MWDs, handlers receive new training facility

DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. – The construction of a new military working dog training facility was completed here March 1.

The facility was constructed to replace the previously outdated training grounds utilized by the MWD handlers at the 355th Security Forces Squadron.

“We had obstacles which were in very poor condition,” said Tech. Sgt. Alexandra Springman, 355th SFS kennel master. “There was concrete that was cracked and chipped, and rotted wood on our hurdles. Our tunnels were plastic (which) took a beating from the sun, and became extremely hot very quickly.”

With the summers in Arizona reaching over 100 F, Air Combat Command created a training facility to include a padded turf yard and canopy. Before the new facility was created, training sessions would have to be catered to ensure the intensity of work performance was appropriate for the rising temperatures.

“These dogs need continuous training,” Springman said. “So when we are constantly having to cut training time short due to inadequate areas during the summer months, we feel both the handlers and the dogs do not receive sufficient enough training time to achieve the desired tasks.”

The new facility has provided a drastic increase in the MWD handlers’ ability to conduct required training at a consistent tempo.

“This facility will allow us to conduct multiple small training sessions that will not exhaust the dog while maintaining a controllable working temperature,” said Staff Sgt. Carlos Orantes, 355th SFS MWD trainer. “The shade that the canopy provides allows for a controlled environment that can be up to 15 degrees cooler.”

The features offered by the new facility are especially beneficial in further enabling MWDs and their handlers to achieve mission readiness.

“This facility provides a much needed relief to some of our older MWDs, high drive MWDs, and some of our heat intolerant MWDs,” Orantes said. “Our teams still conduct training in the harshest of environments and locations to ensure they don’t fail in real world situations, but this facility is a huge facilitator to ensure rest and relief for our MWDs.”