JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. –
Military working dogs have many jobs such as finding bombs, explosives and people, which are vital to keeping people and the base safe.
When most people think of a MWD, they think of German Shepherds, but there are other breeds, such as Labradors and Belgian Malinois, that serve in the military.
Staff Sgt. Jenings Casey, a military working dog trainer assigned to the 628th Security Forces Squadron, said Joint Base Charleston recently got a Labrador named Freddy. She was originally in the Marine Corps, but they recently downsized their military working dog section and the Air Force took in multiple labs. She is currently the only lab at JB Charleston.
“Freddy is a good dog,” he said. “She's different from some of our other dogs because we never taught her bite work, which changes her behavior and makes her friendlier. She's a lot more social and interactive and she's allowed to be pet.”
Even though JB Charleston traditionally had German Shepherds, Casey believes Freddy is a good fit for the JB Charleston MWD section.
“Labs have a better working endurance than a German Shepherd because a shepherd will work, and work, and work, and then see a tree where there is shade and go lay down in it.” said Casey. “You don't typically have that with Labs because they are out there to work.”
Staff Sgt. Jake Mikell, a military working dog trainer assigned to the 628th SFS, believes that MWDs are a vital asset to the military and cannot be replaced.
“It's 2020 and they have yet to find something that works as good as a dog,” he said. “We have all this equipment and technology, yet nothing works better than a dog that we can train. Essentially, it saves tons of time, money and effort. With some of the equipment that we do try to use, it takes time to scan it and dissect it, but with my dog, I can walk it around in less than a minute and I know that there is nothing there.”
Casey said Freddy already excels in areas in which MWD handlers have to work very hard with other dogs.
“It was a cool email to get because I have worked with a Lab in school but not worked with one in real life,” said Casey. “She is already trained on some of the things we try to push our dogs to do like pushing off-leash and going further out. She is already trained to do it all on her own. We are excited to have her.”