I’m a Dog, and I am bred for Military Training

Crystal Davis

Service working dogs are very rarely ever featured in the news. They are often forgotten

about within the whirlwind of it all and often times become strays after all is said and done. Each

year, the Department of Defense (DoD) enrolls a list of dogs that are specifically qualified and

bred to be trained as service working dogs.

The 37th Training Wing is the upper organization that hosts the Department of Defense’s

Military Working Dog School (MWDS). Dogs that are trained through this school are used for

patrol, drug, and explosive detection and specialized mission functions for the DoD. The MWDS

is also responsible for breeding these animals for their specific occupation.

The DoD Military Working Dog Breeding Program is the key point when choosing

which dogs are qualified on becoming working dogs. Foster Puppy Consultant, Military Working

Dog Trainer, and Consignment Tester, Justin Treml, of the United States Navy explained during

a phone interview the procedure that is followed in order to choose a potential military working


“There are so many different dynamics on becoming a service military working dog.

There are two ways that the working dog is brought into the 340 (breeding center): one way, we

go over to Europe a couple times are year and take dogs that are trained to pass the test (to

become a military working dog) – they must have a strong environmental ability, the ability to

hunt, and the ability to bite someone who is wearing a threat guard. From that point, it gets

medically evaluated, brought back to America and trained in DTS (dog training school).”

As a trainer, Treml explained that he can coach his dog to bite a person, and can tell his

dog to release the suspect on command. He also explained that if he were to send the dog he is

training on a person he can tell the dog to stop, and that would be considered as a standoff. When

dogs become mentally qualified and trained, they stop their initial task at the drop of a dime.

“The second way is through breeding: there are two different ways to align a male and

female dog. We match the Stud (male dog) and the Bitch (female dog) that will result in the best

outcome. There is also an algorithm that puts the dog through a calculation where they match up

pairs. We put the dogs under a behavioral test that determine the strength of their bite, their

ability to hunt, and how socially strong they are. Those dogs might be paired with a nice quality

and sound female to make a nice even-plated dog,” Treml said.

He then proceeded to explain the process after the puppies are bred. Once the puppies are

born, they are initially put in a whelping facility. After they are six weeks of age, they leave the

whelping center and are given to a foster family for six months. During their time at a foster

home they learn how to socialize and how to emotionally cope being with a family.

“The emotional reflection of being put through a transition, being able to play and work

is something that we try to instill into them at a very young age,” Treml explained.

Dogs that are in foster homes are brought out to local events, high school games, and


Treml said that “The more environmentally sound they are like walking up stairs, (being

in) any type of environment they can be exposed to at an early age will make them more

confident. At seven months they are returned to us.”

However, Treml said that not all dogs that are trained are actually qualified for the job.

“Not every dog has it in their heart to become a military working dog. The foster family

gets first dibs. They are nonaffiliated people. Some dogs just don’t have it in them, but they’re a

great pet. That is our contribution, not everyone gets them but there are some that do,” Treml


When asked if military working dogs were a priority during war tours, Treml explained

that the medical evacuation for a dog is a main priority.

“They lived in the tent with us and I kept my dog with me. I had a military working dog;

her name is Luca p578 (military working dog social security number). As a trainer and a handler,

your quality and ability to train a dog is really shown in a field. Until something really happens

you will never really know. Putting your life with thirteen other people behind you, their lives

are in your hands. My last tour with her I received a bronze star with her (Luca). She found 3500

lbs. of explosives. If she wouldn’t have been there people would have been blown up. She is an

awesome dog. We don’t leave a dog behind, we don’t abuse them, and we want to show all the

care we put into them,” Treml said wholeheartedly.



Professor Broderick