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Special operations military working dogs

Military working dogs
Special operations military working dogs provide specialised detection, tracking, early warning and protection capabilities in support of special operations.

Military working dogs provide Special Operations Command (SOCOMD) with specialist sensory, detection and protection capabilities to counter numerous threats across a range of environments – both domestically and overseas. This is achieved through highly trained military working dog and handler teams. 

Dogs provide a sense of smell and hearing far superior to that of a human, are obedient and responsive when well trained, and can operate effectively for extended periods. 

The special operations military working dogs (SOMWD) are a variety of breeds and ages, and are sourced directly from breeders or animal rescue organisations. Mixed breeds have shown to be just as effective in explosive detection dogs as pure-bred dogs. Some roles do require dogs to be fit for purpose and suitable for employment in specific operational environments. 

When selecting military working dogs for special operations duties, experienced dog trainers select certain traits and tendencies that will ensure the dogs are optimised for particular roles, rather than selection based on particular breeds, age or sex. 

Selected dogs are then trialled for various roles within SOCOMD and, if successful, are posted into SOCOMD units for training and employment.

Special operations military working dogs form a very close relationship with their designated handler and, indeed, with all personnel within the units they are posted to, and are regarded as an integral component of their respective units. 

Special operations military working dogs perform several roles:

  • Detection – explosive or narcotics detection
  • Tracking – primarily of adversary movements in an area of operations
  • Early warning – of adversary positions
  • Asset and personnel protection – the psychological effects of dogs on adversaries.
Last updated
19 March 2019
Army: Courage. Initiative. Respect. Teamwork.
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