Photo Information

Cpl. Nickolaus Hess, a military working dog handler with the Provost Marshal’s Office, commands Azra, Hess’ military working dog, to sniff the bottom of the door during building clearing training, Jan. 12, 2015, aboard Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan. Military working dogs use their sense of smell to find suspicious substances or suspects.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Carlos Cruz

Military working dogs benefit military police

12 Jan 2015 | Lance Cpl. Carlos Cruz Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan

Military police with the Provost Marshal’s Office executed military working dog basic training and building searches, Jan. 12, 2015, at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan.

The training helps the dogs become more familiar with working alongside their handler, according to Cpl. Nickolaus Hess, a military working dog handler with PMO.

“All the training we do with the dogs prepares them for real life scenarios,” said Lance Cpl. John D. Barron, a military working dog handler with PMO. “I have to be able to trust that (my dog) knows exactly what he’s supposed to be doing.”

Before the dog handlers can trust their dogs, they have to make certain they will obey their commands, said Barron.

“We use the obedience course for two things; basic command, which is training the dog to obey both verbal and nonverbal commands, and it’s also used as physical training because the dogs need to exercise just like humans do,” said Hess.

Working dogs benefit military policemen significantly by helping them perform their job much more efficiently, according to Hess.

“In terms of finding substances or suspects, nothing we have is going to beat a dog’s sense of smell,” said Hess. “The dogs will find anything way before we can.”

Each dog is paired with one handler because building friendship between the two is the most important part of their job, according to Hess.

“We train with our dogs day in and day out,” said Barron. “Even on our days off handlers will come in and train. The bond between you and your dog is what makes you successful on a mission.”

Being a dog handler is an incredible experience, he would recommend anyone to take the chance to do it if the opportunity is available to them, according to Hess.