Snoopin' and poopin' in Spain

23 May 2002 | Sgt. David J. Drafton

"You really have to earn their trust," said Pfc. Christopher A. Bogan, a military police working dog handler from Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Masizl, a Belgium Malinois, is making history as the first of two dogs deployed since the establishment of the Military Police Battalion on Camp Lejeune.  The dogs are deployed to Spain as part of exercise Dynamic Mix '02.

"It took a while to gain his trust, but he has really come along in the past few months," said Bogan.

"Masizl is serving with a primary mission of Anti-terrorism Force Protection," said Maj. Kerry J. Quinn, ATFP operations officer, 2d Marine Expeditionary Brigade.

"He searches vehicles and containers for explosive components and has been trained for search and rescue," said Bogan.

"The Military Working Dogs are a 2d Military Police Battalion asset used at the port," said Quinn.

The dogs are both explosive and patrol certified, added Quinn. Bogan was chosen as a working dog handler straight out of MP school. After completing his nine-weeklong military police schooling, Bogan set out to be a dog handler, which was an additional nine weeks.

"I went in front of a board for three school seats, and I was chosen number two," he said.

In dog handling school, located at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, basic verbal and tactical skills are taught to both the dogs and handlers.

?In school, we learned how to patrol and search for various explosive components,? said the 24-year old.

Since receiving Masizl this past January, Bogan said he has overcome a few obstacles in his path.

"When I first got him, he was very shy and would not respond to corrective actions (like tugging at the choke chain)," he explained.

Bogan described his first few months with Masizl as a very important time to bond. 

"If you don't care for your dog and take the time to nurture it, it won't be a good working dog," added the Caucauna, Wis., native.

Maisizl and Bogan spend more than 12 hours a day together keeping Marines safe during the exercise, but Bogan said he enjoys it a great deal.

"I think that the most rewarding thing about this job is just being able to work with dogs," said Bogan.