I want to introduce a great friend and former teammate Mike Ritland.  Mike and I were squad mates in third phase in BUD/S training and did our first platoon together at SEAL Team 3.  He’s mentioned in my book The Red Circle more than a few times.

Fast forward and today my friend Mike runs one of the best Military Working Dog companies in the world. Mike will not tell you who his clients are, but I know that he’s supplying some of the top units in the world with bad ass K-9s.  He’s hooking me up with my own laser guided furball soon; I can’t wait to have some damn k-9 companionship in my life, man’s best friend is no joke (and no bitching that I’m staying out late with the guys…)
MWDs have been critical in HVT detection and most importantly IED and explosives detection.  We have more than a few of these dogs around in the SOF community with multiple KIAs.  Gnarly stuff….

Thanks for joining team SOFREP Mike.  Enjoy this article and join me in welcoming Mike!


Executive Media Director for SOFREP.com

The Dogs of War

by: Mike Ritland

Mankind has been engaged in combat as long as records have been kept regarding the subject. While the reasons have varied as to why men have pitted themselves against one another, there has been but one constant that continues to stand the test of time. Dogs.  We have been using dogs to aid us in combat from the very beginning. It’s interesting that no matter how technologically advanced the human race becomes, with trillions of dollars of equipment on the battlefield, we still utilize dogs in combat at a very high level. We depend on them constantly to guide us, defend us, alert us, and save us.  I believe it to be testament to the genetic capabilities of the animals, as well as the ability of mankind to recognize, modify, adapt, and harness these traits to our advantage for thousands of years.


Use and Capability

The uses and capabilities of dogs in warfare have varied over the years, largely depending on the threat and the nature of the conflict.  Based on burial grounds and other archeological finds, man has used dogs to his advantage for hunting and protection as far back as science can account for. It stands to reason that when combat started to take place, he continued to use these animals to give him an advantage. The earliest recorded society that used dogs in combat were the Egyptians. To what extent they were used is debatable, but subsequent civilizations used them for a multitude of purposes. They really are timeless in their multi-purpose functionality. They have been used to carry objects, alert intruders or track their way to the enemy. They have been relied on to defend against other attack type canines that are sent against the forces they are with. Dogs have been used to cut off supply routes of enemy forces, and even attack and neutralize mounted forces in some instances. As technology advances, so does the capability of the warrior dogs that we utilize today. With the current threats our troops face, the focus of modern era combat dogs is to have the ability to detect explosives at safe distances, track and neutralize enemy fighters, and locate fighting positions well ahead of our troops. These capabilities remove a large degree of the human danger element, but they are also considerably faster, more efficient, and much quieter than humans in doing so.

Combat Tools

These animals have chest full of combat tools…..

Part Two coming next week!