March 10th 2015


Prick your ears up- the British Army is looking to collar recruits for its new Reserve Military Working Dog Squadron.

This is the first time that Reservists can train to become dog handlers and men and women aged between 18 – 50 are invited to join the Rutland based Unit.

The Reserve unit, 101 Military Working Dog Squadron (101 MWD Sqn), trains every Tuesday from 7pm – 9pm at St George’s Barracks, North Luffenham, LE15 8RL.

The Squadron forms part of 1st Military Working Dog Regiment that provides the only deployable military working dog and veterinary capability within the whole of the British Army. Their dogs and their handlers provide vital detect and protect capabilities for troops on the ground.

A recent open day saw trained Army Dog handlers put their canine charges through their paces in a bid to attract new Reservists to their ranks. Amongst the skills demonstrated were vehicle search, obedience and protection training

Reserves joining the Squadron will be trained as Protection Military Working Dog Handlers looking after the security and safety of military assets and their bases.  Part of the soldiers’ initial training will be teaching them how to look after and care for their canine colleagues. Later on in the Reservist’s career there will be an opportunity to undertake specialist dog handler courses including vehicle search.

The Regiment is also recruiting reservist Veterinary Officers and Veterinary Nurses that maintain the health of the Military Working Dogs.

A demonstration taking place at the open day

The recent Open Day offered potential recruits the opportunity to speak to serving members of the Regiment about the part-time roles available and view the latest kit and equipment. The event also included presentations on what a reservist can expect when joining the Regiment.

Abbe Boddy, aged 23, from Ratby, was one of many that attended the recruitment event. A Financial Assistant for Leicestershire County Council she said: “I’ve always wanted to work with animals and also wanted to join the Army. Joining the Reserves will give me the best of both worlds.”

Mum to River, aged 5, she continued: “Joining the Reserves will mean I still have time with my son. It’s been amazing to watch the dogs. They are so intelligent. It’s mind-blowing what they can train the dogs to do; that’s what I love about it. “

Ex-military dog handler, Steve Dineley, who now runs his own Canine Training Centre was also at the event. He left the Army in 2005.

“I still miss it, I enjoyed training and working with the dogs,” said Steve.

“I came along today to get more information. It’s also been great to catch up with some of the guys I used to work with.

“I’ve learnt a lot since I left the Army, so if I did join the Reserve Squadron I will also be able to give something back that could help the Army in their training.”

The Commanding Officer of 1st Military Working Dog Regiment, Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Foreman, said: “We want individuals who are committed, willing to learn and enthusiastic and in return we will provide then with training, adventure, self development and the opportunity to travel.

“Within the Regiment, both Regular and Reserve elements will be integrated to deliver a unique capability based on strength and flexibility, tailored to ensure we are ready to deliver on operations, both home and abroad as and when required.”

He continued: “The principal commitment required from our Army Reservists in the initial stages will be that of training. We want to ensure people joining the Regiment have the prospect of a full military career and are able to enjoy all the opportunities that service life brings with it.”

The newly-formed Reserve squadron forms part of a major restructure for the Regiment which will see it grow to 650 personnel by 2020. In addition to 101 Military Working Dog Squadron the Regiment will consist of three hybrid Squadrons containing a mix of regular and reserve personnel and a second Reserve Squadron.

New recruits will complete their Phase One training which will provide them with the skills they require for basic soldiering before going on to complete a two-week residential Basic Dog Handler course at the Defence Animal Centre in nearby Melton Mowbray.

For further information on joining the Army Reserves including 1st Military Working Dog Regiment visit the British Army website at:, search ‘Army Jobs’  or phone: 0345 600 8080.