Dogs Of War (II) - Specific Roles
04 Jun 2014
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In our first part we talked about why dogs are so suited for the military and which breeds make the best war dogs. Today, let us talk about ten tasks that they are usually assigned.
1. Gun Pulling
In earlier times, dogs were used for pulling machine guns mounted atop carts. Mastiffs were mostly used because of their strength; they could haul these carts for long distances through trenches. Dogs were suited for this kind of work because they could be trained to stay silent. Gun pulling dogs were most popular with the Belgian army.
Source - www.gettyimages.com
Dogs have been used as sentries (watchdogs) for a long time. From the Roman empire to present times, dogs have proved to be the best at looking out for intruders. Dogs are used to guard army camps, military bases and even nuclear sites, earning the nickname ‘Guardians of the night’.
source - www.nationalmuseum.af.mil
Attack dogs are trained to injure or even kill intruders. Dogs with spike-laden armor were used in battle in ancient times and they were truly ferocious. Nowadays, with specialised training, attack dogs are used for chasing and pinning down intruders. They usually take up a defensive position and when the position is compromised they attack.
source - www.dogattackclaim.co.uk
4. Improvised Explosive Device Detection
Improvised explosive devices or IEDs are the main cause of death of soldiers. However, dogs’ ability to sniff out these improvised explosives has saved many lives. Dogs undergo special training spanning several months for effectively identifying such devices.
source - http://blogs.militarytimes.com/
5. Black Ops
Black Ops combat dogs are the elite of the canine military. These unique dogs are equipped with tactical assault vests and ‘doggles’. They are fully armed with gadgets to relay information to their human partners and see with infrared vision to detect human heat forms. These vests also protect the dogs from shrapnel and close-quarter combat.
souce - dvice.com
6. Red Cross
Also known as ambulance dogs, Red Cross dogs were trained to find wounded soldiers and bring them help. They were very effective because such operations were conducted only during the night when medics could not locate every wounded soldier. With their enhanced sense of smell and hearing, ambulance dogs helped save many lives.
source - www.commons.wikimedia.org
Dogs are trained to parachute out of planes and helicopters along with human troops. This is very advantageous because they can immediately start working as soon as they touch ground. These dogs go on missions to gather intelligence, sniff out mines and act as watchdogs. The dogs are muzzled so that they don’t accidentally bite their tongue mid-air.
source - www.benbugunbunuogrendim.blogspot.com
In a very cruel attempt at disabling enemy tanks, dogs used to be strapped with explosives and were trained to do underneath tanks. Their masters then detonated the explosives, also killing the dogs. During both world wars, dogs could not be trained to leave the bombs under the tanks and come back. So, officials decided to turn them into suicide dogs.
source - www.todayifoundout.com
Dogs are faster, smaller and can move on any kind of terrain better than humans. Thus, training dogs to deliver messages from the front to the headquarters was an obvious decision. Even if all means of communication fail, dogs can be relied upon to deliver important messages. In an amazing example, a messenger dog travelled approximately 4 kilometers over terrain classed as “very difficult” in under 60 minutes.
Source - www.smh.com.au
10. Post Service
After serving in wars, these brave dogs of wars often suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and are sent back home to dog psychologists. When they fully recover, they are sent back on the field. It must be noted that all war dogs are trained with positive reinforcement; they love what they do. However, when the dogs become 7 or 8 years old, they are relieved of their duties, after receiving stars and badges. For these dogs retirement means getting adopted by their handlers’ family or doing police work if they are fit enough.
source - www.dailymail.co.uk
There are many more roles that war dogs play that help the military when humans cannot. These courageous canine combatants are no less than their human counterparts and deserve equal recognition. After all, they too give their lives for their country.