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Airman's Best Friend

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Saomy Sabournin
  • Minot Air Force Base Public Affairs


MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- Dogs are an essential part of our military force and military working dogs and their handlers share a strong bond of trust in order to ensure the safety of those they protect.

 Minot Air Force Base, along with many other bases, use specially trained dogs to maintain the security of  the bases and its personnel. 

Handlers work with the MWDs on a daily basis, training and instructing the dogs to find various items. Training is important to build a strong cohesive bond between the handler and dog in order to be ready for real world situations. 

“It’s a slow grind every single time,” said Staff Sergeant Christian Alston, a handler at the military working dog squadron here. 

Alston has been a part of Team Minot for the last eight months and his K-9, Zana, has been at Minot for over two years. 

His responsibilities include making sure that he and his MWD are always prepared and ready to go at a moment’s notice.

 “You have to teach everything step-by-step, and nothing is just automatic,” Alston said. 

 The dogs and the handlers go through a 90-day period to prepare themselves for certifications where the duo is evaluated in order to be certified as a capable team. 

The dog/human pair goes through a course where they look for components, whether it be drugs or explosives, and must get approval for the certification by their commander. 

Alston has found the experience to be very rewarding. 

“It’s awesome because it’s a direct translation of what I’m doing right,” said Alston. “We have to be able to get the dog to be able to be self-sufficient so that’s a proud moment.”