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    KFOR military working dog handlers train with MAT Kosovo

    KFOR military working dog handlers train with MAT Kosovo

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Tawny Schmit | Atdhe Kuqi, a dog handler with Mine Action Training Kosovo, rewards his dog, Sonny,...... read more read more

    U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to Regional Command-East, Kosovo Force, travelled to Peja/Peć on March 9 to train with Mine Action Training Kosovo, a humanitarian demining school that trains students in explosive ordnance disposal and identification.

    1st Lt. Taylor Firn, officer in charge of the RC-E EOD team, said both KFOR and MAT Kosovo benefited from the cross training, which tested their explosive detective dogs on their ability to identify new scents. Firn, of the 702d Ordnance Company based out of Grafenwoehr, Germany, brought four different types of explosives and hid them in vehicles, small structures and even buried them underground.

    The two military working dogs assigned to RC-E have previously been exposed to different types of explosives. MAT Kosovo’s training dog, Sonny, was only familiar with one type.

    “We introduced their explosive detective dog to previously unseen explosive compositions,” said Firn. “New smells are always going to improve the training and give that dog something else to work with.”

    Doug York, general manager of MAT Kosovo, said their handler, Atdhe Kuqi, and Sonny learned a lot from the training. By the end of the day, Sonny was able to identify new scents and alert Kuqi when he pinpointed the location of the explosives.

    The KFOR EOD team and MAT Kosovo have cooperated in the past to compare their training methods. During cross-training, both teams are able to identify and address faults in their techniques.

    “We can fill those critical gaps and incorporate what we’ve learned into future training plans,” said Firn.

    The training between the two organizations ensures the safety and freedom of movement for all people in Kosovo as they continue their demining operations.

    As Kuqi and the KFOR handlers took turns leading their dogs through scenarios, Firn said it was rewarding to see the progress. For him, the best part was seeing the dog’s reaction when he identified the new explosives. The handlers also incorporated a little friendly competition to see whose dogs could identify threats the fastest.

    “It’s something new to do with Sonny and it’s good to have new friends and relationships,” said Kuqi.



    Date Taken: 03.11.2021
    Date Posted: 03.11.2021 11:05
    Story ID: 391144
    Location: ZZ

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