East Tennessee company trains dogs for military and law enforcem

East Tennessee company trains dogs for military and law enforcement

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He says each K9 is trained for a different task - some for search and rescue and others to sniff out mines, bombs and other explosive devices. He says each K9 is trained for a different task - some for search and rescue and others to sniff out mines, bombs and other explosive devices.
"They've already started what we call bio-sensor work where we'll do things with them like put them on their backs, put them on a damp towel for that five seconds to see how they respond to the cold," said Ed Abel, while showing off two newborn puppies. "They've already started what we call bio-sensor work where we'll do things with them like put them on their backs, put them on a damp towel for that five seconds to see how they respond to the cold," said Ed Abel, while showing off two newborn puppies.

By DREW GARDNER
6 News Reporter

SWEETWATER (WATE) - Several of the dogs used to serve and protect our nation's military both at home and overseas are trained right here in East Tennessee.

You may not be familiar with the name Sterling Global, but chances are you've probably seen some of their dogs either in person or on TV.

"We were in Iraq, Afghanistan. We've just started a program a little over a year ago in Belize," said Sterling Global Operations Corporate K9 Program Manager Ed Abel.

Abel has been training dogs for the last 37 years and runs a training facility just outside of Sweetwater.

He says each K9 is trained for a different task - some for search and rescue and others to sniff out mines, bombs and other explosive devices.

"We use the dogs because they smell what we can't see," said Abel. "They save us time, they save us energy, they save us money and they have a higher success rate." 

At Sterling it's never too young to start training a dog.

"They've already started what we call bio-sensor work where we'll do things with them like put them on their backs, put them on a damp towel for that five seconds to see how they respond to the cold," said Abel, while showing off two newborn puppies. 

The dogs will complete their training over the next eight weeks to six months. For the more advanced, it can take up to a year.

While age may not matter, Abel says it does take a specific dog to do this type of work.

"We use dogs that have drive, that love to work," said Abel. "We want that dog that would probably drive the average person crazy in their own home."

That high energy is needed to keep up with the intense training that makes them one of the most effective tools for military and law enforcement.

"With all the technology that we have and all of the new devices the military, the Department of Defense and I even believe the ATF, without a doubt the dogs are the most reliable detection tool," said Abel.

Without that detection our military and law enforcement would be much more vulnerable. 

"It's a dangerous situation in these countries, but it would be much much greater without the use of the dogs," said Abel.

That's why Abel says this work is so important and plans to expand the training facility in the years ahead.

Officials at Sterling Global say while the dogs they train seem very intimidating, they are actually very social and once retired they often make great family pets.

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