At the dog pound in Hatzor, IAF soldiers live together with four-legged fighters. From the time they are puppies, the dogs grow up next to the soldiers of the dog pound who train them for current defense missions on bases throughout the force, where it is hard not to notice who the dogs’ best friend is
Today marks World Animal Day and there is no better time to catch a glimpse of the unit where uniform-wearing soldiers and four-legged creatures cooperate with one another. At the Cynology School in the airbase in Hatzor, soldiers from the force train dogs for defense missions on bases and detection of explosive materials. The soldiers who serve in the dog pound accompany the furry fighters from their first years as puppies through the training process for the future job until they age into retirement.
During the dogs’ first years, the soldiers function as second parents to the young puppies. They take care of their education, play with them and pamper them. With the help of the soldiers, the puppies prepare for the long training process where they will mature. From there, the coaches will learn about the nature of the puppies to match them up appropriately with the missions of the force.
The training of the four-legged fighters is divided into two parts: dog chasing training and TNT detection training. In dog chasing training, the dogs learn to stop any infiltration attempts of suspects into airbases of the force, while in TNT training they learn how to check suspicious vehicles, dense vegetation, etc. “Every dog is placed in the track that suits him, based on certain qualities that characterize him”, explains Ben, a TNT trainer for dogs, in an interview with IAF Magazine. “Dogs in TNT detection training, for example, need to be dogs that know how to take disappointment. Because explosives are not always hidden in the places where they sniff, they see it as a disappointment and need to know how to deal with it. “