Military working dogs begin physical training
By Airman 1st Class Marcy Glass, 460th Space Public Affairs
/ Published March 07, 2011
BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Sprinting down the track you see something a little out of the norm for a typical military training day. Running side by side are Buckley's Security Forces members and their Military Working Dogs. Buckley is one of very few bases that are instituting a test program for the Air Force. Direct from Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, the new program is designed to increase the MWD's health, maintain their well being and ensure the dogs are physically fit for deployment.
"We build the dog's strength with the strength training program," said Staff Sgt. Rick Laird, 460th Security Forces Squadron, who is in charge of Buckley's program.
At this point the program consists of strength and endurance conditioning for the dogs. The strength program consists of activities such as power fetch, obstacle work, pulls, center line drills, weight pulls. The program also includes endurance. The endurance phase consists of brisk walks, runs, walk then a jog. As the military working dogs improve their physical fitness, the length of time they work out increases.
"The program ensures we send the most physically fit dogs to a combat zone," Sergeant Laird said. "I also want to ensure that we have physically fit dogs state-side as well. We want to make sure that they are physically fit, and to properly maintain their health and well being."
So far, both the MWDs and their partners are excited about the program.
"I LOVE IT....I love the fact that I am able to PT with our K-9's. When we are down and do not feel like running they are always up for it. Like today when we were running, he started pulling me like hey dad, come on let's go," said Staff Sgt. David Duritsky, 460th Security Forces Squadron military working dog handler.
Sergeant Duritsky and his new partner, Pier, are one of the teams taking part in the test program.
"We PT four times a week and my wife gets upset because I do more exercising with Pier then I do with our dog at home, and I tell her it's for a good cause," said Sergeant Duritsky.
Though they have to PT like every other service member, MWDs don't have to PT test quite yet.
" Buckley is using this program as a test program direct from Lackland, so at this time we are just looking at this to better the health of our working dogs for when they deploy down range," said Sergeant Laird.