Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Military Working Dogs Keeping Troops Safe (WOOF! - WOOF!!)
American Forces Press Service ^ | Spc. Chris McCann, USA

Posted on 03/22/2007 5:41:03 PM PDT by SandRat

CAMP STRIKER, Iraq, March 22, 2007 – The terrorist is quiet during the search, letting Army Sgt. Harold Corey pat him down all along one side. But when Corey gets to his right hip, the terrorist shoves at him. It’s less than a second before Wandor’s huge mouthful of teeth is clamped around the terrorist’s arm and Corey is out of danger, telling the dog “away!” to make him release the man’s arm.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Army Chief Warrant Officer Julio Hall, a supply systems technician with the 210th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), is tackled by military working dog Wandor while wearing a padded bite suit during a demonstration at Camp Striker, Iraq, on March 19. Photo by Spc. Chris McCann, USA
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
It’s just a simulation and a chance for Wandor to play; “the terrorist” -- actually 1st Lt. Timothy Owens, the executive officer for Company A, 210th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) -- is just trying out the “bite suit” used by dog trainers.

But even playing, Wandor, a Belgian Malinois, can take down a grown man in seconds, running at 30 miles per hour and exerting 1,400 pounds per square inch of bite pressure.

“It was really cool,” said Owens, a native of Corpus Christi, Texas. “It was surprising how the dog looks so lean, but one twist, and he took me down. They’re a great asset for enforcement and detection.”

Corey, a native of Newport News, Va., has been working with dogs for three years with the 529th Military Police Company, based out of Heidelberg, Germany.

“I enjoy it,” Corey said of the March 19 practice session, which was attended by several 210th BSB soldiers. “It’s never not exciting to watch a dog take someone down.”

The 2nd BCT, based here, has several attached handlers with dogs that accompany brigade missions every day.

Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael Hart, a native of Syracuse, N.Y., and the BCT’s provost marshal, explained that most of the dogs that work with the brigade are trained to seek explosives. But they are also adept at “combat tracking.” While a human usually requires hearing two shots to pinpoint the direction of origin, dogs can point to the origin after only one shot, a skill that is critical when a sniper is shooting. Once the dog finds the shooter’s hiding place, he can track the person and even pick him out of a lineup.

There are also patrol narcotics dogs, used during health-and-welfare inspections of troops, and dogs trained to seek bodies, Hart said.

The dogs are well-trained and well-kept, Hart explained. “They have veterinary coverage twenty-four seven,” he said. “And there’s medical evacuation coverage, as well, just like there is for humans. They’re out there risking their lives too; it’s only fair.”

The handlers know basic first aid and life-support skills for the dogs, and a veterinarian is at the helipad waiting if a dog comes in injured.

So far, Hart said, the handlers haven’t needed to medically evacuate a dog. One was killed in the line of duty while searching a house; an air-conditioning unit he jumped onto had an exposed high-powered wire on it. Other than that, he explained, they have had only minor injuries, such as cut paws.

And while the handlers haven’t “let slip the dogs of war” -- as in Mark Antony’s famous speech in William Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” --, the animals have provided very tangible benefits for the brigade, sniffing out explosives and weaponry.

“They’re a force multiplier,” Corey said. “They can do the searching of five or six soldiers and do with their nose what a soldier has to do by prodding and digging. They make the job easier. Also, they’re a visual deterrent; the local nationals are scared of them, so they’re more cooperative.”

Corey said that Wandor has found several weapons while helping on cordon-and-search missions. “He finds weapons in houses even before the homeowners turn them over to us,” Corey said.

Instead of having to move everything in a house, he just sniffs around, and when he finds something, he sits. Then we just have to move one thing to get to the weapons.”

Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Shannon Bragg, a native of Denver, Colo., who is assigned to a San Diego-based deployable canine unit, is also attached to the 2nd BCT.

While Bragg has been working with dogs for several years, the one assigned to him now -- “Don,” a German shepherd -- is fresh from school at Lackland Air Force Base, near San Antonio.

“He’s a ‘green’ dog,” Bragg explained. “His detection skills are much better than his aggression. He’s got a great nose on him. But he’s young, only 3, and he’s still in the puppy stage.”

Don showed his prowess at finding pieces of detonation cord hidden in the 210th BSB’s supply yard, hunkering down as he caught a whiff of explosive and then sitting as soon as he found the source.

All of the hard training works, Corey explained, because the dogs think of the job as a game.

“A dog is like a 5-year-old child,” he said. “To get a kid to do something, you make it fun.”

The object of the game for Wandor -- as it is for almost every other military working dog -- is a beehive-shaped rubber toy called a “Kong.” If he finds explosives, he gets to play. Corey explained that the dogs are trained to understand that finding the object of their search might take awhile, but if a mission is fruitless for too long, he’s prepared with a piece of detonation cord.

“I’ll hand it to someone else and ask them to hide it for me,” Corey said. Wandor can then find the cord and win some quality time playing with his Kong before moving on and continuing the quest.

“I always carry training aids to refresh his interest,” Corey said.

Athough it may be like a game for the dog, the perspective is different on the other side of those sharp teeth.

After being bitten through the padded bite suit, Army Chief Warrant Officer Julio Hall, a native of Grafton, N.H., and a supply systems technician with the 210th BSB, said he had more respect for the dogs’ power and for the capabilities they provide against terrorists.

“The dog took me down right away,” he said. “The dog itself is pretty intimidating. If I was an insurgent, I’d be petrified.”

(Army Spc. Chris McCann is assigned to the 2nd Brigade Combat Team of the 10th Mountain Division.)
Related Sites:
Multinational Corps Iraq
Click photo for screen-resolution image Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Shannon Bragg, a military working dog handler, watches his dog, Don, crouch, making sure of the scent of explosives before he sits to signal Bragg that he has made a find. Bragg and Don, attached to the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), showed their skills to several soldiers with the 210th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd BCT, at Camp Striker, Iraq. Photo by Spc. Chris McCann, USA  
Download screen-resolution   
Download high-resolution
Click photo for screen-resolution image Army Chief Warrant Officer Julio Hall, a supply systems technician with the 210th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), is pursued by military working dog Wandor while wearing a padded bite suit during a demonstration at Camp Striker, Iraq, on March 19. (Photo by Spc. Chris McCann, USA  
Download screen-resolution   
Download high-resolution


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: bite; doggieping; frwn; iraq; mwd; safe; terrorists; troops

1 posted on 03/22/2007 5:41:07 PM PDT by SandRat
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: 91B; HiJinx; Spiff; MJY1288; xzins; Calpernia; clintonh8r; TEXOKIE; windchime; Grampa Dave; ...
FR WAR NEWS!

WAR News at Home and Abroad You'll Hear Nowhere Else!

All the News the MSM refuses to use!

Or if they do report it, without the anti-War Agenda Spin!

2 posted on 03/22/2007 5:42:08 PM PDT by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: HairOfTheDog

ping


3 posted on 03/22/2007 6:00:38 PM PDT by FairOpinion (Victory in Iraq. Stop Hillary. Stop the Dems. Work for Republican Victory in 2008.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: SandRat; sinkspur; 88keys; DugwayDuke; sissyjane; Severa; the OlLine Rebel; naturalman1975; ...
Ping!


Other articles with keyword "DOGGIEPING" since 12/29/04

4 posted on 03/22/2007 6:04:33 PM PDT by HairOfTheDog
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SandRat

Question: In country, on a base, where weapons and explosives are everywhere, how do the explosive sniffing dogs function? You'd thin k it would be a sensory overload for them?


5 posted on 03/22/2007 6:40:28 PM PDT by ken5050 (The 2008 winning ticket: Rudy/Newtie, with Hunter for SecDef, Pete King at DHS, Bill Simon at Treas)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: ken5050

No idea.


6 posted on 03/22/2007 6:44:31 PM PDT by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: DAVEY CROCKETT; struwwelpeter

Ping.


7 posted on 03/22/2007 7:42:14 PM PDT by nw_arizona_granny (How are your survival supplies? Today is a good one, for stocking up, food, medicine, & protection.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: nw_arizona_granny


Devil Dog bump!
8 posted on 03/22/2007 8:30:20 PM PDT by struwwelpeter
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: SandRat

I wonder how easily these dogs adjust to civilian life after they retire?


9 posted on 03/22/2007 9:21:53 PM PDT by afraidfortherepublic
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: struwwelpeter

I do think that i would do as this one says, at once and quickly.

What wonderful gifts from God, when he gave us dogs for helpmates.


10 posted on 03/22/2007 9:30:34 PM PDT by nw_arizona_granny (How are your survival supplies? Today is a good one, for stocking up, food, medicine, & protection.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: afraidfortherepublic

They have an entire program to re-socialize them now. During Nam and before, I believe they euthenized them


11 posted on 03/22/2007 9:34:46 PM PDT by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: SandRat

Glad to hear that. Working dogs simply amaze me. My dog is wonderful, but he's just a lazy couch potato, like me. We suit each other.


12 posted on 03/23/2007 9:18:53 AM PDT by afraidfortherepublic
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: HairOfTheDog

[The dogs are well-trained and well-kept]

And well loved too, I'm sure!


13 posted on 03/23/2007 10:31:31 AM PDT by potlatch ("People will forget what you said, what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: afraidfortherepublic
Oh,... really!


14 posted on 03/23/2007 6:22:03 PM PDT by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: SandRat; Indy Pendance; Still German Shepherd; dervish; Dick Vomer; Kozak; Joe 6-pack; joesnuffy; ..
GERMAN SHEPHERD PING LIST

(Please Freep-mail me if you’d like to be on or off the list.)

15 posted on 03/23/2007 6:44:24 PM PDT by the OlLine Rebel (Common sense is an uncommon virtue.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Cailleach

ping


16 posted on 03/23/2007 6:46:29 PM PDT by kalee (The offenses we give, we write in the dust; Those we take, we write in marble. JHuett)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SandRat

After this war is over, I hope these canine heroes are better treated than those left behind in Vietnam.

No excuses can be offered at any level: what was done to those talented war dog heroes was just bl**dy awful, inhumane, and WRONG. To say nothing of the anguish their Handlers/Partners must have felt.

Let's hope that the US Armed Forces powers-that-be have learned at least *this* much since then!

Meanwhile: to all the Canine heroes serving the Cause of Liberty and Freedom anywhere. GOD BLESS YOU ALL, AND YOUR HANDLERS. "We be of one blood, thou and I". Here's to as much water as you want when you need it, the occasional treat when you do really well (but not too often), a cup-and-a-half of Eukanuba each day for a nice glossy coat, and a warm place to sleep at nite. And get in a few good Bites on the Bad Guys for the rest of us!


17 posted on 03/23/2007 11:41:57 PM PDT by DieHard the Hunter
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SandRat

> They have an entire program to re-socialize them now. During Nam and before, I believe they euthenized them

They certainly did -- or turned them over to the ARVN. About 200 made it back from Vietnam: none to Civilian life.


18 posted on 03/23/2007 11:46:58 PM PDT by DieHard the Hunter
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: ken5050

> Question: In country, on a base, where weapons and explosives are everywhere, how do the explosive sniffing dogs function? You'd thin k it would be a sensory overload for them?

Same way they do in any target-rich environment: like my back yard and the surrounding Jungle, chock-full of wee creatures and sounds and scents. Or a sheep paddock full of sheep and lambs and other interesting distractions. They are selective and they are very clever: within their core competencies (smelling and hearing and "instinct") they are infinitely more talented than we are.

The scope of their senses is immense: the sense of smell, the sense of hearing -- orders of magnitude more developed and finely nuanced than ours. Some may argue, but I'd go so far as to say that they have a highly-developed "sixth sense" almost like ESP. This is especially true for wolf-like dogs like German Shepherds.

We hear a shrill whistle: they hear a finely-nuanced symphony of complex sounds, many beyond our ability to detect with the human ear. We smell a pungent odor: they smell a vast feast of multiple complex scents and smells -- look at their noses. Even a pug dog has longer and deeper nasal passages than most humans: imagine what it is like for a long-nosed GSD or a blood-hound!

Even for people, the scent of smell is the strongest and longest-lasting of senses. It's true! I could be 20 or 30 years since you last smelled a certain scent: but as soon as you do you are hot-wired to a certain lane in Seattle, say. And you can immediately visualize what you were doing and why. You can even "see" in your mind's eye who you were with, and can remember what you were talking about.

No other sense works quite like the sense of smell. And dogs are experts at that sense.

Dogs are smarter than we think they are. A well-trained GSD is about as smart as a 9 yr old kid. Maybe even smarter. They can certainly be trained to understand English -- not just terse commands. And if conditioned correctly, they have a very strong emotional bonding to their Handler. Their social structures and skills are truly astonishing...

...if trained. If not, they can be as dumb as a sack of hammers, fetching slippers and chasing cats and cars and kids on bikes, and peeing on fire hydrants.

Dogs are infinitely smarter, infinitely more resourceful, infinitely more trainable, infinitely better in every measurable way than cats.


19 posted on 03/24/2007 12:06:34 AM PDT by DieHard the Hunter
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: SandRat

How precious! Thanks for posting.


20 posted on 03/24/2007 4:19:21 AM PDT by afraidfortherepublic
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: DieHard the Hunter

It's early here and my brain is not fully functioning. What is a GSD?


21 posted on 03/24/2007 4:23:36 AM PDT by afraidfortherepublic
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: DieHard the Hunter

Thanks for the information, but I'm still confused..I understand that a trained dog can detect a pistol/ammo, hidden inside say, a school locker...i.e. there's only one scent..but how can a dog find an IED on a military base, where weapons are everywhere?


22 posted on 03/24/2007 7:16:00 AM PDT by ken5050 (The 2008 winning ticket: Rudy/Newtie, with Hunter for SecDef, Pete King at DHS, Bill Simon at Treas)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: afraidfortherepublic

>What is a GSD?<

German Shepherd Dog


23 posted on 03/24/2007 7:30:19 AM PDT by Darnright
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: ken5050

> i.e. there's only one scent..

You see, there's not only one scent: a school locker would be a veritable *symphony* of scents -- all of them highly nuanced, hundreds and hundreds of thousands of them -- and each of them having a similar (but much stronger) effect on the dog as it does on a human (instant recall, with detail, even over long spaces in time).

> but how can a dog find an IED on a military base, where weapons are everywhere?

Again, a military base would have myriad, highly-nuanced smells, each doing the same thing for the dog: providing instant, detailed recall with time and place.

We might smell something that we'd generally identify as "cordite". For a dog, "cordite" would have many, many different nuances: just like the color blue can have many, many different shades for us.

Subtle differences and changes in this symphony of smells on the base are noted: "ahh! I smell something different to the last time I was here! I haven't smelled "Navy Midnite Blue" cordite on this base before. Last time would have been in... yeah, in Baghdad, two years ago, just after that IED blew up. So what's that smell doing right here? Hey boss! Check out this Navy Midnite Blue cordite smell! This is new!!!"

That, attached to a very clever brain that has been conditioned since puppyhood, makes the task for the dog very easy.

Ever been somewhere and picked up a scent -- maybe a whiff of perfume or a cooking smell -- and had your mind rocket back over time and space to the precise circumstance where you last identified that scent? Even with humans, whose sense of smell is not particularly developed, this is a very strong sense.

The dog's nasal passages are huge and very sophisticated compared to ours, allowing for very very fine tuning to wire thru to its fairly large, specialized brain. Smell and hearing are far more useful to a dog than vision.

It would be difficult to give it sensory overload: in the same way we don't get sensory overload with our powers of color vision and all of the fine detail that we can see as a result.

(They say dogs see all things in black-and-white.)

We filter out things that we do not see by not focusing on them: and instead look for specific things that we *do* want to see. Dogs can filter what they *don't* want to smell in much the same way -- narrowing down what they sense.

Try this experiment, see if it works for you -- it works amazingly well for some people. It might give you "memory" powers you never thought possible:

1) Get some aftershave -- a brand that you never ever wear and never have worn before
2) Put lots of it on
3) Pick up, say, the Complete Works of William Shakespeare and find a short passage that you'd like to memorize, verbatim
4) Read it aloud, slowly, carefully -- for a short period of time. You've now engaged three senses in your attempt to memorize this passage: vision, hearing, smell.
5) Mark a date in your diary say a fortnite out
6) Put the Shakespeare back on the shelf and forget about it
7) When the date marked on your diary eventually transpires, put on the aftershave again and close your eyes...

You may find that your memory zooms back to a fortnite ago. You may be able to visualize very fine detail -- like where on the page the words were located. And you could very easily find yourself reciting -- from memory -- that passage. If you do, it will be very close to verbatim: take the Shakespeare off the shelf and see how close you have gotten.

If it has worked for you, you may find that you can never wear or smell that aftershave without bringing back that same passage in Shakespeare into vivid memory.

It doesn't work for everyone. It does work for a surprising number of people: the link between scent and memory can be very strong.

That is how Scent works for dogs: except much more finely tuned -- orders of magnitude more sophisticated.


24 posted on 03/24/2007 4:06:47 PM PDT by DieHard the Hunter
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: DieHard the Hunter

Many thanks for the detailed info...


25 posted on 03/24/2007 6:28:39 PM PDT by ken5050 (The 2008 winning ticket: Rudy/Newtie, with Hunter for SecDef, Pete King at DHS, Bill Simon at Treas)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: ken5050

> Many thanks for the detailed info...

Hey you are very welcome! I hope it helped explain things -- and maybe gave you a new trick to try, with the aftershave memory enhancement. (I'd be interested in knowing whether it works for you).

Lots of people own dogs, and are content to have them as fairly happy, easygoing friendly pets because, for the most part, if you treat them decently they will give you unconditional love and companionship in return. That is making use of a very valuable -- if limited -- one of many of a dog's talents: they need to belong to a "pack" and to be valued. Just like people do, but even moreso.

(Dogs invented Teamwork and had their social sciences and religions down to a very fine art -- long before humans fell out of the trees and walked upright!)

Most folk stop right there, and assume that the dog's capabilities do, to. They liken dogs to "cats" -- something to be stroked and fed, a companion pet of extremely limited scope, intelligence, and usefulness.

Dogs actually have so much more talent than mere companionship, and for most dogs these talents are latent.

We marvel at "seeing eye" dogs (hey! That Dog can actually "see" not to cross the road in front of a taxi! Amazing!!! How *does* he do it???) and we marvel at bomb-sniffing dogs and bloodhounds that can find escaped prisoners, and rescue dogs that can find victims of avalanche...

And we marvel at the "bravery" and "obedience" of Police dogs.

Yet there is no mysteries here: it is all in a day's work for a dog. All these talents come naturally because dogs (all dogs, but GSDs and a few other breeds in particular) are extremely clever, extremely well-adapted, and extremely well-equipped to do very complex tasks. And they have a very sophisticated social "society" in which they operate...

...sometimes humans operate in that same society, if they know how and make the effort.

The more I work with dogs, the more I realize how smart and sophisticated they actually are. Most people choose not to, and instead try to fit their dog into "human" norms. Dogs will try to adapt to human ways because adapting is something they also do well.

But dogs think differently to us: similarly, yet not the same. They have completely different drivers.


26 posted on 03/24/2007 7:09:39 PM PDT by DieHard the Hunter
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: Darnright

Well, I thought of that, (German Shepherd Dog) but I thought that was just too simple to have Dog in the abbreviation! It wouldn't ocur to me to abbreviate my animal's breed as GRD - Golden Retriever Dog, for instance. LOL


27 posted on 03/24/2007 8:01:21 PM PDT by afraidfortherepublic
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: afraidfortherepublic

Gidday Mate:

> Well, I thought of that, (German Shepherd Dog) but I thought that was just too simple to have Dog in the abbreviation! It wouldn't ocur to me to abbreviate my animal's breed as GRD - Golden Retriever Dog, for instance. LOL

There's something about the entire GSD breed that encourages abbreviations, I guess. They are full of nuances and complications that, if spelled out, take alot of time and leave you breathless as you try to explain. As I'll try to demonstrate with the following:

"GSD" is used, I believe, partly as a result of "history" and partly in recognition that, until the late 1800's, the breed was a mix of dogs -- mutts if you like. The term loosely recognizes this mutt heritage, IMHO. Similar in many respects to Dobermanns and Rottweilers (who hail from a similar time period).

Owners of GSDs tend to be particularly proud of this breed: it is relatively new, just over 100 years on. But it has been carefully developed, as close to a Science Experiment as is possible in the canine world...!

(FLAMEPROOF ARMOR ON, DOGSH*T SHIELDS DEPLOYED)

The "original" GSD was "Horand von Grafrath" and was a beautiful and talented and graceful mutt that looked like a wolf. He was particularly good at just about everything: he could fight, he could obey, he had high intelligence and he was a working dog, and he feared nobody.

A "perfect" dog, from a German Army Officer's viewpoint. From my vantagepoint a hundred-plus years later, I'd agree.

There are other similar European breeds (Belgian Sheepdogs &tc, a few in Northern Italy) who share (probably) Horand's DNA -- or parts of it -- and look similar. Dunno about them, they are nice looking dogs to be sure -- but I *do* know about GSDs.

In truth, Sharpei dogs are technically closer to real "wolves" by DNA, or so I am told... nevermind. "Wolves" have evolved into GSDs: with Horand the precise mix was established.

Subsequent breedings of GSDs emphasized wolf-like traits: "pack" discipline, fearlessness, intelligence...

The "GSD" label is somewhat encompassing of variations of what constitues a proper "German Shepherd Dog".

Two world wars confused the issue somewhat -- to the point where the term "Alsatian" became "en vogue" because of wartime prejudices -- "Alsace-Lorraine" being a disputed territory between France and Germany. (And hence not "German" strictly speaking).

Same dog, different label. And to the point where "American" breeders preferred a (deformed) sloping back and bred their dogs to reflect this trait (sorta like the dog is going to "pop a wheelie", ready-to-go, moving even tho' it's standing still), whereas "German" breeders preferred a more square dog designed to work hard rather than look pretty. The sloping-back -- while it looks very dramatic -- encourages hip displaysia which can over time render the GSD a cripple.

(In human terms, it would be like people bred to run full-speed while grabbing their ankles -- it is an admirable athletic achievement if we can do it with proficiency that is, alas! destined to end in tears! Not overly efficient either!)

I prefer GSDs that are "working" dogs, with the square "German" backs. On the large side rather than smaller "obedience" GSDs. They are strong and even tho' they do not look like they are "popping a wheelie" ready to go while they stand still, they are quite fast enough and most importantly mechanically sound.

If you decide to have a GSD in your life, go to a reputable breeder (ask a dog handling cop -- she/he will send you to your initial place of enquiry) and tell that breeder what attributes you want in your dog.

Do you want an overtly affectionate GSD that is safe around kids? Do you want one that does not mind being around guns? Do you want a dog that is obedient above all? Do you want a bright dog that can do "tricks" on demand? Do you want a dog that bonds strongly only with his/her own pack, and is suspicious of Strangers? Do you want large, medium, small? Do you want a hunting dog more than a herding dog? &tc &tc &tc. Male or Female or do you understand the difference?

Of course, you want ALL OF THE ABOVE. But GSDs will have traits that are more dominant than others -- depending on who the parents of your pup are. Detailed records are kept. The breeder will have access to several males and females with different traits, and will know other breeders who have access to different dogs.

They can literally breed-to-match, cut-and-paste, with a reasonable degree of accuracy in the process. More likely, they will send you toward a breeder making a litter that closely resembles what you are looking for.

Do not buy a GSD-cross ANYTHING. That is a Mutt. A good-looking mutt, granted. Might even be a Good Dog. The GSD-side you can possibly find out what you have "bought" -- the other side will be a mystery. Hit-and-miss: the dog will be with you 9-12 years at a minimum. That is a long time out of your life and his/hers. It is better to start out with the "right" dog and train from there, rather than to try to anticipate an unknown quantity and correct whatever it is you think you might have gotten.

That sounds mean, and prejudiced, and unfair. I guess it is.

GSDs have an "adolescence" that lasts at least twice as long as "other" dogs: they will be impressionable puppies for at least two years, closer to three. So Patience is required: in double-bucketfuls! They will find out exactly what bugs you, and they will do it just to determine your reaction. They will push ALL the buttons, HARD!

Your reaction must never be anything other than kindness: never hit your GSD nor ever speak to it angrily or with Disrespect. You must find a way of disciplining your GSD that does not involve lashing out in temper. The GSD will be watching and copying you all the time.

(GSD training should be a Martial Art, from that viewpoint! But more like Yoga and less like Tai Kwon Do. Infinite patience and flexibility. No, it's exactly like Aikido: redirect the force!)

You can begin (gentle) training from the moment they come home from the Kennel. I have a GSD that is a great dog: she toilet trained the instant we got home from an 12-hour drive from Bulls (near Whangarei). I said the "magic words" and took her outside to "go". She evacuated on the lawn (Good Girl!) and has *never* in her life made an embarassing mess inside. Not even once...

Three years on, she understands English (not just terse single-word "commands", but entire complex sentences and ideas) and is a superb judge of Human Nature. Instantly obedient and yet she still applies "judgment" and will let me know when she thinks I have got it wrong. She will silently wake me up from a deep sleep if she thinks there is something I should be paying attention to: 100% of the time so far, she has been right!

Get your GSD fixed unless you intend (with your GSD Breeder's advice -- and I suggest permission) to set up your own breed line: GSDs are "very hi-drive" dogs. When they are "in heat" they are like furry cyclones or hurricanes 24x7, and they can keep up this behavior full-on for a couple weeks at a time. Every dog for 10 miles around will want to breed with him/her, and he/she won't mind because it will be "practise" for the "right one" that he/she will ultimately meet.

GSDs in Heat should be an Olympic event. Between two GSDs it is a full-on athletic pursuit, with lots of noise and lots of energy. It, in itself, should be a martial art, too! If you are not ready for 100% of what Olympic-class-sex-between-dogs is all about 24x7, best to never go there unless you fully intend to make money at it and are prepared for all the work that happens as a result!

A GSD b*tch in heat will literally rape as many male dogs (any breed) as she can find, for as long as she can remain conscious. That could be many days in a row, without sleep!

Serious then: get her Fixed. Him, too!

Best described as being similar to the "Pon-Far" mating ritual as what happened to Vulcans in Star Trek. Except GSD Pon-Far happens much more frequently.

OK, that's about the GSD: abbreviations are necessary because otherwise my lips get tired during proofreading.

*DieHard*


28 posted on 03/24/2007 11:31:43 PM PDT by DieHard the Hunter
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: DieHard the Hunter

Thanks for all the background on GSDs. My good friend has one,and I shall never make the mistake of thinking of Reagan as merely a German Shepherd again - she is definitely a GSD. Your description of the beautiful and smart Reagan and her development is spot on! She's a wonderful playmate for my Golden Retriever, Max. Both of them are *fixed*, so there is no worry of producing unwanted puppies. But they are a match in age, energy, and size. She is an assertive female and he is a mellow male - perfect!

Perhaps you can explain the GSD distinctive gait to me. They sem to have a *different* way of moving - more like a lope - than other dogs. Am I correct in that observation?


29 posted on 03/25/2007 7:42:09 AM PDT by afraidfortherepublic
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: afraidfortherepublic

> Perhaps you can explain the GSD distinctive gait to me. They seem to have a *different* way of moving - more like a lope - than other dogs. Am I correct in that observation?

Yes: many GSDs have this lope: I'd say you were "spot-on" correct. Big Tess, my first GSD, moved with this lope, almost like a cavalry horse. This makes sense because their bone structure looks fairly similar to a horse. Tess could lope all day and all nite: walk, trot, gallop, canter. Her dad was a Police GSD, her Mom a "White" GSD and thus not able to be registered in NZ -- but a purebred all the same, from OZ. It was an odd mix, that resulted in a very large, square, stalky and solidly built GSD with very remarkable beautiful markings -- which she must have got mostly from her mum's side of the family (her dad was very utilitarian and rather ugly).

Very strong back: small kids could ride on her and sometimes tried to when I wasn't looking. I always stopped them because dogs are *not* horses and no matter how big they are and how strong they may seem to be, a dog with a bad back will live a miserable life and eventually need to be put down.

But it would be that horse-like shape that makes them lope.

My current GSD, Greta, moves more like a cat than a horse: she is very thin and long and flexible thru the middle, like a whip, with short powerful legs and long body. Uses her tail for balance. She can turn on a dime. She doesn't lope so much as "prance" -- whether walking or running, she is like a dancer: very graceful always.

There's been a fair bit of fooling around with the GSD frame, particularly the back hips. The "American" style is more designed for show, and comprises a dog whose back legs slope behind -- again, almost like the dog is ready to "pop a wheelie" at any moment. It looks very dramatic and quite beautiful -- if impractical. They tend to develop problems with their hips later in life.

The "German" or working style is a very square build at the hips: not nearly so dramatic looking but very practical. This is my preference, every time.

I think it is the strong resemblance to the way horses are built that makes the GSD walk/run with a loping gait: it seems to be very energy-efficient and can quickly snap into hi-speed movement.

I'm speculating, tho' -- I haven't given alot of thought to the GSD physiology beyond developing a preference for the working-dog lines.

Kind regards
*DieHard*


30 posted on 03/25/2007 8:25:15 PM PDT by DieHard the Hunter
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: DieHard the Hunter
Neurolinguistic Programming. You created an anchor for the scent with Shakespeare.

Programming.

31 posted on 03/26/2007 5:41:11 AM PDT by doberville
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: struwwelpeter
But. .but. .Dobermans are the Devil Dogs!

At least they were during WW II. . .

32 posted on 03/26/2007 5:42:28 AM PDT by doberville
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: struwwelpeter
But. .but. .Dobermans are the Devil Dogs!

At least they were during WW II. . .

33 posted on 03/26/2007 5:47:16 AM PDT by doberville
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: doberville
I can't remember the last time I saw a Doberman MWD. They have a lot of problems in kennels - they get bored and start licking their feet until they get nasty granulomas going.

They have to have lots of "toys" and "playtime" or they get neurotic.

German Shepherds and Belgian Malanois don't seem to mind being put away like weapons in the armory, or traveling in crates for days on end from Eggstain, Arkansas to Bumf---, Egypt. Dobbies (and most dogs) can't cope with it.

Dobies supposedly handle heat better. I've seen more "in memory of" notices due to transportation than enemy action.

One time I was at an Austrian Kaserne and they had a few Rottweiler MWDs, which were amazingly well-trained (and obedient). The funny part was that the MWD handlers looked just like their dogs - all shoulder and bull neck. They said that they took their dogs home with them at night, and kept them in a family situation unless working. As far as travel went, a few hours in the back of a VW Golf to the exercize area and back.

Heck, the Taco Bell chihuahua probably has a tougher work schedule.
34 posted on 03/26/2007 7:12:58 AM PDT by struwwelpeter
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]

To: afraidfortherepublic
I wonder how easily these dogs adjust to civilian life after they retire?

I've seen examples of retired (due to age or infirmity) Police dogs which became excellent family pets. In all of these cases, the citizen owners were relatives of the dogs' last Police handlers.

35 posted on 03/26/2007 7:20:06 AM PDT by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilisation is aborting, buggering, and contracepting itself out of existence.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: doberville

> Neurolinguistic Programming. You created an anchor for the scent with Shakespeare.

That may be so -- I've got a wide-open mind on that.

I'm not quite sure what I think about NLP (or NAC as Anthony Robbins more correctly labels it -- it is a "conditioning" rather than a "programming").

You could use the same technique (strong aftershave) to remember how to re-assemble your wrist-watch if you took it apart to little bits. Certainly "neuro" is involved -- not quite sure about "linguistic" because no speech is involved. But the attention to detail is, most certainly. Particularly if you can invoke multiple senses all at once, with one of them being particularly strong.

(Try it! Great fun!)

I am quite sure that is how the sense of smell is able to yank us back thru time and space to experience unbelievable detail. Is it NLP/NAC? Not convinced: it's an interesting theory for sure. If so, the sense of smell is a very powerful anchor: much more powerful than, say, the ten anchors that Kevin Trudeau advocates with his "Mega-Memory" stuff (none of which is "original thought"): they are all visual and/or aural.

What I *do* know is this: dogs seem to use the sense of smell exactly as I described. The sense of smell is an extremely powerful dog training tool. Even more powerful than hand-praise or food-reward: of course, you have to use all of these, but the sense of smell is such a powerful stimulus for dogs I do not understand why more trainers don't use it more often and to better effect...

*DieHard*


36 posted on 03/26/2007 10:27:02 AM PDT by DieHard the Hunter
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: doberville

> But. .but. .Dobermans are the Devil Dogs!

I like Dobermans -- never owned one or even attempted to train one (apparently they train really well and are unfailingly obedient with a competent trainer).

I'm a GSD fan, up-and-down-and-sideways: difficult to convince that there is a finer or more noble animal ever invented.

That said, the Doberman would be a breed I'd like to try sometime: they seem to have some very distinct advantages that would be fun to try to develop.

Rottweilers would be another breed I'd like to try one day (but that's way, way down my list of priorities -- only so much time available to train dogs and do everything else in life. But one day maybe...)

How are Dobermans around kids?


37 posted on 03/26/2007 10:33:16 AM PDT by DieHard the Hunter
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]

To: DieHard the Hunter
Used to own GSD. Great animals. Smart. Pain in the ass smart. Could escape from anywhere. But we were overwhelmed by the hair. Used to rake the undercoat with a curry comb. Birds loved when they blew their coats.

Got our first Dobie mainly because we thought they didn't shed. (They do). It was love at first sight. Warm, loving and enthusiastic, Zeke would wiggle all over. He had to be with us all the time. Zeke used to visit nursing homes with Pets on Wheels. Old Timers loved him: "a real dog"; the nurses weren't sure. Many a person had a change of heart about Dobes after meeting my dogs.

We've got three now and they are great with my grandchildren. They respond very well to the younger, gentler child; they run from my more hyper one.

Fact is, I would never want another breed. These guys are so smart, have so much personality and want to please so much that any other dog is just. . . .a dog.

38 posted on 03/26/2007 11:16:49 AM PDT by doberville
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 37 | View Replies]

To: SandRat

Question

Do these invaluable members of our fighting corps have canine MRE'S for field work and who carries their supplies into battle?


39 posted on 03/27/2007 2:00:22 PM PDT by BillandTed (Canine MRE's)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: BillandTed

Don't know about doggie MRE's but the handler gets to carry the Dogs food and treats. As well as share his canteen's contents.


40 posted on 03/27/2007 4:46:12 PM PDT by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 39 | View Replies]

To: doberville
I agree with every thing you have said. This is my baby girl Tori. Fearless!


41 posted on 03/27/2007 5:00:37 PM PDT by jslade (The beatings well cease when morale improves!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 38 | View Replies]

To: doberville
"Fact is, I would never want another breed."

Nor would we. We've had five over the years. Number 5, with us now, is "Grace".

42 posted on 03/27/2007 5:12:06 PM PDT by Czar ( StillFedUptotheTeeth@Washington)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 38 | View Replies]

To: SandRat

That second picture is interesting because it catches the dog just as he's preparing to leap (look at the hind legs).


43 posted on 03/27/2007 5:22:59 PM PDT by 1rudeboy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson