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    Bite training at Bondsteel

    Bite training at Bondsteel

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Melissa Parrish | Sgt. Earl Thomas, a military working dog handler, with 525th Military Police...... read more read more

    CAMP BONDSTEEL, KOSOVO

    01.15.2015

    Story by Sgt. Melissa Parrish 

    KFOR Regional Command East

    CAMP BONDSTEEL, Kosovo – Wide eyes peered over the kennel fence and a tail wagged back and forth in excitement as Hundi geared up for his daily bite training.

    The two military working dog handlers each arrived with their assigned canine and began training their dogs daily in bite training at Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo.

    Bite training is a simulated controlled attack with the canines and their handlers. One of the handlers acts as the decoy and places a wrap on their arm. They then simulate a situation in which the handler or the canine would be in harms way.

    “The bite training is done daily so that they stay proficient,” said Sgt. Earl Thomas, a military working dog handler with 525th Military Police Detachment out of Wiesbaden, Germany. “I take care of him and keep him trained and he keeps me safe.”

    His partner is Staff Sgt. Lex, a 4-year-old German shepherd, whose rambunctious personality fits with Thomas’s style.

    Even though they train daily, there is also time for treats and playing fetch.

    “It’s so important for handlers to bond with their dogs,” said Thomas. “The bonding began day one with Lex. I’ve been with him for a little over a year and we are a good match.”

    If the handlers were in a situation where the dogs would need to attack, they want to ensure that their dogs not only attack on command but also release the bite grip of the suspect on command.

    Pfc. Cindy Ortiz, a military working dog handler with the 100th Military Working Dog Detachment stationed at Miesau, Germany, is on her first deployment with her partner Spc. Hundi, a 3-year-old German shepherd, who is of a larger stature compared to her small frame.

    “Hundi is huge,” said Ortiz as she laughed. “I got the biggest dog in the kennel the day we were assigned to each other.”

    Hundi ran through the five phases of the bite training without a hitch.

    On Ortiz’s command, Hundi ran towards Thomas and attacked the wrap on his arm. He began to swing his arm back and forth, and when Ortiz gave the “Hault” command Hundi released his grip.

    “He’s a good partner,” said Ortiz. “We go through these phases with them and we try to trick them or throw them off to see if they will do something different but they are just really smart, and they do what they are told.”

    Bite training is just one of the drills the handlers perform weekly. Lex and Hundi are also certified in explosive detection.

    “They are explosive detection dogs as well as patrol dogs and they are trained to detect several different types of explosives,” said Ortiz.

    Lex and Hundi train often to maintain a 95 percent accuracy rate on their proficiency.

    “These dogs are well trained and ready for whatever mission comes our way,” said Thomas. “These are our partners, they have our backs and we have theirs.”

    Thomas and Ortiz are currently assigned to Multinational Battle Group-East as part of Kosovo Force 19.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 01.15.2015
    Date Posted: 01.15.2015 11:54
    Story ID: 152052
    Location: CAMP BONDSTEEL, ZZ 
    Hometown: BRONX, NY, US
    Hometown: LORTON, VA, US

    Web Views: 105
    Downloads: 2

    PUBLIC DOMAIN