Hero Dogs in the Early Modern Era The discovery of the New World also meant that the use of dogs in battle expanded to the Americas. The Spanish employed dogs in the fight against the Native Americans, who also used their own dogs during skirmishes. The early American government trained dogs to track down Native Americans in the swampy areas of Louisiana and western Florida in the Second Seminole War (which lasted from December 23, 1835, to August 14, 1842). They also used dogs to find runaway slaves. In the nineteenth century, police dogs were employed more and more. This began in London, England, due to the high rate of crime present there. Police and volunteer night watchers were issued guns and dogs to protect themselves from criminals. The rest of Europe followed suit during this time period. Dogs accompanied police in Paris, France, to assist them in their fight against gang activity. However, these early police dogs were not formally trained. In 1899, police in Ghent, Belgium, began an organized police dog training program, and the idea soon spread to Austria and Germany. German shepherds were pinpointed as an exceptional breed for police work. The first German police dog training school was opened in Greenheide in 1920, and the dogs in this school were trained to obey the officers they were assigned to, as well as to track and attack criminals. Heroic Dogs in Modern Times By the time World War I started in 1914, military and police dogs as we know them today were becoming more commonplace. The war saw an unprecedented number of military dogs in service. Historians currently estimate that “during World War I, the Germans used possibly 30,000 dogs, the French used 20,000, and the Italians 3,000.

Dog Heroes


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