Let Slip the Dogs of War

The phrase spoken by Mark Antony in Act 3, Scene 1, line 273 Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar notwithstanding, the two words you never want to hear at a dog show are:

Loose dog! 

Fanciers may wrangle over breed type, agility competitors might debate the wisdom of international challenges or Euro-style agility, and don’t even start with the grooming area where black dogs may be set up next to chalked breeds. When the words, “Loose dog” ring out in the air, people stop what they’re doing whether they’re in the ring or not, look around, and stand ready to catch a frightened or excited dog that has gotten away.

It is the first mantra that anyone “in” dogs learns: Dogs come first.

The world of the military K9 has its own verbiage: Short Safety, Lackland shuffle, Painters, Drop the purse, and Push Buttons – these are all terms unique to the War Dog. What that world has in common with the dog fancy, however, is, “Loose dog!” The Military working dog is probably the world’s most-highly trained canine with a natural gift of focus, and they must be controlled or in a controlled environment at all times for everyone’s safety. But when an MWD has escapes a controlled environment because they are young or startled, handlers (like us) yell “LOOSE DOG!” to alert everyone in the area.

It happens. But not often.

Photo by © Zuzana Tillerová | Dreamstime.com


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