How Military Dogs Are Trained | Boot Camp | Business Insider

most of these dogs are very strong uh they will rip flush and some have strong enough miles that they can break bones this military working dog in training is practicing controlled aggression in a matter of months they'll be ready to be deployed to one of the many us military bases across the but globe they were powerful enough to bring down a full-grown human they started out like every other dog does it's kind of remarkable to say that there's any aspect of public security or national defense that relies on animals but it's the truth there are about 1600 military working dogs currently serving across every branch of the united states military and they all started here at lachlan air force base in san antonio texas insiders spent two days with the 341st training squadron observing both dogs and handlers at various stages of training however many we produce seems like we can never get military working dogs out fast enough to meet the demands of the department of defense because they're just such a vital asset to everything we do several hundred dogs are in training at any given time which takes about 120 days to complete and is split into two blocks of detection training and patrol training patrol training is teaching a dog how to essentially chase after a suspect that we're trying to apprehend who is uncooperative and controlling that dog and their aggression so it's a non-lethal or less than lethal option for military members that defend installations or secure installations to use and apprehend suspects good but before they learn to chase down a suspect the dogs have to perfect their obedience training good yes we want to have a good foundation and obedience because those commanded positions the sits and the downs they need to have those uh proficient before we can start asking for this in a higher level of stimulus so if i were to just tell her sit she's not there yet sit and i give her that she's able to do it yes so the way that we teach them is that they all do it in anticipation of a reward we give we use marker training where we end up saying yes when we can mark whatever behavior we want at the precise times so this is grid and she's a sweetheart she looks like an old lady she's not old i promise you i've been working with her maybe for about two weeks now so far right now i've been working stability with her where she's able to maintain position whenever i walk out to end a leash down good girl and then the part that i've been working recently sit good is getting her to sit from the down yes the dogs are also taught how to conquer the obstacle course or confidence course crawl you the general purpose is just getting them comfortable with going over certain obstacles so to simulate stuff when these guys go and work for police departments like we have one of the obstacles that simulates a window narrow areas going upstairs or over some sort of barrier to go and chase down a suspect once the dogs have a solid foundation and obedience training they're ready to move on to the controlled aggression phase of patrol training teaching a dog to show aggression especially when it's on demand it starts with this dog's breeding this dog's background coming from parents for generations that were bred to be this type of dog the department of defense uses breeds like belgian malnois dutch shepherds and german shepherds that are between one and three years old we're looking for a well-balanced environmentally sound dog that does not have issues for fearfulness or timothy we're looking for a strong confident dog that also likes to use its nose for hunting we're looking for a confident bull dog that's willing to bite and defend its handler if need be roughly 400 dogs are purchased for the program every year mainly from europe the rest come from the department's breeding program at lackland we started the program in 1998 it's basically a contingency plan the idea is that since we obtained the vast majority of our dogs overseas something might happen to interrupt our supply of military working dogs so in 1998 we began this rather small scale breeding program to establish an organic ability on our own to breed and develop military working dogs [Music] the program rears the puppies until they're six weeks old at which point they're fostered out to homes in the local community until they're seven months old seven months is the first age at which i can apply a test to the puppies and determine whether or not they are good material as military working dogs that their behavior expressed at that time predicts how they're going to behave as adults puppies that meet the program's standards are brought back to lackland to prepare for the military working dog course this is what we would call the beginning stages of controlled aggression where our dogs are taught how to apprehend people a lot of it's instinctual it's based mainly on prey drive a dog's natural instinct is to chase him and grab stuff so we play off off of their drives the puppies are tested one final time when they reach one year old and 30 to 50 ultimately enter the military working dog course every year where they'll continue to build on skills like controlled aggression what we're training for is the situation where a military working dog handler in the field would have to apprehend a suspect using a military working dog what we train we call it the six phases and initially we do the field interview which is when someone approaches the dog and it shows that the dog can be stable maintain position and you know not attack just any random person that comes up to talk to you and then we move into the running bite or the pursuit and attack so this is a bite sleeve basically it's just a tool that we use to teach the dogs how to bite a target area i.e the arm this sleeve has a little bit of leather and some foam on the inside and then on the outside like the burlaps to cover it so these ones provide a lot of protection this this one you really don't feel much they're biting more of the material than you're actually arm if you feel anything it's more just a slight pressure most of these dogs are very strong they will rip flush and some have strong enough miles that they can break bones obviously if you're running and the dog is chasing after you full speed and jumps up grabs a hold of the arm takes you to the ground there's a whole lot of other injuries that may come along with that but any of those options i would argue are still better than lethal force or even some other less than lethal options that we have to offer the dogs are also trained to stand down from an attack if they're called off by their handler the capping of that drive is the hardest part because you're putting their favorite thing in the world and you're saying don't touch this finally the dogs are trained to maintain position while their handler pats down the suspect and be ready to attack if the suspect makes any sudden or aggressive movements when the dog is coming at me i definitely feel an adrenaline rush i've done a lot of like extreme sports and i would definitely say catching dogs is when my adrenaline is at an all-time high you're the field find them patrol training also includes scouting exercises where dogs are taught to search for a suspect both in a building and in the woods what you got mama the way that odor works is if he's the source right there the way the scent will come out is kind of like a giant cone so you'll start to see the dog's bracket get big to smaller to smaller to smaller or smaller then she gets boom source and from there it's on us to say hey you found them give that challenge and also give the suspect the last chance to give up per se if not we send the dog in you're the fifth come out right save my dog get him the dog's ability to search for and locate ascent out in the field is honed during the first block of their training which is focused on detection using training aids filled with trace elements of explosive materials or narcotics the dogs are trained to detect an array of odors trainers utilize classical conditioning to hone each dog's natural detection capabilities the dogs we observed were between one and two years old it's all about pairing an odor with a reward system so the dog relates this reward with that odor and of course to do that the dog has to have value for the reward so no matter what if it thinks i'm hiding that ball it's going to search and search and search until it finds that ball and it's just pairing of the odor on top of that through repetition the dogs learn that finding a source of odor means they'll get rewarded with their toy once a dog forms that association between the odor and their toy they're ready to move on to the next step in their training [Music] this room is filled with boxes containing either nothing a novelty odor or the odor the dogs are trained to find that it's basic form uh order it dissipates so the dog is picking it up at its weakest area and it's following it to its strongest point and they're going to bracket it back and forth and follow where odor is until they finally get to the source when the dog finds the source of the odor they're trained to give a final response going into a sit or down position eventually they're going to have to work as a team with their handler and the handler is going to have to see that change of behavior so if the dog were to move it's going to be harder for the handler to make that determination that odor is actually there once the dogs are proficient in searching for odors in the box room they move on to larger environments including vehicle parking lots and warehouses bronco check our voices are one of the most important things that we can utilize in order to persuade ask or tell the dog what it is that we need them to do when we first make a presentation on order we're trying to kind of ask the dog to come there so hey check here check here look here kind of that pitch of it's fun it's exciting come to me it's going to be more fun hey and then after that if they're still not coming towards us then we start kind of using more of that command voice that hey check check right here up here look here bronco check that's mainly those voices and it's just something that with experience it gets more and more fine-tuned to be that much more meaningful to the dog handlers are trained to look out for any behavioral changes in their dog that could indicate they've picked up on a scent aggressive response his change of behavior he'll do kind of like a head snap whenever he picks up odor he'll snap his head and he's very sporadic typically running around very hyper but he gets a little more focused when he gets on odor [Music] each dog learns differently just as each person has their own personality each dog has their own personality and just as if you're trying to teach school-age children or high school or even at the college level each person's gonna have something that they need different to understand the task i think maybe the the most common misconception is that a lot of these dogs do it because they're excited about doing it it's to them they get excited about work a lot of people think that these dogs are very aggressive and while that does happen we do get some aggressive dogs a lot of them are very friendly and they do want to play with their handlers and they're just normal dogs at the end of the day who want attention and care and dog would normally want from a human being they just understand that they've been taught certain behaviors that are played to them once the dogs complete their training they're evaluated in their detection and patrol capabilities roughly 90 percent of the dogs that enter the program will graduate and be deployed to one of the many u.s military bases around the world there's a huge sense of mission accomplishment and pride when these dogs get out i mean we're out here very early in the morning and sometimes super late in the afternoon and when you finally get to see these dogs qualify and you know that they're going to go out to a handler in the field and you know go on to a bigger mission there's there's a huge sense of pride there [Music] you

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