Military dogs learn a few new tricks in unfamiliar setting

| March 12, 2010 | 0 Comments

Story and Photo by
Sgt. Ricardo Branch
8th Theater Sustainment Command Public Affairs

HONOLULU — Soldiers of the 13th Military Police Detachment, 728th MPBattalion, 8th MP Brigade, let the dogs out recently, hoping to sharpen their canine pals’ abilities in detecting explosives and narcotics while working in unfamiliar territory.

The training, which involved man’s best friend and their handlers, was held Feb. 23 at the Honolulu International Airport.

Sgt. Jennifer Rader, dog handler, 13th Military Police Detachment, 728th MP Battalion, 8th MP Brigade, along with her dog Benny make their way up the stairs leading to a Boeing 747 aircraft during training Feb. 23, at the Honolulu International Airport. “We don’t typically do work in an airport,” said Staff Sgt. Marcus Faubus, kennel master, 13th MP Det. “There are other agencies, such as the Transportation Safety Administration or the Air Force, which handle the work at the airports. However, any new areas we train are beneficial to the dog and handler.”

Faubus added that dogs often work better when they are placed in foreign surroundings.

“The more different environments we can test our dogs, the easier it will be for them to adapt to any place we send them,” Faubus said. “We’re testing their abilities in explosive and narcotics detection, to help them become better downrange and anywhere they are needed.”

During the training, dogs and their handlers went down rows of suitcases and aircraft aisles, as well as within the lounges of terminals, in their quest to sniff out danger.

“This is good training,” Faubus said. “TSA does have the lead in the airport, but if there ever was a massive sweep of the airport, we’d respond (by helping) them.”

Sgt. Jennifer Rader, a dog handler with the 13th MP Det., called the training a great opportunity for novice handlers to teach their dogs a few new tricks.

“If a dog handler goes to Iraq, everything will be new to them,” Rader explained. “It’s good to put the handler in a new area to see how the dog will react in a new environment.

“Talking with some of the airport personnel also showed us where things were hidden in the past,” Rader continued, “and allowed us to teach our dogs (how) to search new things like airplane aisles.”

Rader, who worked alongside her loyal canine companion, Benny, took to the challenge with gusto. At one point, she sent Benny down an aisle, where he sniffed out his surroundings before finally coming to a stop near a seat in the middle of the plane.

There, a bomb was located.

“I think Benny and I did real well,” Rader said. “I tell all my Soldiers who are new to these environments, to cherish these opportunities to learn and grow as a team with your dog.”

Faubus added: “The environment has a lot to do to with how a dog searches. We don’t want to limit the areas our dogs can train and work in, so giving them more exposure will make it easier for them to adapt and overcome any situation”

As the day ended, the airport training gave Soldiers and their four-legged companions greater ability at finding, detecting, and stopping anyone with explosives or narcotics from causing any harm.

Category: News

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