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Thursday, November 2, 2017
NAVY SEAL DOGS: MY TALE of TRAINING CANINES for COMBAT by Mike Ritland
Published in 2013 by St. Martin's Press.
Mike Ritland served as a Navy SEAL, became a trainer of SEALs and eventually moved into training dogs that work with SEALs - the most elite of all service dogs.
While they look a lot like German Shepherds, Ritland points out that the SEALs usually use Dutch Shepherds or Belgian Malinois - breeds that are lighter, leaner and even more trainable. He describes how they sort out only the most focused dogs and then spend months training them to do things that most dogs would never do - like ride in helicopters, jump out of planes, fight people (but stop on command) and chase down a target through and over everything and be able to sniff out specific odors, like bomb-making materials.
Ritland's stories of training and combat are interesting and sometimes touching, especially the stories of the soldiers bonding with the dogs in their down time (the dogs are supposed to be segregated from the rest of the soldiers, but oftentimes they hang out with them and sleep in their cots - a little bit of normalcy in the middle of a war zone).
The book also includes a "Brief History of Canines in Combat" as an afterward.
I rate this book 4 stars out of 5.
This book can be found on Amazon.com here: NAVY SEAL DOGS: MY TALE of TRAINING CANINES for COMBAT by Mike Ritland.