Army Job Description: 31K Military Working Dog Handler

Pfc. Franklin Sena, an infantryman and Tactical Explosives Detection Dog handler with Company C. Official US Army Photo

Basic Job Description

Military Working Dog (MWD) handlers are responsible for the care and training of his or her service dog, which contributes to combat operations abroad and installation security at home by providing target odor detection (explosive/drug). Service dogs, generally seen as a non-lethal option for neutralizing a threat, also serve as a psychological deterrent during law enforcement operations.


Duties performed by Soldiers in this MOS include:

  • Patrol Drug Detector Dog (PDDD) handler
  • Patrol Explosive Detector Dog (PEDD) handler
  • Health and Welfare searches
  • Law and Order operations
  • Installation Force Protection and Law and Order support
  • VIP support
  • Customs support

Training Information

Job training for Military Working Dog handlers requires 18 weeks of Advanced Individual Training (AIT) on how to care for, handle and train a Military Working Dog (MWD).  The training is in two phases. The first seven-week phase covers on-the-job instruction and teaches police methods and techniques for dog handling. The second phase of instruction is an 11-week course that provides basic instructions on the application of Military Working Dog utilization and employment capabilities. Phase II instructs in basic obedience, controlled aggression, first aid, principles of conditioning, building searches, scouting, detection, and daily care and grooming of assigned MWD.

Handlers will also learn other basic skills, including:

  • Basic use of firearms
  • Military/civil laws and jurisdiction 
  • Arrest and restraint of suspects
  • Other specialized dog handling techniques

Helpful Skills

  • Ability to understand conditioning behaviors in training dogs
  • Ability to make quick decisions
  • Patience
  • Ability to interact with people

 ASVAB Score Required:  91 in area ST

Similar Civilian Occupations

The skills you learn will help prepare you for a career with federal, state and local law enforcement. Many of the jobs skills you learn will also help you to perform civilian jobs that involve working with animals, and general management positions.

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