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Dog Training


When reliability counts, most obedience class methods fail! Training takes on new meaning in training sentry, scout, and bomb sniffing dogs.



Air Force Dog Training

by Barbara "BJ" Andrews


Speaking about officer/dog teams graduates at Lackland Air Force base, Major John Probst, commander of the 341st Training Squadron said "When they leave here with an explosive detector dog, they have the capability to save tens, hundreds, or thousands of lives, depending on how effective they are as a team when they get to the field."


Armed Services dogs can be any breed that trains reliablyMajor Probst turns out over 600 dogs for the Armed Services. The dogs are trained in various specialties or combinations of expertise.


We live with dogs every day but how often do we really stop to think about their incredible capabilities? Thousands of years ago, we two-legged mammals recognized the useful instincts and abilities of canis lupus. We may not have the dog’s keen sensory perceptions but we are pretty smart, after all, we invited the wolf to share our campfire.

Why Dog Training Methods Fail

Most people seem to have forgotten why we invited dogs into our lives. We coddle them, avoid stressing them, and give them very little mental or physical stimulation. We have untold electronic marvels but the average human has no clue what a dog can do!

Go to the inner city and tell teenagers that dogs have 20-40 times more receptor cells in their nasal cavities than humans and they'll just shrug.  Tell them that dogs can smell a hamburger three blocks away through traffic and exhaust fumes and you've got their attention. If you tell them that a bomb-sniffing dog may have saved their lives without them knowing, the boys will look puzzled because they don’t watch news programs but they “think they heard it somewhere.”  Smile and tell them a drug sniffing dog can find one marijuana cigarette in a warehouse of tobacco and you’ve really got them thinking! That is how much mankind has lost touch with his best ally and strongest partner in the animal world.

You know these things because you love dogs. You probably watch Animal Planet.  You come here. You are informed. But look around you. Go to a local Obedience class and observe. The dogs are worked in short segments and are given frequent “breaks.” Ask yourself why those dogs are so undependable and uncooperative.


Then think about this quote from the Air Force trainer “Most working dogs can put in about a six-hour day before they get tired or disinterested." During training at Lackland, their working hours are about 6 a.m. to noon. Military trainers agree "To keep a dog effective, it's important that they look at their 'assignments' as both challenging and fun.”

Contrast that to obedience classes using clicker training

Such tools are not for the dog's benefit, they are to aid the owner in learning how and when to give commands.  Stop and think.  What happens when a hunter is in the field or a herdsman or shepherd is working his dogs from a distance of over a half-mile?


A top Air Force trainer said “The rewards are simple: A loud 'good boy!' or 'good girl! combined with some rough and tumble petting, and interactive play with their favorite toy."

Lackland AFB trainer Svitanek summed it up when asked who's easier to work with, the two or four-legged students? "Definitely the dogs," he said, "People all have opinions ... the dogs don't."

Take your terrier on a mouse hunt or earth dog trials.  You are the intelligent human so think of a task suitable for your purebred's background.  Not sure of his breed?  Doesn't matter, teach him to do something he perceives as useful.  Praise him for fetching your slippers.


Give your dog a job. He’ll give you his life. EST 1998 © 125r1611



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