60 Minutes: Meet America’s most elite dogs

When the bombs went off at the Boston Marathon, highly trained dogs were rushed to the scene to search for more explosives. Boston police have said dogs swept the streets in the morning and a second time just an hour before the first marathoners crossed the finish line. It’s considered likely that the bombers planted their devices well after the dogs finished sweeping the area. Since 9/11, dogs have been used more than ever because nothing has proven more effective against hidden bombs than the nose of a working dog.

The best of them serve with U.S. Special Operations and they’re in a league of their own. It’s nearly impossible to get anyone to talk about them publicly because much of what they do is classified, but we were able to talk to the people who train them for this story. We took the opportunity to ask about what might have happened in Boston while getting a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of America’s most elite dogs.

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Category: Video, War/Defense

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4 Responses to “Sniffing For Bombs: Meet America’s most elite dogs”

  1. hue says:

    The dogs of war also get PTSD

  2. Ann S says:

    Dogs trained to find things – bombs, drugs, lost people, Search and Rescue – are trained to do that by teaching it as a retireve. They are to ‘retrieve’ the thing that has a certain scent – and if they can’t pick it up, they engage in behavior that tell’s their handler they found it. In dog training parlanve, they are doing a blind (can’t see the obejct) by scent (they have to find it by scent alone.)

    The exercise is broken down into tiny small steps – teach the dog, prasie the dog when he gets it – move to next harder step. And as the dog master’s each step, they a re suceeding (and gettin a lot of physical praise – not some stupid treat) and then they wasn to do it again and again to get the praise.

    Basic skill for upper level AKC obedience competition dogs who are trained to find the one item their handler touched out of 8 identical items.

    To get them to work any place any time, one trains at each step by having the dog work in the midst of distractions. And the distractions will eventually be twice as bad what they will ever encounter.

    The take-down of the person being cahsed shown on the video is what (for well over 50 years) we call a take-down-and-hold. Baisc training for any kind of protection or patrol dog.

    Wanna teach them to jump out of airplanes? Start by holding the dog and jump off the cofffee table….and build up to it.

    All of that shown has been being taught for yonkers. Bill Koehler -WWII military dog trainer – pioneered the methods of teaching these things to any dog some 60+ years ago — and then he trained the dogs for Walt Disney in Old Yeller, Big Redy, Ugly Dachsund , Long journey home……

    Unfortuantely most people go to Petsmart and learn to wave a cookie and beg Mitsy to sit. This training is based upon the Koheler methods of show the dog, praise, make it harder, show the dog what is wanted, praise……

  3. Irwin Fletcher says:

    Great video. Thanks for sharing it.