Military dog proves to be more than a partner

By Brian Brennan | bbrennan@8newsnow.com, Mark Mutchler

Published 09/01 2015 08:00PM

Updated 09/01 2015 08:00PM

No doubt you love your dog, but you might not want to put your life in his paws. However, it's a different story with military dogs. They play an important role protecting lives at Nellis Air Force Base and when solders are in unpredictable hostile territory.

The canines at the base do more before 9 a.m. than most dogs do all week.

"We basically work as the K-9 unit for the security forces squadron," said Nellis Airman Andrew Woodard, military dog handler.

He trains military working dogs. His partner is Prada.

She's no lap dog. She is born and bred to be the ultimate soldier.

"She's a puppy program dog, which means she was born and bred at Lackland Air Force Base. They focus on socialization first and then teaching the core task," Woodard said.

8 News NOW went behind the security line to see Prada in action.

A military working dog needs to be able to detect bombs and protect the base.

"We're going to show you the patrol capabilities, what we call the six phases of aggression," Woodard said.

Prada can chase down a suspect and bring him or her to the ground, bite on command and stop the attack with just one word from Woodard.

She even watches his back.

The team is ready for anything and can deploy with almost any branch of the military.

"We just got back in April from a nine-month tour in Afghanistan with the U.S. Army," Woodard said.

He says it started as a working relationship, but she ended up a member of the family.

"If we didn't have that type of connection, we definitely found it in Afghanistan. She slept on my bed every night," Woodard said.

As is the case with many units overseas, a strong bond of friendship was formed.

"I got very lucky with her. She's a very smart and motivated dog," he said.

Woodard says military working dogs are held to a high standard, but they still respond best to toys and love just like an average dog.

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