Videos: Today's Military
    Marine Corps

    A Military Working Dog Handler(1:37)

    Cpl. Christopher Vogt works as a canine handler and trains his dog, Kepie, to help protect the president of the United States. 

    Vogt is stationed at Marine Corps Air Facility in Quantico, Va., with Helicopter Squadron One (HMX-1). Vogt and Kepie travel ahead of the president, and before the president arrives at a location, Vogt and Kepie work together to prepare the area and maintain security.

    All military working dogs are trained at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, and they serve between 10 to 12 years. When it is time for them to retire, they can be adopted either by their handlers or a civilian family.

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Once you pick up a military working dog, you first build rapport with them. That's the first thing you do. You go out there. You'll walk with them. You'll play with them. There's no commands at all. There's no discipline. There's nothing. That dog needs to learn you. He needs to trust everything you say. So he needs to be able to know your voice, be able to know what you do, how you're going to react.

I assist Marines with PT every day. But they're just as much Marines as we are, so they have PT every day, just like us. If we go on a run, they go on a run with us. To keep their obedience up, we work on obedience every day, or on the OB course we do scenario training. You never know what scenario you're going to be in. So we do all different kinds.

HMX-1 is a Marine helicopter squadron. We are in direct support of the president of the United States. We protect those helicopters and all assets that are involved within the movement of the president. We like to expand our horizon when we train because the more training that you get, the better.

But working with a dog is just, there's nothing else like it. The love they have for you and how they protect you in any case, it's unbelievable. 

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