October 13, 2016
The Department of Defense has many Military Working Dogs that help keep our service members safe.
Some of these animals are trained in drug detection, others in explosive detection and some for patrol work. Others have special training for detecting specific items such as mines. These animals often begin their careers between the ages of 1 and 3 years old. Each dog is paired with a handler, who works with the dog during his or her time at a specific duty station. Some handlers stay with the same dog their entire working career, including deployments and permanent change of station moves.
So when does a MWD become retired from performing their day-to-day duties?
Each dog has a unique situation. All animals undergo a disposition process, where they are considered for either a training or medical retirement. Some dogs that do not pass certain training programs or that have had their program discontinued will be retired through a training disposition. Often these dogs are younger and have only served for a short time.