Sunday, October 26, 2008

Single Use Bomb Dogs

I happened to turn on Animal Planet this morning to see "K9 to 5". Today explosives detection dogs of the Royal Air Force in Great Britain were featured. Imagine my surprise to see that the BOMB dogs are trained to use an AGGRESSIVE indication!! This means that when they find explosives, they scratch and dig at the location to signal detection. Can you say "Ka-BOOM?" I watched in amazement as the trainer placed the explosive material in a plastic tube "to prevent the dog from ingesting it". That was my first clue that this was not going to be good. Eat the explosives?? yikes. He then placed the tube under some rocks and the yellow labrador was sent to locate it. The dog scratched at the rocks and the handler quickly called him back. The trainer then inquired if the handler would like to send the dog for a "self retrieve", and the dog was released to return, scratch and dig up the tube and play with it, with the handler. The trainer advised that, sadly, they had had several of their dogs killed by bombs in Iraq. I can see how that might happen! How difficult it must be to train and love a dog and know that your training methods might likely cause its death?