Military Dogs

Military dogs are amazing dogs. The chance to serve in the United States armed forces isn’t an option for every human, let along every dog. While a few might be lucky to ask to be joined, for the most part people are handpicked to be in the Army, Air Force or even Marines.

Johny, a military working dog crouches down while running through a swinging pipe at the obedience course on Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. (U.S. Air Force photo/Greg L. Davis)

Believe it or not, military dogs are also hand picked canines, but few dogs actually make the cut of being the best. Those canines who do survive training and find the perfect handler are elite military dogs that are trusted just like other soldiers.

Before these four legged soldiers go out and protect America, they find themselves at home. The dogs are required to be temporarily adopted by individuals and families to learn basic commands and skills. You know, things that pets in everyday households know.

The dogs picked to possibly be military dogs learn to sit, stay and hand signs. They also are given plenty of exercise and encouraged to be socialized with other dogs and people as much as possible.

How Do they pick the perfect Military Dog?

The perfect military dog is about having a canine that is the right temperament and training the animal to be good at their job. The military spends thousands of dollars on every dog with the military looking for the perfect four legged soldier. At any point during the training or when in the field, if a military dog makes an error or appears unwilling to follow commands, they could be decommissioned. This means that the dogs are trained extensively and there are people that work with the animals to bring out the best qualities of the creature.

A perfect military dog isn’t afraid, always is alert about the surroundings and will obey all commands of his handler at all times. This last part is extremely important. A dog has to be reliable for every aspect of the job. If a handler makes a decision, a dog must obey, no matter the circumstance.

After rigorous training, spending hours of work on a potential military dog and having the animal bond with a soldier, the perfect military dog is one animal of approximately 50 picked out for the job. Those animals that don’t make the cut are adopted by humans who love the dog just the way it is. Even if the dog isn’t fit for a four legged soldier.

Who Decides Military dog Names?

Ever wonder who decides military dog’s name? It’s quite surprising to learn military dogs might not be named by the military. The names of four legged soldiers typically are decided up by the breeders. The military uses the name of the canine. Yet in printed material the number appointed to the creature is generally utilized to identify the military dog.

There have been some bizarre names of pooches throughout the years, yet every creature loves to hear their handler say their names. The working group that meets up, both puppy and human, likewise secures a moniker. That is a secondary name the military dog knows by heart. This name is ordinarily utilized when at work and when the canine hears the name of the group they know they are on obligation.

What Kind of Military dog breeds are most Popular?

The popular military dog breeds are mostly based on the physical attributes to a canine. There are different breeds trained to be in the military, but the criteria is as important as the job. The type of dog used depends on what they are being used for and how the personality traits fits into the needs of the performance.

Common military dog breeds used includes German Shepherds, Dutch Shepherds and Belgian Malinois. All three breeds are very loyal dogs and smart. Additionally the dogs are extremely physical agile and perfect for any situation that might needs speed or immediate response.

Some other breed used in the military include Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers and Chesapeake Bay Retrievers. Today, the military has defined what breeds they feel is best in the field as the needs of human soldiers have changed. It would not be surprising to see a dog breed outside of the listed above breeds, if the dog had above average skills and a strong dog handler to support the canine.

What is Military Dog Handler Training?

Military dog training starts before the puppy starts the program. Whatever dog that is chosen first lives with a family and basic needs are met. Looking to socialize and surround the dog with life like a regular dog, a foster family typically volunteers for the first year (or less) at their home. Once the animal is housebroken, it’s ready to start training at the military base.

Returning to the military base, the dog is evaluated and tested. The preparation for the actual training is extremely important to make sure the dog can stand the physical stress of the job. Also the emotional concerns of the job too. Using different elements, the dog is tested to see how they react in different situations, personality traits and understanding how the dog responds.

What Type Military Dog Training is Required Before Going out to Work?

On a regular basis, dogs are rejected from the training program before even really getting started. These dogs either don’t meet the physical or emotional requirements or have some other situation. This means the dog needs a new home immediately. If a dog isn’t going to be in the program to be trained, the animal is adopted out to a private citizen or given to someone who will take care of the animal.

If the dogs pass the tests, it’s time for the training to begin. Basic training of learning commands, understanding words and how to act are the beginning focus for a military dog. It doesn’t matter if the dog is heading to the desert or going to the mountains, the dog must know what is expected. All dogs, no matter where they go, must be willing to follow the commands of their human counterparts, no matter what. If the dog is signaled to bark and circle an intruder, the dog must follow the command until the military dog trainer tells the military dog to stop.

The pairing of the military dog handler with the canine is next. The situation, similar to a couple requires both human and dog to be on the same page in every activity. As difficult as it might be to learn from a new human, the handlers must learn tell signs from the dog too. While the process is difficult, most military dog handlers can read dogs and react to them with ease after a short period of time.

When working with humans, four legged soldiers get a special reward for every task they do correctly. Whether it is searching for a smell or hearing a noise in the distance, a treat or toy is presented to the dog every time the animal does something appropriately. Called positive reinforcement training, the dogs quickly learn that when they correctly do something that their trainer or human handler told them to do, they get a treat.

Another aspect of the training is after the actual field focus training. On the field, a dog looks forward to time with their human friend where the two can bond and hang out without all the worry of work.

What is the Highest Military Rank Achieved by a Military Dog?

An intriguing bit of history incorporates the topic of what is the most astounding military rank accomplished by a pooch. Yep, people want to know what is the highest Military rank achieved by a dog? The Smithsonian Institution suggests Stubby, a designed canine in World War I with this respect in a show. As indicated by an onsite display, the military dog had a said rank and after help in a battle, the dog was offered a promotion.. This exceptional circumstance has numerous individuals paying tribute to this creature and all the assistance offered in the war.

Arek is a military working dog deployed to Kyrgyzstan. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Carolyn Viss)

Ever wondering about the military rank of an animal? Everyone in the military starts at the bottom and works their way up the ranks of the service. For military working dogs, once the training is complete they are assigned a rank. An interesting fact about the dogs is they always rank one above their handler. This tradition was originally started years ago as an honor to the dog who dedicates their lives to the service and it continues today.

How Much do Military Dogs get Paid? What About Military Dog Handler?

How much do military working dogs get paid? It’s a weird question that really has an easy answer. Dogs that serve in the military don’t get paid money, but they do get a lot of dog treats, dog toys and belly rubs from their handlers.

Different than a dog that lives at home, military dogs know they have a special job and are willing to get busy working. The dogs are well taken care of by their handlers so they know dog food, toys and a place to sleep will be provided. Which is why some people believe that the food, water and attention for the animals is considered payment for the military dogs.

As you might expect, the human who is part of the military dog’s life does get paid. A military dog handler can be paid up to 90,000 a year, depending on skill, seniority and other attributes. Of course, the military decides on the wages, but it’s a career choice that thousands of people are interesting in pursuing as it helps our country, it’s a special bond with dogs and it’s very unique.

Military Dog Handlers: Who is Qualified for this Job?

Military Dog Handlers who work with military dogs are exceptionally prepared people who cherish creatures, know the duties that the team must complete and offer the military dog the day-to-day safe environment needed. The handlers are paid by the military to work as a team with the canine. An salary for this job ranges from $37,000 to $90,000 depending on skill and seniority.

Knowing how a military dog should act and offering the canine a safe situation is the handler’s first focus. Cooperating as a group, the human and the dog must have the capacity to comprehend singular prompts at work find a way to relax after work and even have the chance to play ball (when needed.)

The similarity between the military dog handlers and the military dog is critical. Combined up like a couple, the trust must be built up. Securing that both the human and canine will be one unit at all times.

Where are Military dogs Jobs Located?

For the most part, the dogs trained for working in the military call San Antonio, Texas home. The squadron that does the majority of the work with dogs is called the Military Working Dog Training Squadron at Lackland Air Force Base.

Military Dog Uniforms

A military dog uniform varies from what part of the branch of the armed services. Plus what the job of the military dog is currently doing.  As you might imagine your pet in clothes wandering around the house, the military dog uniforms protect on patrol. Helmets, goggles and other important pieces of the outfit are used to keep the animal safe.
You might have heard of the air force dog harness. It’s one of the most common items known to the public. In fact, some military harnesses are strong enough to lower the dog, connected to the military dog handler down from helicopters.

Other Pieces of the Military Dog Uniform

The canine boots are used to keep the paws warm in extreme weather locations. Canine vests, complete with reinforced sides also can be part of a uniform. Specializing in light gear but focusing on a safe dog, the military dog uniform on the field is very specific.

Ceremonial Military Dog Uniform

A ceremonial military dog uniform is very different than what is found on base. Looking sharp and showcasing any awards, a dog typically has limited clothing. The collar or harness would be decorated with any accomplishments presented to the canine or the military unit.

Military Dog Retirement: Are You looking to Adopt?

Yes, military working dogs retire. After working on the military bases around the world, these smart dogs spend some of their life comfortably enjoying life. This is when military dog can be considered for adoption.

Perfect military dogs

Typically, a dog will retire after the handler or veterinarian decides that the animal has slowed down. Just like humans, their bodies change and they need to go slower or aren’t as adaptable as younger animals. Every animal is different, but this happens roughly around the seven to ten year mark.

When the time comes to retire, the four legged soldier is ready to start a new life. Military dor retirement means a human steps up to take care of the animal. You might be surprised to learn that most canines retire with their former military dog handlers. The bond is already there and it’s a privilege for the handler.

Those dogs that don’t adopt could be given a second career.  Police departments around the country use retired military dogs for safety concerns. Search and rescue departments use military dogs to help people in distress.

The third option for Military Dog retirement is adoption to a family. Many people welcome these hard working animals into their homes to live a comfortable and quiet life.

Military Dog Adoption: What You Need to Know

Military Dog Adoptions are a little bit different than your typical local animal shelter adoption. The military dog you might bring home has been raised differently. It might be on high alert most of the time. It is an extremely loyal pet. As most people know, military dog adoption is first offered to people within the military program. Priority goes to the military dog handlers that work with the animals.

There are waiting lists to adopt an animal and people are encouraged to sign up. It just might take a while to find your perfect match as there is so much interest. Additionally, a military dog adoption does have a few requirements. The new owner needs to pay transportation to get the animal home. Plus offer adequate space for the military dog to live.

There are a number of military dog adoption programs currently looking to sign people up. Definitely consider your options to make the difference in one of these four legged soldiers. Living out their last days enjoying life is a gift that’s priceless.