Raise The Woof
by U.S. Space Force Senior Airman Andrew Garavito
October 5, 2021
Teamwork is defined as the work and activity of many persons who individually contribute toward the efficiency of the whole, but teamwork isn’t defined by the number of “persons”, it’s defined by the number of individuals, whether they be human or any other species.
Bonds are formed when two or more individuals are working side by side, every day to accomplish a goal. These bonds can last a lifetime and the goals for Senior Airmen Josue GonzalezRubio, a Military Working Dog handler from the 460th Security Forces Squadron, and Military Working Dog Sego, can go far beyond the mission.
Senior Airman Josue GonzalezRubio, 460th Security Forces Squadron Military Working Dog handler and MDW Sego, prepare to begin their routine confidence building training on Buckley Space Force Base, Colorado on September 24, 2021. The process of getting assigned an MWD is looking and matching personalities that will bind perfectly with both dog and handler. (U.S. Space Force photo by Senior Airman Andrew Garavito)
“The process of getting assigned a MWD is looking and matching personalities that will bind perfectly with both dog and handler,” said Josue.
With any new relationship, there could be a rocky start. There is a long process that comes with starting a new working relationship. The more challenges and struggles the pair faced head-on, the more unbreakable their bond became.
“As a new handler I was faced with the challenge of adapting to a new dog, getting used to his work pace, and getting to know the MWD all around,” said Josue. “I had a difficult time at first, but with a lot of training and time management dedicated to Sego, we overcame and eliminated our issues and became validated and certified together.”
One of the main challenges that a dog handler faces is getting to know the personality behind the dog, and learning to adapt to that to perform their duties. There’s a long learning period for both the dog and the handler where they both have to trust and rely on each other to showcase their compatibilities. This is crucial to protecting the Department of Defense and its assets.
“The training scenarios we go through include explosive detection training, intruder detection training, and controlled aggression training,” Josue explained.
MWD are extremely hard workers and Sego is no exception to that. He works hard to please his handler and Josue works hard to please him. Josue explained how Sego is a sweetheart but can switch up instantly to perform his duties.
Senior Airman Josue GonzalezRubio, 460th Security Forces Squadron, Military Working Dog handler, and MWD Sego, run through the kennel’s tunnel at the obstacle course on Buckley Space Force Base, Colorado on September 24, 2021. The dogs are immediately rewarded with their toys after completing a task correctly. (U.S. Space Force photo by Senior Airman Andrew Garavito)
They continue to work together every day whether it's performing obedience obstacle courses, grooming, or arming up and performing simulated training situations.
Josue said he always wanted to be a dog handler, and thanks to his and Sego’s effort, hard work, and determination, that dream will continue to flourish.
“The relationship between MWD Sego and myself is something best friends share,” said Josue. “He is family.”
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