The Air Force works to train the working Dogs for the entire United States Military. It is a program that is defined and set up so that the program that deals with the Department of Defense Military working dog program is the United States Air Force. There are many different jobs that the Air Force trains K9 dog and handler teams to perform. Members from the different services; the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps have been through the Air Force Dog Handler Team program. Recently members of the United States Coast guard and Federal departments in the United States Government have began to also take the training and be paired with Air Force K9 Dogs. There are over 1300 working Dog handler teams worldwide. Dogs are exposed to training regimes that teach both the dog and handler how to deal with different types of situations.
K9 dog handler teams are uniquely trained to be able to perform their mission, and they have unique ability to work together as man and dog, able to perform missions that neither would be able to handle on their own. Working as a team they are able to perform a number of vital support and security related missions. There are two different types of Dog handler missions as a rule, and these are: Bomb Sniffing: This is the most critical of the missions that Air Force Dogs learn, while drug detection is important, as a rule drugs don?t explode and kill people and do large scale property damage. This is an intensive program, and the dogs and handlers work hard in learning the specific methods that are used to try and slip explosives by searchers. This is the mission where the Air Force handler and his dog work to learn how to recognize and detect the presence of bombs and explosives hidden in luggage, packages and other materials.
Drug Interdiction: This is the mission where the K9 dog and their handler learn to find, detect and reveal supplies of drugs that are hidden. Much of the mission for these types of dogs are along the United States Borders, because of the sheer availability of drugs and the need for odor of drugs, the training for drug interdiction is intensive. It is done in live actual field training exercises, using real supplies of drugs and illegal narcotics and also done in the classroom.
All military dog handling teams, both in the Air Force and in the other services are trained at the 341st Squadron facility, which is known as the Dog School.