Navy SEAL Dogs: My Tale of Training Canines for Combat

Posted: Friday, May 16, 2014, 8:31 am

In brief


There are about 600 military working dogs. They are smart, strong and aggressive. I don't want to meet one.

For a dog-lover like me, this is an intriguing read. I have a lazy, old basset hound that I can hardly train to sit. I had no idea of all the work that goes into training a dog to sniff out explosives and attack on command. Mike Ritland's training requirements for Navy SEALS and their canine partners is laid out in impressive detail. I never want to own a military working dog (MWD), but I certainly respect everything they can and will do for my country.

This book may not be for everyone. I am currently in love with military books and this has lots of military stuff in it. Ritland was a smallish child and worked very hard to become a Navy SEAL. He would have been content in that role until one mission where he worked with a MWD. At that moment, he knew he was meant to train them. The first part of the book describes how he trains dogs for the Navy SEALS.

In the second half of the book, each chapter starts with a Navy SEAL retelling a mission that happened with their dog. I find the missions fascinating. It's interesting to see how the dogs work, how they can change their breathing in order to search, how they handle different kinds of weather conditions, how the Navy SEALS teach them to swim for long lengths of time and how they get a dog to jump out of a helicopter. I was intrigued by how these dogs and handlers integrate themselves into the Navy SEAL teams. Not everyone is excited about having a dog join their team. It's outstanding to see how they win over the hearts and minds of their fellow warriors.

If you have a 10-year-old (or older) child who wants to read about some superior dogs, this is the book for them. For adults, I recommend Ritland's Trident K9 Warriors: My Tale from the Training Ground to the Battlefield with Elite Navy SEAL Canines.