Trust, foundation to trainer-working dog partnership
January 21, 2010
<b>FORWARD OPERATING BASE WARRIOR, Iraq - </b> Sergeant 1st Class Canto, a Patrol/Explosive Detection Dog, sits at the feet of his handler, Staff Sgt. Larry Chartier, and waits for his command.
Staff Sergeant Chartier, with the 230th Military Police Compan from Kaiserslautern, Germany, just says, "watch him" and immediately the dog's attention snaps to the volunteer "criminal" wearing a bite sleeve, who is moving aggressively toward the pair.
A moment later Staff Sgt. Chartier says "get him" and Sgt. 1st Class Canto is chasing the alleged criminal and defending his partner.
Soon after Sgt. 1st Class Canto grabs onto the bite sleeve, the "criminal" gives up and Staff Sgt. Chartier tells his partner to "release" then throws Sgt. 1st Class Canto what he was working for - a bright yellow tennis ball.
It is so easy to make Sgt. 1st Class Canto a happy dog, said Staff Sgt. Chartier, a Saranac, N.Y., native.
"He is still a puppy, very playful and smart," he said. "My partner already knows he receives a reward for working."
Even though Sgt. 1st Class Canto is working for a toy, his keen sense of smell and level of training make him priceless to his fellow Soldiers.
"Sometimes I wish these military working dogs knew how important they are to our mission," said Staff Sgt. Chartier.
Sergeant 1st Class Canto is the key to keeping Soldiers safe during a patrol, according to Staff Sgt. Chartier.
This Military Working Dog is able to pick up on explosives during a patrol before the Soldiers go into a life-threatening zone.
When Sgt. 1st Class Canto locates anything dangerous, Staff Sgt. Chartier knows immediately.
"It shows the relationship we have," said Staff Sgt. Chartier. "I can tell when he has found something, and he can tell if I need his protection in some way."
To get to this point, it takes a lot of trust and respect for one another.
Even though the partners can't hold a conversation with one another, the trust and respect they have for each other is clear.
The relationship the two have can be credited a lot to their deployment - while deployed they train, sleep, eat and play together.
This relationship will continue to grow throughout the rest of their deployment to Forward Operating Base Warrior, while they assist the Soldiers of 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, along with their Iraqi Security Force partners, in the search for explosive devices and the capturing of insurgents.