Alaska e-Post online

Weeklong training certifies Wainwright’s newest canine teams

Sgt. Hector Perez resists as Aris, a military working dog, tries to apprehend him during bite training certification.

Story, photo by Pvt. Howard Ketter
20th PAD

Two K-9 military police officers trained their dogs for a certification test Monday through today.

Sgt. 1st Class Lawrence Wolfe, a member of 28th Military Police Detachment and kennel-master of U.S. Army Alaska, supervised Sgt. Hector Perez and Spc. Tabitha Pindell, also of 28th MP Det., for the test. Their partners, Aris and Bad, are narcotics-trained German shepherds.

Perez and his partner, Bad, have been working together for one month. Bad works fast, “I’ve got to keep up with him — he’s full of energy,” Perez said.

Perez and Pindell graduated from the Military Working Dog School at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. After working with dogs in the Fort Wainwright kennel, both Soldiers said they discovered they wanted to be K9 MPs.

Aris and Bad both came from the MWD School at Lackland and have met requirements to certify.

Besides the certification with their handlers, the dogs must also meet weight standards according to their body size. They are weighed twice a month, their teeth are cleaned once every year and they visit a veterinarian twice a year.

Their training May 1 included a narcotics search and bite work. Wolfe, the evaluator, planted four different types of drugs throughout the Training and Audiovisual Center.

Wolfe said in order to certify, the dogs must find 90 percent of the hidden drugs. Both teams found all four samples. A chew toy was Bad and Aris’ reward each time they found a sample.

“The toys are motivation for the dogs to find the narcotics,” Perez said. “They don’t usually get treats (to help them) work harder.”

After searching for drugs, the handlers and their partners practiced bite work.

During this training, a handler played the part of a suspect and wore a protective sleeve on his arm to prevent the dogs from actually biting them.

The other handler would restrain the dog until the training began. Perez said the dogs know what the sleeve means.

When the dogs see the bite sleeve they start to salivate, become very excited and their body posture changes. They tighten up like a coiled spring, ready to explode onto their target.

Once the suspect put the sleeve on he jogged about 20 yards away, the handler then released the dog to subdue the person.

Once subdued, the handler commanded the dog to release his hold on the suspect. The dog then continued to watch the person.

Aris made sure the suspect didn’t make any sudden or aggressive movement.

“All it takes it one wrong move by the suspect and the dogs will latch back onto the sleeve,” Pindell said.

After certifying, each team will be cleared to participate in searches of vehicles, barracks, and offices, ensuring the well-being and safety of Soldiers, families and Fort Wainwright civilians.