US War Dog Association | National Headquarters

Just What Does It Take To ‘Make’ A Military Working Dog?

A military working dog (MWD) is a canine military member who aides their handler in performing security patrols or searching for and detecting explosives and narcotics.

All MWDs, from every branch of the military, are sent to Lackland AFB, Texas for fundamental training. The training is composed of a 90-day course where the MWD is taught basic aggression and search tactics.

Training and accommodations for each dog at Lackland costs roughly $6,500. Once they graduate from initial training, the dogs are then sent to their assigned base.

When MWDs initially arrive at Shaw, they are paired up with a handler. The handler then conducts report training, which familiarizes the MWD with its new surroundings while building a mutual bond between the two.


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  1. AFM31 219 USAF military working dog program training principals for military working dog teams. Training in validation & legal aspects of explosive and drug detector dogs. Covers employment of MWD teams in law enforcement, physical security, & other operational environments.