By Kerstin Lopez August 11, 2011
FORT CARSON, Colo. -- Military and civilian K-9 units came together for a two-day training exercise to exchange ideas and techniques Aug. 2-3.
Fort Carson’s Range 150 was littered with more than 40 dog handler teams for the K-9 Palooza.
The event is designed to organize joint working dog training between military and civilian police K-9 agencies in an effort to combine training techniques and tactics for all K-9 teams to be exposed to various training styles used around the country, said Sgt. 1st Class Thomas Macagg, 148th Military Police Detachment, 759th MP Battalion military working dog kennel master.
“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.
The two-day exercise took place at Range 150, which houses a large military operations in urban terrain training site with several multistory furnished buildings, underground tunnels, staged vehicles, roadways and open areas. K-9 teams participated in explosive and narcotics detection, building searches, scouting, open area, barricaded suspect, SWAT integration and scenario lanes.
“These events help to bring several training techniques together and to be shared by all that attend. Civilian dog handlers train differently than the Army and the Army has different training techniques at each installation,” Macagg said.
“The overall benefit that our Fort Carson handlers receive is to see what a broad spectrum the K-9 world has to offer and make them aware that there are countless ways to train and utilize working dogs,” Macagg said.
Beck Leider, Lakewood Police Department, who attended the K-9 Palooza event with his working dog, Blesk, said the event exposes the handlers and the dogs to situations they may not be prepared for otherwise.
“This is fantastic. If you don’t expose the dog to different environments and then start to deploy them in that area, you’re going to set yourself up for failure. If the dog hasn’t been exposed to it, you can’t ask him to do it. So coming down to different areas with the music going, the smoke, the gunfire " now that he’s been exposed to it, it’s no big deal,” Leider said.
Staff Sgt. Kimberly McTernan, 148th MP, 759th MP Bn., said having the civilian dog teams present added a valuable element to the training.
“I love it " it’s great. It’s nice we have a lot of outside agencies helping out,” McTernan said.
“This event was a total success. When you can bring in outside agencies, other Army installations and the Air Force, it sets a stage for some great training, and that is what happened,” Macagg said.