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Working dogs are critical to the Navy’s mission

Posted by in dog stories on October 1, 2018 0 comments
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Military Working Dogs train to add force protection to Pensacola Naval Air Station.

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Like the sailors who care for them, Heky and his kennel mates have very structured lives. 

“There are times when we just let them be dogs and play, but it is mostly training. When it is time to work, they have to be ready to work,” Garcia said. 

Although the dogs share a kennel building, they remain in separate kennels and don’t get to interact with each other outside of structured training. Their home is the kennel, they do not go home with their handlers. 

adopt retired working dogs that are not adopted by their handlers. 

The Pensacola dog handlers said retirement can be a huge change for dogs that have never lived in a family home and are used to working. 

“They aren’t like your regular family dog,” said Michael Vandergriff, who handles Hero, a 10-year-old German shepherd. 

Vandergriff said he cannot imagine a more reliable partner than his dog. 

“I would trust my dog more than anything,” he said. “There is something about a dog, they base what they do off instinct, there is no thinking about what they doing. Even if they are scared, they don’t care, you are dad or mom and they are going to take care of you.” 

But Garcia said working with dogs isn’t for every law enforcement officer. 

Dogs feel a handler’s energy. If a handler is tense or nervous going into a situation, the dog feels the same way. 

The best dog handlers are able to convey calm even in the most tense situations. 

“Everything you are feeling travels down the leash,” he said. “That’s why we train so much, we train for the most serious scenarios to help them understand when it is time to work,” he said. 

Read or Share this story: http://www.pnj.com/story/news/military/2018/02/15/pensacola-naval-air-stations-military-dogs-some-busiest-military/337589002/

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http://pnj.com/story/news/military/2018/02/15/pensacola-naval-air-stations-military-dogs-some-busiest-military/337589002/

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