogs
Mercy dogs or Red Cross dogs were considered so important in World War I, they were trained to find wounded and injured soldiers and bring help for them. In WW1, when a soldier was wounded, he would hide in concealed spots that were hard for paramedics to find, for dogs, it was not that hard to find them.
Ambulance dogs tended to rely on their stunning natural traits to find those wounded soldiers by using their exceptional hearing and smelling sense, after finding a wounded soldier, they will alert their handlers to move those soldiers to the hospital.
French, British, Russian and many more used red cross dogs during wars as they proved to be of high benefits for saving a lot of soldiers lives.
The Brutal Act of Using Anti-Tank Dogs
Not all the services that dogs were used in were humane. Soviet forces used a vicious act that is called anti- dogs or mine dogs. Dogs were taken to be starved then they would put food for them under tanks so they grow a habit of looking for food under tanks when dogs get this method, they are starved again but this time with explosive material hooked on their backs.
Those unfortunate dogs are left to run for the German tanks to look for food as they used to, but due to a trigger on the explosive material on their backs, the explosives will blast leaving the dogs dead.
It is recorded that anti-tank dogs were successfully used in blowing up about 300 tanks. The withdraw of this horrendous act was because dogs will die in such an act, the dogs will just run away or in some cases, they used to run for the soviets tanks instead of the German tanks.
Military Dog Training; Para Dogs
Dogs jumping off planes with soldiers were seen in World War II, landing with the human troops gave the soldiers the immediate handing of those dogs. Para dogs help troops in guarding, going on patrol and finding mines. They are also of great help to early alerts for the troop of any upcoming danger approaching.
UK’s 13th Parachute Battalion had 5 para dogs in WWII, some of them made it for participating in Normandy and Rhines, most of these para dogs were German Shepherd.
Even in modern days, para dogs were used by many countries.
Military dog training has contributed to making both positive and negative effects; Dogs are used as para, mercy dogs, pulling dogs, scouts and many more important roles and in some cases, they were the victims of inhumane acts.
Do you think it is okay to use dogs in warfare? Is there any role you think dogs should contribute to? Share your thoughts with us!