ST. PAUL (WCCO) — Dogs have been an important part of the U.S. Military for decades. In fact, the only member of the team that raided the Osama bin Laden compound last week we know anything about is a war dog, named Cairo.
Today, there are about 600 war dogs in the military. A counter-terrorism dog has the most training and can cost anywhere from $12,000 to $20,000.
Not only can these military dogs smell up to two miles away, they are trained to rappel down buildings, jump out of airplanes and swim long distances.
Since these dogs do a lot of biting, their teeth can wear down. So, some have titanium teeth, which allow them to continue to break through tough material.
“I’d rather be shot than have that thing tear me up. It would look like a chainsaw went out of control on your arm,” said Alex Dunbar, a former marine who now trains dogs for the military in southern Colorado.
In the raid on the Abbottabad compound, Dunbar believes the dog, a Belgian Malinois, may have been the first member of the U.S. team Bin Laden saw. He says the dogs are sent in first with cameras to live stream video to awaiting soldiers.
In Minnesota, the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Department has 11 canine teams. Deputy Sheriff Gary Pearl says police and military dogs are basically trained the same way.
“It gives the public an idea of how much these dogs are actually capable of doing,” Pearl said.
These dogs can simply do things that humans and machines are incapable of doing.