May 05 , 2019
1.The first use of war Woofs goes back to 600 BC. Around that time there are first records of dogs being used in combat by Alyattes of Lydia against the Cimmerians. Also Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, extensively used dogs at war. Nowadays dogs play a major role in the U.S. military.
Although dogs were used by US forces in every military conflict since the Revolutionary War, their role was officially recongized since the Second World War. While at first dogs mostly carried the messages, nowadays they’re being trained to discover bombs, drugs, search for people and attack if needed.
Modern war dogs are trained to perform a wide-range of highly-specialized tasks. Some jump together with their human partners with parachute from planes, others rappel from helicopters. Some war Woofs even fight alongside elite Special Operations units.
2. Germany and The Netherlands deliver 85% of nowadays war Woofs. These countries know a tradition of purposely-bred military service dogs for hundreds of years. However, not all military dogs are German Shepherds. Other breeds have proved to be war heroes as well. Many branches use for instance the highly trainable Labrador Retriever. The SEALS use the Belgian Malinois. This fast and compact breed has a sense of smell 40 times greater than ours and is ideal for parachuting and repelling missions with their handlers.
The U.S. military has puppy development specialists. They work with puppies until they get 6-7 months old and are ready to begin their training. Specialists help puppies to develop basic social skills and to get ready for the tough jobs they will perform later in life.
3. Only 50% of all the war Woof candidates pass the training. Future war dogs need to posess an appropriate mix of aggressiveness, playfulness, intelligent disobedience and tenacity. They must have a fine balance of aggression and excitability, should be highly reward-motivated and must also be free of physical issues like hip dysplasia. They also should be able to attack on command. This is where many puppies get, while showing extreme stress when they have to bite a human.
An average career of a military dog lasts for 8-9 years, whereafter most of them get adopted by their human partners. However, in US this is only possible since the last almost 20 years. Before President Clinton passed ‘Robby’s Law’ in 2000, military working dogs were considered ‘military equipment’ and were perceived as ‘unfit to adjust to civilian life’. Therefore instead of honored they were euthanised after the end of their service. Snik!
4. Military Woofs are war heros. In the First World War a pitbull Stubby saved his soldiers from a serin gas attack. Sergeant Stubby fought in a few campaigns, was wounded twice, and saved many lives. For this he was twice invited to visit White House, met 3 presidents, and got in 1921 a personal medal pinned on his jacket by American General 'Black Jack' Pershing.
The most honored dog of the Second World War was Chips, a German Shepherd mix who saw battlefields in Germany, France, North Africa and Sicily. Chips broke away from his holder, attacked enemy machine gun nest in Italy and forced 10 enemy soldiers to surrender. Chips was wounded in the fight and was later honored with the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star and the Purple Heart.
5. Every military working Woof is a noncommissioned officer. Hence a dog is always one rank higher than its handler. Therefore both two and four-legged veterans of all nations and breeds do really deserve a warm and sincere THANK YOU!