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316th Security Support Squadron hosts “Top Dog” competition

By Airman 1st Class Bridgitte Taylor 316th Wing Public Affairs

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From sniffing simulated explosives to demonstrating who can bite the hardest, the canine participants in the Military Working Dog competition at Joint Base Andrews, Md., July 24, came prepared to showcase their training.

The quarterly competition embodied core training exercises MWD are disciplined in, such as operational and detection scenarios, tactical obedience and fitness. 

“The purpose of the competition was to try to find out who the best dog team was at JBA,” said Master Sgt. Justin Schwartz, 316th Security Support Squadron MWD Section noncommissioned officer in charge. “Basically, it determines who’s the leading MWD dog of the 28 we have.”

The competition consisted of three main parts: a shooting portion where trainers test their dog’s ability to stay focused, an explosives portion where trainers guide their MWD throughout three buildings to find simulated explosives in each one, and a hard-hitting section where K-9s are graded on their bite strength.

The judges, including Col. Tyler R. Schaff, 316th Wing and JBA commander, and Col. Ian Dinesen, 316th Security Forces Group commander, assessed the competition by monitoring and classing each K-9 according to their skills.

In the end, Staff Sgt. Samantha Frydenlund and her MWD, Rocky, won the title of JBA’s “Top Dog”, scoring the most overall points.

Given that MWDs are valuable in JBA’s mission, extensive training is required to keep them at peak performance. The competition highlighted some of the comprehensive training the dogs and their trainers experience.

“Our number one mission is explosives protection,” said Schwartz. “We are there for all foreign dignitaries who come in and out of JBA, by conducting sweeps for the president or vice president and doing 40 percent of Secret Service missions around the world.”