Michael Ritland's description of his work with military working dogs (MWDs) and the SEAL teams is fascinating. He tells about how he came to serve as a SEAL and then his transition to working as a canine handler and trainer. Many dogs and their handlers are profiled and examples of their missions are shared. The training required for the SEALS and their canine partners is laid out in impressive detail. Everything from the breeds best suited for this type of work, to early conditioning, to their performance in the field is explained. There is a section on the Warrior Dog Foundation that helps to care for "retired" military working dogs. An appendix covers the history of dogs in combat through WWI,WWI, the Korean and Vietnam Wars, and the resurgence of their use following 9/11. A glossary is provided for readers who are not familiar with military jargon; there is also a list of references.
This is not a training manual, or strictly military history. Ritland has made the explanation of how military working dogs and train and serve their country into a captivating story. The details he includes of how the various handlers came to that position during their military career and descriptions of their bonds with their canine partners are inspirational. Anyone reading this book will realize that you can't just join the military and then get to play with dogs all day. It is a mentally and physically demanding job and you must be highly-trained to qualify for a chance at the assignment. If you are interested in what today's military is like, or have ever wondered what MWDs do, then you should read this. You can also find more information on the website for The Warrior Dog Foundation.
I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley. It will go on sale on October 29, 2013.