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Are there regs for GI K-9 gear? If so, what, where to find/see?

 

Depends on the time period you're talking about.

 

World War II was the first time that the US military had a working dog program, starting in 1942. There is a manual, TM 10-396 "War Dogs", that was published during World War II and that covers little bit of everything from the history of the working dog program, to feeding, to training the different types of dogs for their duties, to equipment. Equipment is covered in section III of the manual, and lists the following:

 

104. Equipment.

a. The chief equipment in the training program consists of the following:

(1) Leather leash. - This should be about 6 ft long from the end of the snap to the end of the hand loop, with a strong snap. The hand loop should be about 6 inches long (fig.14).

(2) 25-foot leather, rope, or flat-webbing long line (fig. 15).

(3) Chain choke collar, with strong welded rings. - It must be large enough to permit easy insertion of the trainer's hand between the chain and the dog's neck. The chain choke is the regular working collar (fig.16).

(4) Chainette, or throwing chain. - This is a plain chain, closed at both ends, and devoid of any sharp edges. It is used for correcting the dog at a distance from the trainer (fig.17).

(5) Movable hurdle - not pertinent, so I'm skipping this -

(6) Muzzle. - This should be available if needed for an individual dog (fig.18).

(7) Canine gas mask. - This should be available for training purposes.

 

There was also a waterproof blanket issued for use in cold and wet weather, which was a khaki canvas with leather straps and buckles. I've honestly never seen a photo of a dog actually wearing this blanket in World War II, but they are out there for collectors. I don't imagine that they were widely used.

 

Now, this all said, dog equipment did deviate quite a bit.

 

The "issue" choke collar mentioned above is similar to today's Herm Sprenger Fursaver collars, which have oblong links that prevent catching fur and matting down of fur. They actually make poor chokes as the links tend to get "stuck" when a dog is corrected and don't release quickly, but a lot of people like using them as a "heavy duty collar" by clipping the lead to both rings instead of just one.

 

WWII "issue" war dog collar (from Army image archive)

Miscellaneous023-vi.jpg

 

Beyond this style "issue" collar in World War II, you also see the rounded-link chain collars, like the modern ones most pet stores carry, prong collars, leather flat collars, and web choke collars. The web collars were used a lot in the Pacific theater since the climate posed an issue with leather and some of the metal collars.

 

Choke chain with round links (Coast Guard photo)

WorldWarTwo113-vi.jpg

 

Prong collar (from Corbis)

WorldWarTwo187-vi.jpg

 

Web slip collar (from "Dogs of War")

DogsofWar093-vi.jpg

 

Leashes are as varied as collars, and that continues on into Korea and Vietnam. In the late 1940s, I believe 1947, Ray Allen started making equipment for military working dogs. A lot of the US stamped equipment will also have Ray Allen Mfg. stamps on it. I have some Vietnam-era dog blankets that have data plates with stock numbers and the Ray Allen logo on them, dated 1969 and 1971, respectively. I also have a more recent one, dated 1980, that has the Ray Allen logo on it, but no stock number. They're essentially identical, except that the 1980s one has nylon edging.

 

1969 cold weather blanket

DogCoat001-vi.jpg

 

1980 cold weather blanket

DogCoat003-vi.jpg

 

Today, there is a listing of equipment that should accompany dogs when they are shipped from Lackland AFB, where the military trains all its working dogs, such as a 6 foot leash and an NSN-numbered military dog crate, but in reality, leads, crates, collars, etc. now are ordered by the kennel master, and collars and leads are often purchased by the individual handlers when they are needed for a dog. While there are NSN numbers for certain equipment such as stainless steel feed bowls, kennel chains, and aluminum dog crates, much of the equipment now is purchased from online retailers or local pet shops. As far as online goes, much comes from Ray Allen K-9 and Elite K-9, who also carry the military-spec items. Some companies such as Blackhawk Tactical have also done custom dog gear, such as harnesses, on request.

 

Another thing you see a lot of nowadays is supporters, such as the US War Dog Association, sending equipment to military working dog teams, especially ones deployed overseas. They send cot beds, dog boots, cooling vests, and doggles (eye protection for dogs), as well as Kongs and other reward toys, treats, and general dog toys.

 

Working dog equipment is pretty hard to collect because there is so little "issue" stuff and so much purchased stuff out there. It's difficult to authenticate what an item is without any data plates or standardization out there. Here are some good examples of recent not-so-standard gear:

 

US flag collar (Also note the large "Jungle" first aid kit pouch on handler's belt - those are frequently used to keep reward toy / Kong in.)

CurrentEraUS120-vi.jpg

 

Custom-made agitation harness

CurrentEraUS118-vi.jpg

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If dreams could come true, I'd be more than willing to go back through BMT (maybe blink.gif ) if the AF would let me be a dog handler.

 

You can always be a civilian dog handler. There are quite a few SSD (Specialized Search Dog) handlers working with US troops overseas that are civilians, not military. It's usually people who were handlers in the military previously and are now working for companies like Blackwater. (Their requirements for dog handlers can be found here - http://www.blackwaterusa.com/securityconsu...eddhandler.asp) Quite a few bases overseas are protected by these teams.

 

If you'd just like to work with dogs and soldiers, therapy dog work is the way to go.

 

The US Army actually has its own therapy dogs now, although it does not yet have a therapy dog program per se. The first two therapy dogs in theater are deployed to Iraq with the 85th Medical Detachment (combat stress control) and are two black Labradors named Budge and Boe. Walter Reed Army Medical Center has its own "resident" therapy dog that belongs to one of the doctors, a chocolate Lab named Duke, which was trained by PAL (People Animals Love), a therapy dog group in the Washington, DC area that has been doing visits to the hospital.

 

Most military medical facilities have therapy dogs that visit them, but they're from civilian organizations and groups. In the US, the two big therapy dog organizations are Therapy Dogs International and the Delta Society, which certify and register dogs and cover them under insurance during visits. There are also many smaller groups, such as Dogtors, that are local to specific areas and have their own training programs and certification standards. The smaller groups often visit as a group, ie. several dog and handler teams, and the larger register individuals and leave arranging visits up to you.

 

My dog and I are registered with Therapy Dogs International (TDI) and visit with the WTU (Warrior Transition Unit) on base.

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You have any photo of your dog dressed out as in WWII?

 

My dog only wears a leather collar and choke for World War II, so there's not really much to see. :) But here's a photo of me and her. I'm portraying a WWII veterinarian (yes, there were female veterinarians in WWII) in this photo. It's from a living history display we did in Yorktown, VA.

 

YorktownChristmas008-vi.jpg

 

Man, those are some cool photos gents! Keep 'em coming! Love seeing mutts in action. Very cool.

 

I have plenty more working dog photos saved, from websites, book scans, eBay auctions, etc. that I use for my reference library. I'd be happy to post more if you tell me what time period you'd like and what country. I have WWI on up to today, both US and non-US.

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Very nice photo.

Yes, I was aware that there were female Veterinarians in WWII. :)

A very fine GSD you got there.

I have a GSD too, but she's part Husky .... Brandie is her name.

Wanted to do a WWII MP impression with her.

 

Erwin

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shrapneldude
I have plenty more working dog photos saved, from websites, book scans, eBay auctions, etc. that I use for my reference library. I'd be happy to post more if you tell me what time period you'd like and what country. I have WWI on up to today, both US and non-US.

 

Any periods for US! Perhaps another category elsewhere of nothing buy dog photos...

But that would be very cool. Thanks!

 

 

post-1424-1230997498.jpg

 

Not exactly a reenactment, but here's one of mine dressed out in his GI size small flak jacket -- not modified at all, that's a real flak vest and he loves wearing it. haha

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