The United States Military has dealt with canines and working dogs of various kinds since the beginning of World War II.
Since then different units of Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and other services have used Dog units in various types of work. Dog handlers and their canine charges have served faithfully to protect and defend the United States in many different ways. Military Canine Dog units are comprised of a working military Dog, and their handler. The military K-9 dog handling team is one of the closest examples of loyalty and devotion in action in the military world. Both the military handler and their animal are highly trained, to develop and accomplish a variety of missions as assigned.
Both Military Dogs and their handlers are matched together, and both progress through a highly specialized training program. The program normally lasts for three months, and the dog handler and animal form a close-knit working and personal relationship that extends to all areas or their relationship. Many times personnel are experienced in the security field are selected to work with a K-9 animal. The first step is to build rapport, they spend hours just walking and getting to know one another. After the dog and handler bond is formed, the next step is obedience training, followed by different types of specialized training, depending on the mission the dog team is bound for.
Military Dog handling units handle missions that range from drug sniffing, drug detection, and missions such as bomb detection. Besides drugs and bombs, there are a number of different missions that military dogs participate in. Military Dog K-9 units can deploy anywhere that U.S. Military Servicemembers are deployed, as well as being assigned on detachment with various other agencies of the United States Government. Most of the breeds that are selected for K-9 units have to be able to handle different environmental and climate conditions. For this reason German Shepherds and Belgian Malanois are often the two top breeds used for this kind of service work in the Military. K-9 Units are used in Southeast Asia, the Balkans, and throughout the US Military, serving as explosive detection teams, sentries, drug detection teams, and other missions. The US Customs Service and DEA are among the agencies that use US Military K-9 dog teams.