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Training and Education Command

United States Marine Corps
K-9 unit holds dog demo for Depot youth

By Lance Cpl. Justin J. Shemanski | | April 23, 2004

MCRD/ERR PARRIS ISLAND, S.C. -- Children from the Parris Island Youth Center came out to the Depot's dog kennels for a military working dog demonstration April 14.

Military Police with MCAS Beaufort's K-9 Unit brought out several of their dogs to educate the children as to why their canine partners are vital to military law enforcement.

According to Kendra Nance, program assistant with the Parris Island Youth Center, it was Spring Break at the youth center and its organizers were looking for interesting activities for the children to do throughout the week. A K-9 demonstration was one of the first ideas they came up with.

"We thought this would be a great way for the children to see dogs in a different light," said Nance. "They just know them as house pets and nothing else."

Nance and others at the youth center got in touch with PMO to see if something could be worked out for the children.

"The youth center called us up to arrange something, and we made it happen," said Sgt. Ryan Hanes, K-9 unit kennel master. "We got everyone together to give the kids a little demonstration with the dogs and show them what we do."

As the dogs and their handlers were preparing for the demonstration, the curious children gathered around Cpl. Morris Earnest, military working dog handler, as he explained what kind of equipment is used to train the canines and what they would be doing when they came out.

During the event, some of the dogs performed commands given by their handlers, some ran the obstacle course and others demonstrated how a military working dog subdues a suspect. In between each dog that came out, the MPs educated the children on why these dogs are much more than just ordinary house pets.

"We explained to them  that these dogs are our partners," said Hanes. "Unlike other MPs, who patrol with their partners, we patrol with these dogs."

The children learned that each dog has a specific purpose.
Some are trained to detect bombs or explosives and some are trained to detect narcotics. All of the canines are trained in bite work, which is how the dogs restrain a suspect or possible threat.

"The children really enjoyed the whole thing, and thought it was neat to see how a dog can be trained to do different things," said Nance.

According to Hanes, the amount of training the MPs and their dogs undertake is very time consuming.

"The dogs and their handlers are out here at least five or six hours a day," said Hanes. "A lot of time is spent training these dogs to make sure they are an effective addition to our force out here."

"As for what we train for, it's pretty much anything you can think of," continued Hanes. "There is a huge window of things that could happen. Anything that we could possibly encounter as police officers, we train for. But there are a lot of things you can't train for. You just have to know the basics, what you were taught, and go from there."

Hanes said they perform these demonstrations several times a month for anyone from retirement communities to schools out in town.

"It's a great way for people to see the results of the time and effort the MPs put into their canine partners," Hanes said.

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