Story and photo by Kerstin Lopez
The Fort Carson military working dog unit and more than 50 local area K-9 agencies came together for a joint training exercise Dec. 14-15 to share knowledge and exchange techniques in the K-9 handler field.
The exercise was a way to organize joint working-dog training between military and local Colorado civilian police K-9 agencies in an effort to combine training techniques and tactics to better all K-9 teams, said Sgt. 1st Class Thomas Macagg, 759th Military Police Battalion military working dog kennel master. It’s designed to better familiarize handler, dog and team with civilian and military training styles to enhance exposure in various training problems for real-world missions, he said.
“This will be a great training exercise for dog handlers and trainers alike. A place for knowledge and experience to come together and be taught to less experienced personnel. This will be a fun and exciting exercise filled with a plethora of knowledge to be passed on,” Macagg said.
Training was conducted at ranges 60 and 150, which house the military operations on urban terrain sites consisting of multistory furnished buildings with underground tunnels, vehicles, roadways and large open areas.
Training exercises at the MOUT sites included explosive and narcotics detection, building searches, scouting, open area, barricaded suspect, scenario lanes and swat integration.
“We hosted an event last November and had over 65 dog teams here for training. I like to host or attend these events to talk with other trainers and handlers on the training techniques they use,” Macagg said.
“It helps to further young handlers’ knowledge so they understand how others work and train dogs. Everyone has their own way.”
Terry Brown, Colorado Department of Corrections K-9 handler, and his dog, Hans, have been working together for five years. Brown said the exercise is a great way to have civilian and military entities work together and learn from one another.
“This is excellent training,” Brown said.
Jeff Uhrlaub, accompanied by his drug and patrol dog, Denali, traveled from his native Lakewood Police Department to join in the training exercise at Carson.
“This is a great training event to expose the dogs to new environments and new situations – the more you can expose them to, the better,” Uhrlaub said.
“It’s a good exercise – outstanding,” Dunn said.