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    Fort Hood's Annual Canine Certification Course

    Fort Hood's Annual Canine Certification Course

    Photo By Sgt. Whitney Woods | Spc. Andrew Brown, a canine handler assigned to the 226th Military Working Dog...... read more read more

    KILLEEN, TX, UNITED STATES

    08.27.2015

    Story by Sgt. Whitney Woods 

    4th Public Affairs Detachment

    Military police officers and their canine companions from various states gathered at the Robert Gray Airfield on West Fort Hood, Texas, Aug. 28, to certify their military working dogs for deployment.

    The military working dog certification course is a week-long event testing the dog’s ability to properly navigate through buildings and inspect areas in search of explosives and drug paraphernalia.

    Teams started testing on Monday, which allowed the canine’s time to correct any deficiencies or areas of concern by Friday, said Staff Sgt. William Morton, plans and operations non-commissioned officer for the 226th Military Working Dog Detachment, 89th Military Police Brigade at Fort Hood.

    The course started off with a quick observation of how the dog patrols in a field environment. At this time, the canine’s obedience is tested.

    “They have about five times to disobey the commands of the handler before they are disqualified during the obedience phase,” said Spc. Andrew Brown, canine handler assigned to the 226th MWD. “The rest of the week is dedicated to search and drug detection.”

    On the last day of the certification process each dog, is led by their handlers into three small rooms where they have to thoroughly search and seize anything that may be a possible threat. At any point the handlers have the authority to call “time”, and the certification process will be stopped. The handlers and their dogs have until the last day of the week to correct any deficiencies and successfully pass.
    The course is held annually on the installation, although for many of the canines, this was their time to re-certify.
    Brown attended to re-certify his four-year-old German shepherd, Rocky, which he received last year.

    “This course is always a wonderful experience,” said Brown. “The course allows handlers and dogs to build trust for one another, so that when it is time for a mission you can have confidence in the training provided.”

    Rocky passed the certification course last year, and if he passes this will be able to go with Brown during his deployment to Afghanistan next month.

    In a deployed environment, dog teams provide camp security by doing explosive detection at the entry control points. They also go out with other units and conducting roadway sweeps.

    Once a dog gets injured or is deemed too old, they must retire and the handlers who have worked with them have the option of adopting them.

    “Adoptions happen a lot with military working dog handlers,” said Brown. “I would adopt Rocky in a heartbeat.”
    The course not only measures the dog’s ability to detect explosives, but also the threat of an adversary.
    After the certification course, the handlers will find out within a few days if they passed.

    The canines who pass the course will continue on with their military careers as full-time working dogs alongside their handlers. Those who don’t pass will have another opportunity next year.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 08.27.2015
    Date Posted: 09.11.2015 10:13
    Story ID: 175699
    Location: KILLEEN, TX, US 

    Web Views: 84
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