By Sgt. Michael Maddox
Sarajevo - Many tasks are alike throughout the nations that make up SFOR and the training of military dogs is no exception. During a two-week train-up prior to a demonstration, German, Swiss, French, Italian and U.S. dog handlers learned that while their four-legged friends may understand different languages, they all know how to perform their jobs.
Sgt. Maj. Christian Cigolini, kennel master for the French Detair who
sponsored the event, said the training serves several purposes
"It is to bring all of the nationalities together and to show that even though we have a language barrier, we still speak the same language - the language of the dogs," he added.
"The French use dogs in patrols every night," he said. "Every night we have people that go on patrol everywhere in the airport. The patrol is always three or four men and there is always one dog."
He said the first step to working well with the animals is to build a good relationship.
"To have a dog, you just need to love animals. For the training it's a relationship between me and my dog. We are friends. Everywhere I go I try to have it with me. For the training I always say, 'Yes, it's very good' and afterwards it will do what I want," said Cigolini.
During the training, the soldiers practised many tasks like care and
maintenance of the animals, obedience, muzzle attacks to build the dog's
aggression, costume exercises with the dogs, vehicle entries, apprehensions
"It's been a real eye-opener," he said. "You learn
from everyone, from what other people do with their dogs to what happens
with your dog and get feedback from four different nations." Other
soldiers agreed with Samuels.
"The training is very good here. This is no problem. The standard is the same. The only problem is talking, but the rest is very good, said Swiss Lance Cpl. Bernhard Rolli.