BEALE AIR FORCE BASE — Anyone with a dog can understand training your canine to do simple things like sit or fetch can be tough.
But, the canines at Beale Air Force Base are training for more complex situations and imagine training in a facility that is in desperate need of an upgrade.
“It was actually patches of grass, patches of dirt. There was actually a slope going up,”Sgt. Amadio Apilado explained.
After a year of work, dogs like Bady and Vladamir can actually enjoy going through their preparations.
“With the synthetic grass, the dogs are comfortable, they are able to train all the time. You don’t have to worry about anything,” Apilado said.
The also have new shaded areas and and the real world obstacles are new additions too.
“They will be out here for 10 minutes before the sun is beating down. They are tired and smoked. Now with this we can train all the time,” Apilado said. “The tunnel is to simulate where a dog is not claustrophobic. This is to put our dog in an uncomfortable situation. Pretty much like a balance beam for a gymnast , teach them to stay on a tight space.”
This training facility is not only important for the dogs but also the handlers. Building that connection is important for safety in the field.
“With that bond, they go out and get the mission done,” Apilado said.
The nine K9s at Beale are trained to sniff out explosives and narcotics. There’s also a mental aspect to what they do, just seeing the dogs can make someone think twice about threatening the base.
There is a reason why every other military want these dogs on deployment and now with a brand new training facility, things won’t be rough for these servicemen.
“We deploy with the Army, the Navy, the Marines — everyone because they want that canine, they want that dog team,” Apilado explained.
According to Beale Air Force Base, the upgrades cost $750,000 to complete but will now save the Air Force close to $300,000 a year in maintenance fees.