About Me

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Mumbai, India
I'm a landrace dog fancier, birder and amateur arachnologist. Founder of the INDog Project (www.indog.co.in) and the INDog Club. Before that, worked with urban free-ranging dogs of Mumbai from 1993-2007. Also a wildlife conservationist working in the tiger reserves of central India with Satpuda Foundation.

This blog is for aboriginal breed enthusiasts. It is part of the INDog Project www.indog.co.in. Only INDogs (Indian Pariah) and INDog-mix mongrels are featured here. The two are NOT the same, do please read the text on the right to understand the difference. Our aim: to create awareness about the primitive natural breed called the Indian Pariah Dog/INDog. I sometimes feature other landrace breeds too.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Indian dogs trained to detect explosives in Chhattisgarh

The Malinois or Belgian Shepherd is much in the news nowadays, after one of this breed was reported to have participated in the recent successful strike on Osama Bin Laden.

Far less in the public eye is the ever-underrated Indy, though its performance has been excellent in the Counter-Terrorism and Jungle Warfare College in Chhattisgarh. Let's pardon the College and the writer of the article below for using the words "mongrel" and "street dog" for canines who are possibly neither of the above. At least somebody has finally recognized the value of our native dogs, whatever they choose to call them.

This is an earlier post on this project. Incidentally, like all tribals and rural Indians, Maoists are well aware of the alert nature of Indies. That's why they ordered villagers in Jhargram to kill their own dogs; to prevent them from alerting the police to Maoist presence. Read about it here.

Sorry this post looks so messy. I've just copy-pasted the whole article here.

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Saturday, Apr 30, 2011
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Street dogs to detect explosives in Naxal hotbed

Photo: PTI

A new batch:Street dogs being trained for anti-Naxal operations at the Counter Terrorism and Jungle Warfare College in Kanker in Chhattisgarh.

Kanker (Chhattisgarh): The Chhattisgarh Police is planning to train a new batch of street dogs for anti-Naxal operations after the canines delivered good results by detecting over 350 IEDs and landmines in the past two years.

The mongrels, being trained at the Counter Terrorism and Jungle Warfare (CTJW) College here, have helped save the lives of a number of policemen by detecting the explosives.

The street dogs, being trained for anti-Naxal police duties, have better utility value when compared to high-breed canines like Labrador and German Shepherd.

“The local street dogs have an edge over the pedigreed dogs as they do not get tired in the hot weather and rough terrain in the dense jungles and Naxal hotbeds of the State. They have a better adaptability to the environment and have produced excellent results in police and security duties,” CTJW director Brigadier (Retd.) B. K. Ponwar said.

“Presently, we are training four such dogs Teja, Sally, Heena and Rolly after we found that our experiment with such dogs bore excellent results. More such dogs with a good built and who display positive orientation for police duties will be trained,” said Ponwar, who has been designated as Inspector General (IG) of Chhattisgarh police for running the CTJW.

Ponwar helped set up the unique college here six years ago after he was asked by the State government to train its policemen for special operations in view of the Naxal problem.

Excellent results

Ponwar said while the college is also training pedigreed dogs, the results with street dogs has been excellent and more than what was expected of them.

“They require less pampering, less investment of resources and less care. They have a high stamina when it comes to working in these areas. They are good learners,” Ponwar said.

Central security forces like CRPF, ITBP and BSF deployed for anti-Naxal operations in the State are also being assisted by a specialised breed of imported Belgian shepherd dogs for ‘infantry patrols' and to provide pre-ambush warning to the troops.

“A police dog is an essential component of any security force squad. This part was missing in anti-Naxal operations. As the local dogs are best suited for this terrain, they are now being deployed to assist the forces. They can avert major casualties and ambushes by giving early signals to their masters,” a senior police officer said on the condition of anonymity.

The high-breed dogs have been used with success by NATO troops in Afghanistan and Israeli troops in Gaza. - PTI


wandereress said...

Another proof of how intelligent, trainable, low maintenance INdogs are.They are very warm and affectionate too. Everything one needs in a dog, isn't it? Juhee

Rajashree Khalap said...


Oindrila said...

I do not know anything about dogs used for such activities. Are the dogs here properly cared for and happy?What is the risk involved in such work? I do hope that people do not undermine them because they are "street dogs" and neglect their needs and quality of life.

Rajashree Khalap said...

I don't know any of those things Oindrila. I have been wondering how to contact Brigadier Ponwar as I really want to know more about this project. If the dogs are performing so well in what is definitely a life-saving service, I doubt if they are being treated badly. There is a considerable investment of time in training any dog, even if they come free and are low-maintenance. I'm sure there is risk involved in detecting explosives, however remember the dogs are able to actually detect them unlike humans, so I would imagine the risk of accidents is lower than with humans.

Dogs seem to be at higher risk from Naxalites than from the Jungle Warfare college judging by the earlier report I posted (about the diktat to tribals to kill their own dogs).

Labradoodle Breeders said...

Absolutely Fantastic post, Thanks for sharing with us. i am a fan of all dogs, but mainly I'm a fan of my two dogs, Macy and Emma. Both my dogs were pound puppies, and I strongly recommend going to your nearby shelter if you're thinking about a new pet. If you are indeed ready then think of all the rewards and love you will reap from this relationship.

Neel Risala said...

Hey oindrila/rajshree
good to see people like you care so much about these dogs. I happen to be in the Army and have worked very closely with these MWDs(Military Working Dogs)..thats the correct way of addressing these guys !
Firstly, they are as much a part of the team as any human member. Every dog has a dedicated handler who is personally responsible for taking care of the MWD.He is a trained professional and the team of handler-dog is hardly ever broken unless one dies/retires/gets injured.
The MWDs are NOT like our regular pet dogs. They are specially trained as per their "aptitude" and he performs one of these three tasks - Tracker,ED(Explosive Detection) or Patrol/Attack.
The Army is full of exceptional stories about the dog-handler bond. I remember a particular one where the handler was killed by a terrorist bullet during operations in Kashmir. The dog didnt let anyone touch his body for 48 hrs. The poor guy had to be tranquilised to finally take away the remains of the handler.
But, the one disturbing and relatively mysterious fact is their disposal after they "retire". Even in the Army we dont know what happens to them after their "olfactory life" is over,that is around 7-8 yrs. Maybe thats something you guys should find out from people like Brig Ponwar. The US Army has a very vast network of organisations to rehabilitate these dogs once they retire.99 percent of dogs find loving and comfortable homes, many with their erstwhile handlers. I doubt if such a scheme exists in India. The least these guys deserve is a warm and loving family after years of fighting it out in hostile and dangerous conditions to keep our country safe. They too are soldiers after all !