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Mountain Home Air Force Base opens new military working dog obedience course

Iingo, a 366th Security Forces Squadron military working dog, stands upon an obstacle ramp Nov. 29, 2017, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. The MWD obedience course contains new deodorized grass, perimeter lighting, and concrete tunnels. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class JaNae Capuno)

Staff Sgt. Shawn Witcher, 366th Security Forces Squadron military working dog trainer, pets MWD Iingo Nov. 29, 2017, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. Witcher demonstrated Iingo's abilities to run through obstacles at the opening for the MWD obedience course. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class JaNae Capuno)

Staff Sgt. Shawn Witcher, 366th Security Forces Squadron military working dog trainer, guides MWD Iingo over a hurdle Nov. 29, 2017, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. The MWD obedience course is designed to place military working dogs in a basic setting to encounter obstacles they may face in real world situations. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class JaNae Capuno)

Staff Sgt. Shawn Witcher, 366th Security Forces Squadron military working dog trainer, guides MWD Iingo over a hurdle Nov. 29, 2017, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. The MWD obedience course is designed to place military working dogs in a basic setting to encounter obstacles they may face in real world situations. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class JaNae Capuno)

Staff Sgt. Shawn Witcher, 366th Security Forces Squadron military working dog trainer, walks MWD Iingo Nov. 29, 2017, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. The MWD obedience course is designed to place military working dogs in a basic setting to encounter obstacles they may face in real world situations. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class JaNae Capuno)

Staff Sgt. Shawn Witcher and Staff Sgt. Ethan Little, 366th Security Forces Squadron military working dog trainers, demonstrate MWD Iingo's bite Nov. 29, 2017, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. The demonstration was held at the opening for the MWD obedience course. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class JaNae Capuno)

Col. Joseph Kunkel, 366th Fighter Wing commander, is bitten by Military Working Dog Xxanthe, Nov. 29, 2017, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. The MWD obedience course is designed to place military working dogs in a basic setting to encounter obstacles they may face in real world situations. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class JaNae Capuno)

Col. Joseph Kunkel, 366th Fighter Wing commander, is bitten by Military Working Dog Xxanthe, Nov. 29, 2017, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. The MWD obedience course is designed to place military working dogs in a basic setting to encounter obstacles they may face in real world situations. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class JaNae Capuno)

Col. Joseph Kunkel, 366th Fighter Wing Commander, runs away from Military Working Dog Xxanthe Nov. 29, 2017, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. The MWD obedience course is designed to place military working dogs in a basic setting to encounter obstacles they may face in real world situations. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class JaNae Capuno)

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Senior Airman Kyle Maddox, 366th Security Forces Squadron military working dog trainer, instructs Col. Joeseph Kunkel, 366th Fighter Wing commander, on how to put on a bite suit Nov. 29, 2017, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. The MWD obedience course is designed to place military working dogs in a basic setting to encounter obstacles they may face in real world situations. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class JaNae Capuno)

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- The 366th Security Forces Squadron military working dog handlers demonstrated the new MWD obedience course to a group of Gunfighters Nov. 29, 2017.

The new course was built after wear and tear of the previous course and a rodent native to Mountain Home, commonly known as a whistle pig, made the course unusable.

“We actually moved from one of our used softball fields while the course was under construction,” said Staff Sgt. Shawn Witcher, 366th Security Forces Squadron military working dog trainer. “What we have been dealing with in the past is a bunch of Mountain Home’s whistle pigs, and what they like to do is burrow into our yard which would hinder our training. This facility they’ve built us is truly amazing.”

The new course contains perimeter lighting, deodorized grass and concrete tunnels for the military working dogs to hone their skills.

"The purpose of the military working dog obedience course, or what we call ‘the confidence course’, is to put a dog in the most basic setting, in which they will encounter obstacles that they may deal with in the real world," Witcher said. “That’s to prepare them for any tight spaces, jumping over fences, or anything that we deal with on a daily basis.”

The new course is expected to last approximately 50 to 100 years. MWD handlers said they are excited for the improvements.

“This is my first course I’ve ever seen with these type of improvements," said Tech. Sgt. Robert Prim, 366th SFS NCO in charge of the military working dog section. "This course will continue to increase the quality of training for our military working dogs for years to come.”