The uses and capabilities of dogs in warfare have varied over the years, largely depending on the threat and the nature of the conflict. Based on burial grounds and other archeological finds, man has used dogs to his advantage for hunting and protection as far back as science can account for. It stands to reason that when combat started to take place, he continued to use these animals to give him an advantage.
[pullquote_right]The thought of an animal traveling balls to the wall toward you with his mouth wide open and the intent to destroy you is one that probably should make you think twice.[/pullquote_right]
The earliest recorded society that used dogs in combat were the Egyptians. To what extent they were used is debatable, but subsequent civilizations used them for a multitude of purposes. They really are timeless in their multi-purpose functionality. They have been used to carry objects, alert intruders or track their way to the enemy. They have been relied on to defend against other attack type canines that are sent against the forces they are with. Dogs have been used to cut off supply routes of enemy forces, and even attack and neutralize mounted forces in some instances. As technology advances, so does the capability of the warrior dogs that we utilize today.
With the current threats our troops face, the focus of modern era combat dogs is to have the ability to detect explosives at safe distances, track and neutralize enemy fighters, and locate fighting positions well ahead of our troops. These capabilities remove a large degree of the human danger element, but they are also considerably faster, more efficient, and much quieter than humans in doing so.
These animals have chests full of combat tools. However, of all capabilities in the war dog arsenal, one aspect seems to always get peoples attention the most: their ability to instill fear and have a psychological impact toward the opposition has always been one of their greatest attributes.
The thought of an animal traveling balls to the wall toward you with his mouth wide open and the intent to destroy you is one that probably should make you think twice.
I equate it to trying to catch a 70 lb medicine ball with teeth that is moving 30 mph. It is impossible to try to do justice in explanation of what it is to go through one of these scenarios. Until you have been through it, it is just simply not something you can truly grasp.
It is without question something special to experience – when the eyes of a war dog are trained on you, burning straight through your soul, with his intentions absolutely clear on what his purpose is. There is not an ounce of doubt as to his determination to succeed, nor any wavering in his drive and will to impose punishment on you.
What makes these animals truly unique however, is the clearheadedness they possess to know when it’s time to work and when it isn’t. They have an uncanny ability to interpret body language and threats, and know which to pay attention to and which to ignore.
Dogs have aided us since the beginning of time as we know it, and I don’t foresee our dependence on them lessening any time soon. They are responsible for saving countless lives on the battlefield, but also provide some much-needed companionship in the most dire of times. At the risk of sounding cliché, they truly are man’s best friend.