News: K9s hone their flight skills
Story by Sgt. Kelly Malone
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. – Several teams of military working dogs and their assigned Mine Detection Dog handlers with 49th Mine Detection Dog Detachment, 5th Engineer Battalion, 4th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, trained with the National Guard rotary-winged flight crew here in order to keep their dogs familiar with the demands of flight travel, Aug. 27.
“If on a real mission, as soon as we hit the ground we would begin searching the immediate area for any threats,” said Sgt. John Carbiener, Mine Detection Dog handler, with his partner, Hershey. “We search a lot of linear features like roads, hedge rows, and railroad tracks if they are in the area.”
Staff Sgt. John Bornhoeft, Mine Detection Dog handler, says the aspect of loading and unloading the aircraft has a significant impact on the dog.
Bornhoeft said the goal is to get the dogs familiar with helicopters, or rotary-winged aircraft. When loading and unloading the aircraft it’s good to see how the dogs are affected and how well they’re going to search or work afterward.
“They show nervousness or even growl because they get a little scared. Sometimes they’ll start shaking or tuck their tail and be really uncomfortable with the flight”, said Bornhoeft. “We need to know if they are going to get right back into the swing of things and start working or if they’re going to shut down and basically tell you ‘no I’m not doing that right now’.”
All dogs are going to react differently says Bornhoeft.
“My old dog, I’ve had her for 4 years, been working her and she still doesn’t like helicopters,” said Bornhoeft.
The unit conducted two flights.
“It’s good for her to get back in the air and good for her to get suited up, rolled out and ready to work, good continuation training,” said Carbiener of his partner, Hershey. “Plus I get paid work with a dog and what’s not to love about that?”