Andersen's MWD handlers conduct advanced training
By Senior Airman Amanda Morris , 36th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published January 13, 2015
ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam-- --
Military working dog handlers from the 36th Security Forces Squadron recently conducted advanced decoy training at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam.
The training featured the use of tools like padded suit jackets, bite sleeves, hidden sleeves and multiple agitation tools such as whips and bamboo sticks to increase the agitation of the dogs and make them more aggressive toward the threat.
"We have had a lot of new guys come in and we are introducing them to new training and tools," said Staff Sgt. James Colip, 36th SFS MWD trainer supervisor. "This training makes the handlers better so they can make these dogs better."
Advanced decoy training helps the dogs as well as the trainers. The animals learn different catching methods while the decoys become more comfortable in typically uncomfortable situations, allowing them to get as close to the dogs as possible.
"This training enhanced my skills and taught me better ways to do my job and train these dogs," said Staff Sgt. Mario Rey, MWD handler. "This was my first time doing this kind of advanced training and I learned a lot today."
Training is non-stop; the handlers spend countless hours training with their dogs. Handlers are assigned to a specific dog and are typically paired by personality. In instances when the handler and dog cannot be paired by personality, the handler will reflect the dog's personality to build a bond.
"The newer dogs have a lot of quirks, they are puppies around a year and a half to two years old and they don't know the game," Colip said. "We have to be able to forecast them messing up and try to guide them in the right direction. Similar to having a new troop you want to put the animal in the right direction because it's going to shape the rest of their career."
Military working dogs are used for combat missions as well as government support missions whether it's local or global.
"Working with the MWDs is incredibly important; they provide a tool and a method of detection that no other tool on this base can do," Colip said. "No machine or person can do what these dogs can do so what they provide is very important."