National Army of Colombia

Four-legged heroes with pixelated hearts

July 05, 2018

Four-legged heroes with pixelated hearts Canine specimens will always be known for their important role in saving lives
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About 20 Labrador, Belgian Malinois and Golden Retriever dogs are part of the group of canines of the Military Engineers Battalion - General Rafael Navas Pardo.
These dog breeds are chosen for their versatility, strength, character, agility, and because they are more effective during training considering their love for games, which allows exploiting 100% of their abilities. They are known as four-legged heroes, and are characterized by their loyalty, commitment, intelligence and intuition when it comes to fulfilling a high-risk mission with their coach.

The puppies are taken to training yards as soon as they join the National Army. Then, they are assigned a partner soldier who will be their instructor and guide, and who will patiently and with lots of love lead them through this hard journey throughout their lives. Not everyone is suitable to train a dog; trainers should love animals, be patient, be calm and assertive, because the main mission of the canine partners of the explosion and demolition team of the National Army (EXDE DELTA) is to locate and destroy all the explosive devices that the enemy sows to affect the troops and the civilian population, and this requires time. So, the training process begins, in which games have a fundamental role, using teethers and balls as the main tools.

The first phase is to develop their auditory and sensory stimuli, so that they lose their fear of noise and movement; for this, bottles, rubber balloons and different kinds of music, going from classical to heavy metal, are used.

After 12 months, retraining in some of the specialties begins, including narcotics detection, and defense and protection. In this regard, their task is to sniff the ground and find an explosive device or an unknown chemical, and then the dog "sits down and does not move until the guide comes to verify his findings". As a reward, dogs are given a prize like a toy or something to eat, which increase their interest. Dogs are like children and, therefore, they are always looking for their toy.

Over 152 explosive devices have been deactivated in Arauca

These clever dogs have the ability to identify explosive cargo, antipersonnel mines, and even the smallest objects that they consider odd.

In consequence, so far this year, in the seven municipalities of Arauca, Cubar in Boyac and the townships of Samor and Gibraltar in Norte de Santander, these four-legged heroes have helped deactivate more than 152 explosive devices such as coves, propane bombs, ramps, remote controls among other improvised explosives that were destroyed in a controlled manner without causing collateral damage after following the corresponding technical assistance procedures.

Canine specimens will always be known for their important role in saving lives, along with the members of the National Army, who have become their superheroes thanks to their hard work.