Wednesday, April 9, 2008

This weeks reading

From the book Always Faithful ~ A Memoir of the Marine Dogs of WWII by Captain William W. Putney D.V.M. USMC (Ret)

Captain Boyd pulled a piece of paper from his shirt pocket and handed it to me. It was a memo, addressed to all personnel of the War Dog Training School, and it outlined the spirit in which Marine handlers and their dogs would be trained and cared for. It read, in part, as follows:


The handler will learn that the dog will be loyal and can be depended upon. It can be expected that the man and his dog will create a team that will be unbreakable. The handler in this course will develop a feeling of pride, companionship and ownership in his own dog by the natural response of one to the other.

To further accomplish this, the handler will furnish all care and maintenence of his charge. He will feed and water his dog on a scheduled basis. He will clean and groom his dog every day as directed by his instructors. He will maintain his animal's quarters in a manner specified by the Veterinarian.

Training will consist of the following exercises to teach the dog to heel, sit, down, stay and come (on recall), crawl, and jump both high and broad. These exercises will be taught using both voice commands and arm and hand signals.

The method used shall be one of reward for accomplishment. This shall be a combination of voice praise, physical petting and fondling. Under no circumstances will physical punishment or abuse be tolerated. Reprimands shall be restricted to oral disapproval. Any violations will be severely delt with.

Training, according to the memo, would be completed by July 15, 1943.

**I am finding this book to be VERY interesting. I was particularly struck by the training methods they used back then. Positive training has been around longer than many people realize. The book tells how they trained for different things in various manners as well as being a behind the scenes look at the War Dog program for WWII. Happily after this war the dogs (the ones who survived) were retrained and allowed to go back to civilian life, thanks in large part to the books author. Not a fate seen by other War Dogs our country has used in the past. (most notably after Vietnam) Complete with 16 pages of photos this book has alot of interesting information. Fans of German Shepherd Dogs and Dobermans might also like it as they were the two most popular breeds used by the Marines at that time. Other breeds and mixed breeds were used as well and were donated by their civilian owners. (I can only say that sentiments were vastly different back then regarding that practice.) Overall so far the book is excellent. Well written and an obvious honoring of the use of Mans Best Friend during their military service. I know I haven't hit the sad parts yet, as is inevitiable when reading of war. Obviously not all the dogs survived. (or their handlers) It is a facinating look at working dogs however and I am glad someone decided to tell their story.

(Semper Fidelis is the motto of the Marine Corps. Translated it means Always Faithful.)


Patrick said...

The bond between the service dog and th handler must be very deep. Both depend on the other for their life.

Amie said...

Oh, that looks like a fascinating book! I'm putting that on a wish list - thanks for the review!