Staff Sgt. Brett Fishel, kennel master and plans NCO, dons a bite suit to help Military Working Dog Zera, a patrol explosive detector dog-enhanced, and Spc. Levi Patterson, 67th Military Police Detachment (MWD), Special Troops Battalion, demonstrate their skills Aug. 4 at Hunt Lodge. Patterson and Zera and two other teams from the detachment successfully completed annual certification last week. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp

Katie Peterson | Staff Writer

Three Military Working Dog teams from the 67th Military Police Detachment (Military Working Dog), Special Troops Battalion, are ready to serve for another year following a week of certification with Training and Doctrine Command July 27-31 on post.

Military Working Dog Zera, an 8-year-old Belgian malinois, keeps her eyes on her handler, Spc. Levi Patterson, 67th Military Police Detachment (MWD), Special Troops Battalion, during a searching drill Aug. 4 near Hunt Lodge. Patterson and Zera and two other teams from the detachment successfully completed annual certification last week. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp


Cpl. Terrell Stallings, dog handler, and 9-year-old MWD Lisa; Cpl. Taylor Wehrle, dog handler, and 8-year-old MWD Roy; and Spc. Levi Patterson, dog handler, and 8-year-old MWD Zera, went through a week of obedience drills, aggression drills, and detection drills following one to four months of training in the same areas. During training, the dogs and the handlers learn about each other.

Military Working Dog Zera, a patrol explosive detector dog-enhanced, launches toward Staff Sgt. Brett Fishel, kennel master and plans NCO, right, when he does not comply with her handler, Spc. Levi Patterson, 67th Military Police (MWD), Special Troops Battalion, while demonstrating skills Aug. 4 by Hunt Lodge. Patterson and Zera and two other teams from the detachment successfully completed annual certification last week. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp


“With the dog and the handler meshing together, a lot of it is the handler recognizing the dog’s behaviors and how they cue whenever they detect an odor or something,” said Capt.

Staff Sgt. Brett Fishel, kennel master and plans NCO, dons a bite suit to help Military Working Dog Zera, a patrol explosive detector dog-enhanced, and Spc. Levi Patterson, 67th Military Police Detachment (MWD), Special Troops Battalion, demonstrate their skills Aug. 4 at Hunt Lodge. Patterson and Zera and two other teams from the detachment successfully completed annual certification last week. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp

Christopher Stone, 67th MP Detachment and 500th MP Detachment commander.


Obedience drills include obedience on a leash next to the handler, obedience when away from the handler, extended stays where the MWD and its handler are about 50 feet apart and more.
Aggression drills have different phases, including building searching and scouting.

Staff Sgt. Brett Fishel, kennel master and plans NCO, dons a bite suit to help Military Working Dog Zera, a patrol explosive detector dog-enhanced, and Spc. Levi Patterson, 67th Military Police Detachment (MWD), Special Troops Battalion, demonstrate their skills Aug. 4 at Hunt Lodge. Patterson and Zera and two other teams from the detachment successfully completed annual certification last week. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp


Detection drills include patrolling roadway vehicles, buildings and theaters.

Spc. Levi Patterson, 67th Military Police Detachment (Military Working Dog), Special Troops Battalion, plays with MWD Zera to “just let her be a dog” before performing a demonstration of skills Aug. 4 at Hunt Lodge. Patterson and Zera and two other teams from the detachment successfully completed annual certification last week. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp


“(TRADOC) needs to know that the (handler and the dog) have a good working relationship,” said Staff Sgt. Brett Fishel, 67th MP Detachment kennel master. “They want to make sure they’re a team.”


All three teams were certified as patrol explosive detection teams, with Patterson and Zera certified as a patrol explosive detection enhanced team, the Army equivalent of a specialized search dog.


“The difference is (Zera) is trained to go out a lot farther off leash using hand and voice commands,” Fishel said.


Whether dogs are being recertified or seeking first-time certification, Fishel said, having to recertify on an annual basis is important.

Spc. Levi Patterson, 67th Military Police Detachment (Military Working Dog), Special Troops Battalion, plays with MWD Zera to “just let her be a dog” before performing a demonstration of skills Aug. 4 at Hunt Lodge. Patterson and Zera and two other teams from the detachment successfully completed annual certification last week. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp


“It’s just making sure that we have the support for the community,” Fishel said. “(MWD teams) support any VIPs that come to Fort Leavenworth, presidential elections, and we’re even supporting the Democratic National Convention next week in Wisconsin.

Spc. Levi Patterson, 67th Military Police Detachment (Military Working Dog), Special Troops Battalion, sends MWD Zera, a patrol explosive detector dog-enhanced, out to search for a bumper toy while practicing her searching skills Aug. 4 at Hunt Lodge. Patterson and Zera and two other teams from the detachment successfully completed annual certification last week. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp


“It’s just good to have a good certification and make sure that they’re proficient in their tasks so they can do these missions,” he said.


The certification is also key if the detachment is called to deploy, Stone added.
Following these recent certifications, the detachment now has four certified teams.

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