MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (AFNS) — From vigorous barking to dashing through water-based obstacles, military working dogs and handlers with the 6th Security Forces Squadron participated in water aggression training to maintain full spectrum readiness at Adventure Island amusement park in Tampa, Florida, Oct. 29.
âWe have 7.2 miles of coastline around MacDill and we always have to be ready to patrol it,â said Tech. Sgt. Matthew McElyea, a military dog trainer assigned to the 6th SFS. âWe never stop training and itâs our job to keep our dogs engaged and excited about the job we accomplish together.â
Additionally, eight Tampa law enforcement agencies unleashed their own K9s during the joint training exercise.
âWe do this training annually,â said Eddie Durkin, Tampa Police Department public information officer. âSome dogs donât get enough exposure to water-based scenarios and this type of training gets them more confident and comfortable in the water.â
MacDillâs military working dogs, Lord, Zeno and Lleonard, participated in a wave of training scenarios involving suspect apprehension and deterrence in an unfamiliar environment.
âWe are always looking for new ways to evolve our training and be ready for any contingency situation,â McElyea said.
The event simulated three water-based scenarios, from an obstacle course to waves and large depths of water. The training fully encompassed what a military working dog might experience in the field.
âLord was outstanding in every water-based evaluation, and Zeno and Lleonard made significant progress throughout the day,â McElyea said. âThis situational training is invaluable when our dogs need to be ready to respond to anything.â
Whether itâs inside of the base or at a point of entry, MacDillâs working dog handlers and their partners continuously practice detection, bite drills, obeying commands and apprehending suspects.
âWe are the best at narcotic and bomb detection and deterrence,â McElyea said. âBut our local law enforcement agencies are experts in patrol, so collectively these joint training exercises are mutually beneficial since we can learn so much from one another.â