Meet U.S. Air Force Sgt. Gusman and Military Working Dog Benny. Benny is dual purpose K9, meaning he is trained for both explosive detection and patrol, or in other words, “bite work.” For MWDs like Benny, scouting for and tracking suspects in buildings or structures is demanding and dangerous work. That’s why they’re constantly conditioning.
Sgt. Gusman and Benny are assigned to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson‘s (JBER) Military Working Dogs group, which is part of the 673d Security Forces Squadron. Here, Military Working Dogs are trained to apprehend fleeing suspects, sniff out explosives, and conduct searches. They work with their handlers daily, practicing the skills they need on the battlefield and at home station.
Obstacle coursework may look like playtime, but it’s a critical piece to training a Military Working Dog to overcome obstacles in the field and trusting their handlers when doing so.
But Decoying is where MWDs like Benny are made, and where handlers earn their stripes. “Decoying,” says Sgt. Gusman, “can make or break the dog.”
“The goal is to get a nice full mouth bite. We want them to stay in place on that bite. We want them to stay determined and stay in the fight.”
Kudos, Sgt. Gusman. Looks like Benny is a well-trained part of JBER’s defense.

Military Workings Dogs serve in a whole array of ways, from bomb and drug detection to scout work. MWDs are often deployed and can be huge assets on the battlefield.

Recently, Fritz, a four-and-a-half-year-old Belgian Malinois and Army handler, Sgt. Michael A. Ramirez were both awarded the Army Commendation Medal (ARCOM), with a “C” device while on patrol in Syria. The pair was on patrol when MWD Fritz veered to an area outside their focus. Fritz had single-handedly identified the location of an explosives cache.

Read more about Military Working Dogs here.

This article was originally published on February 16.