The 341st Training Squadron at JBSA-Lackland is the only military working dogs training facility in the Department of Defense. Since the 1950s, their main focus has been to provide training to military working dogs (MWDs). These dogs are trained in patrol, drug and explosive detection, and other specialized missions for the Department of Defense.
Per the Department of Defense, about 2,500 military working dogs are in service today.
Dogs bred at the 341st Training Squadron in hopes of becoming MWDs stay at the Military Working Dog Center. Puppy Development Specialists start working with these future MWDs at birth by exposing them to various stimulations and activities in preparation. They undergo extensive training and a rigorous assessment before being chosen to be an MWD.
To become an MWD handler, you must be a dog lover and have physical and mental toughness. Many handlers have similar duties to civilian police officers and train dog teams in all aspects of canine law enforcement. In addition, you must already be a Security Forces specialist with a minimum of 18 months of service, have training in law enforcement and combat tactics, and pass an 11-week course to join an MWD team.
Dogs that don’t meet the criteria become available for adoption. The younger dogs that are available are often the dogs that don’t pass training, while there is also a selection of older dogs that are retired or utilized in training new handlers. Some of the dogs available may have medical issues that prevent them from furthering their MWD work. The most common breeds available for adoption include German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois, and occasionally Labrador Retrievers or German Shorthaired Pointers.
Last year, the 341st Training Squadron hosted its first military working dog expo, showcasing their adoption and breeding programs and the valuable skill sets of the MWDs and trainers. This was an excellent opportunity to gain exposure and provide opportunities for the public to foster and adopt dogs.
If you’re interested in adoption, here are the basic adoption requirements: