JBSA Four Legged Defenders > Air Education and Training Command > Article View
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas– Members and dogs of the 902nd Security Forces Squadron Military Working Dog Section train together daily to practice operations such as drug and explosive detection, mugger apprehension, specialist missions and daily patrols of the base.
The training forms a bond between MWDs and their managers to ensure the safety of JBSA personnel, assets and resources.
“Military working dogs are our partners,” said Tech. sergeant. Mark Devine, 902nd SFS Kennel Master. “They are family.”
The 341st Training Squadron at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland is responsible for the initial training of all MWD patrol MWD handlers, basic training, detection and first aid.
The 341st TRS Department of Defense MWD Center raises and trains puppies from birth to pass the certification process to become MWDs.
Dogs that do not meet DOD criteria are adopted or turned over to local law enforcement. The primary Air Force MWD breed is the Dutch Shepherd and the Belgian Malinois.
“Our daily routine starts with feeding the dogs,” said Senior Airman Taylor Bryant, 902nd SFS MWD handler. “We give them a rest period of one hour and before they start training.”
Handlers prepare and perform basic obedience commands with their MWDs to strengthen their relationship. They perform various demonstrations in the training yard to prepare them for real scenarios. If the MWD performs satisfactorily after each training exercise, the handler congratulates him on his progress.
“I recently became a dog handler and connecting with my dog is a great experience,” Bryant said.
Throughout the day, trainers put their MWDs in the kennels to give them breaks between training segments, allowing them to cool down and get plenty of rest.
“I love being a military working dog handler because it’s rewarding,” Devine said. “A material handler needs early mornings, long days and late nights. It’s extremely rewarding to see all the hard work you and your partner have put in and the results of it.
Whenever MWDs begin to show signs of slowing down, a kennel master will put together a disposition package, removing that dog and finding a suitable home for it.
Devine said the layout package takes about two months from start to finish. After that, the dog will live out its retired life with a previous handler or a suitable adoptee.
Until then, the MWDs continue to train alongside their handlers here to ensure the protection of JBSA facilities and members.
“It’s really good to train with my dog,” Evans said. “I treat her like she’s a daughter to me, and we try to learn as much as we can in our time together.”