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Nice way we found to thank our best friend for everything he does for us: we bring him to war to fight our battles for almost 3000 years.

The first use of dogs in military operations dates back to the 18th century BC, when they first appeared alongside the Hyksos warriors during the invasion of Egypt. Their job was to monitor the camps but also to fight by biting the enemies in the most painful way possible.

Today dogs are used by almost all the armed forces of the world who take advantage of their instinct and courage for the most varied tasks: in the Middle East they are currently used by bomb squads for detecting hidden explosives. Like Ikhar, the shepherd protagonist of this photo, on patrol in an American armored vehicle at the gates of Kandahar, in Afgahanistan.

But how does a dog's nose work? And why is it so much more sensitive than ours?

Dogs not only smell explosives and drugs: for some years, in various countries of the world including Italy, police dogs specialized in finding money have been serving. Yes, that's right, these cute cops are trained to find the notes hidden inside packages and suitcases.

Used especially in airports, ports and border posts, they have proved to be particularly effective in countering clandestine currency traffic.

The most used breeds for this task are the labradors and golden retriver: the training focuses entirely on their very fine sense of smell, on their great desire to play, but also on their greediness. When the banknote hunt is successful, the cucciolone is in fact rewarded with a tennis ball and some tasty morsel.

Who said that only impressive German shepherds or elegant golden retrievers are enrolled in the police? In fact, Pocho, a Jack Russel like the one in the photo above, is on duty at the Naples police station.

Small and with an infallible flair inherited from its hunting ancestors, Pocho is able to perform patrols and searches in environments inaccessible to his large-sized colleagues, such as tunnels or containers crammed with goods that actually hide weapons or drugs.


How are anti-drug dogs trained?

They descend from helicopters, break in from the balconies, and escape is practically impossible. They are the "assault dogs" used by police special forces around the world.

Selected among strong and courageous breeds such as German shepherds and Malinois, these dogs are trained for 18-24 months to support their human colleagues in the most dangerous missions. Equipped with cameras and special bullet-proof vests, they explore the areas of intervention before the agents, finding important information for the success of the operations.

make it harmless

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Intelligent, sociable, easily trainable and transportable and with a sense of smell that makes the best dog envious: we are talking about mice and rats that have been serving in the most dangerous areas of the world for some years now.

Like the giant Gambian rat (Cricetomys gambianus) that we see in action in the photo above in a minefield in Mozambique. Much lighter than men, dogs and robots, these animals can walk on mines without risking them to explode: when they identify the bomb they begin to dig, calling the attention of their handler who will reward them with some delicious morsel.

The most advanced center in the world for training hero rats is Apopo, run by a Belgian NGO with offices in Tanzania, Mozambique and Thailand. The training of each of these animals lasts about 9 months and has a total cost of over 6, 000 euros.

He will not be as agile and elegant as a German shepherd and he will not have the martial look of a Rottweiler, but as far as the nose is concerned, nobody will beat him.

No, we didn't take the wrong photograph, we're talking about pigs. The sense of smell of these rosy and plump animals is in fact even more developed than that of dogs, to the point that in Israel they have thought of training them for the search for explosives.

The protagonist of the curious experiment is Geva Zin, a conductor of Israeli police dog units, who in his kibbutz trained some pigs in search of bombs and mines. When the animal has sensed the danger it sits down and awaits the intervention of its companion, in addition to a deserved reward,

"Mines are the most disgusting part of the war, " says Geva. "But for my pigs to find them is a game: to train them I rely on their passion for the roots and for all that is buried, and I reward them when they reach the goal".

It is from the time of the Vietnam War that in the ranks of the US Navy, the United States navy, very special seamen services, equipped with fins and beaks, are available. These are the 60 cetaceans, dolphins and bottlenose dolphins, which are part of the US Navy Marine Mammal Mine Hunting System, a project that began forty years ago and that sees these cute animals employed in the identification and reporting of underwater mines and bombs. Once the mine is found, the dolphin marks it with a special device that releases a floating buoy, so that the military can provide for its disarming.

According to the US Navy, the contribution of this special unit would have been decisive in the de-mining of the port of Umm Qasr, in Iraq, during the first Gulf War.

Animals are transported from their bases in San Diego and Hawaii to areas of operations aboard specially equipped aircraft.

Cetaceans are also used as "guard dogs" in patrolling ports in countries at risk where American ships are anchored. In this case they are trained to chase any sub-intruders and attach the buoy device to their cylinders, so as to signal their presence to the handler.

Other than circus animals: sea lions and seals that work for the American army are perfectly trained soldiers, specialists who save the lives of hundreds of human comrades every year.

Like dolphins, seals and sea lions are also used for the location of mines and the patrolling of waters around fleets anchored in ports.

The news that these animals would also be trained to attack divers or even enemy ships in kamikaze missions is absolutely groundless.

Seals and dolphins in fact are not able to distinguish a sub enemy from an enemy, as well as an American ship from a hostile.

The use in the military sphere of seals and dolphins raises many perplexities from the ethical point of view but also from the ethological point of view: the stress of continuous transfers, life in captivity for long periods, training…. but are we sure that it's just a game for them?

Face to face with the leopard seal: a fearsome predator.

Companion of arms of man since the most ancient times, today the horse has an increasingly marginal role in the conflicts of war, but it is still widely used by the police all over the world for the management of public order.

Equipped with special protections for nose and legs and glasses that protect them from the smoke of tear gas and stone-throwing, law enforcement horses are not afraid of anything. They are usually robust, large, brave and neurotic subjects who do not fear screams, noise, explosions and shots.

In the photo: a ward straddling the Canadian police during a demonstration.

A bridle: the most beautiful photos of horses

They are the true gentlemen of the sky and for several years now they have been watching over the safety of our air travels: they are trained birds of prey that work on the runways of airports all over the world to keep them clear of pigeons, seagulls and various birds, a real danger for airplanes especially during take-off and landing.

Among the most numerous clawed teams in Italy there is the one in service at Turin airport: under the orders of the falconer Giovanni Paone there are in fact 14 birds of prey: a golden eagle, a gyps himalayensis, coming from the mountains of Tibet, a eagle owl, usually used at dawn and twilight, an African eagle owl, similar to the eagle owl but smaller in size, 5 peregrine falcons, which can reach 380 kilometers per hour of speed, 4 and Harris buzzards, which unlike the other raptors can be used in pairs. Complete the team a barn owl, which is the mascot of the group.

In the photo: a hawk and a falconer in action on the Lisbon slopes.

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The first use of dogs in military operations dates back to the 18th century BC, when they first appeared alongside the Hyksos warriors during the invasion of Egypt. Their job was to monitor the camps but also to fight by biting the enemies in the most painful way possible.
Today dogs are used by almost all the armed forces of the world who take advantage of their instinct and courage for the most varied tasks: in the Middle East they are currently used by bomb squads for detecting hidden explosives. Like Ikhar, the shepherd protagonist of this photo, on patrol in an American armored vehicle at the gates of Kandahar, in Afgahanistan.
But how does a dog's nose work? And why is it so much more sensitive than ours?