after loging off in the wee early hours I made myself a cup of tea , sat down and went through the tv menu -- just wanted to watch something while having my drink --- well if I don't find an exciting program, one of my favourites on PBS -- HISTORY DETECTIVES.
just as it comes on they announce one of the topics under investigation is "the secret training and use of canines in WW 2 " what can a person do I ask you. So I sat up another hour mesmerized by the program.
The host was a gentleman by the name of Tukufu Tuberi . He had in his possession some news paper clippings about the secret training by the US military on a very isolated island just off Gulfport.
The island is Cat Island , very difficult to get to because the water becomes so shallow you can't come up to shore or dock. You have to wade in from some distance.
In addition to the regular training , there was an area on this Cat Island which was "off the radar".
Here there was a Swedish trainer who proposed that dogs could be prepared to recognize ethnic difference and the dogs would target only the Japanese in this confrontation.
The trainers name was William A Prestre .
Meanwhile American citizens , patriotic and serving the US , being of Japanese origin, and members of the All Japanese 100th Infantry Battalion were selected to become the victim , or as it was put , the bait , for the dogs to unleash their aggression on.
Each encounter the dog experienced with this enlisted Japanese American , was to be unfriendly so that the dog developed an anger or hatred to the prototype .
They interviewed one of the elderly Japanese American gentlemen that participated in this experiment and he said it broke them having to hit the dogs until they bled --- but being enlisted and loyal to the army they followed directions.
The dogs had the command "kill".
The Quarter Master and trainers idea was to produce enough dogs to form packs of 20 dogs that would become an advance ferocious assualt force.
Did it work?
No it did not.
Seems the dogs still needed direct control or direction . Many of the dogs ended up fighting with each other, getting captured, wandering off and getting lost .
That was the Japanese experience.
They did say that there were 10,500 dogs enlisted in the european conflict performing everything from draught, sentry and scent work , and thanks to their service 10,'s of thousand lives were saved.
Later in the program they brought a more modern view point to the discussion. Interviewed Staff Sgt Nathan Gibson , Fort Lee Quarter Master Museum . He spoke of dogs in the Viet Nam years as well.
It was his opinion that no sir, no, dogs were not able to differentiate Japanese by scent . That racial or ethnic difference could not be smelled.
I would question that .
I CAN smell the difference -- don't tell me curries, which I love, don't leave a scent finger print, or that people eating northern european foods , cabbage , onions, potatoes , all "cold" foods don't have a different sweat smell from caribbean jerked meat , and fish devotees.
Toronto being the fabulous multi cultural place it is , and my habit of drifting in and out of different ethnic enclaves , gives me the opportunity to experience the olfactory stimulation in addition to having a very broad and varied diet .
I had also read a journal several years ago from reports written about the use of dogs used in Viet Nam. One of our early schutzhund clubs was approached to produce and provide dogs for use in the unpopular war.
That report stated that YES , dogs were able to discern the enemy because of the different diet, mostly fish based . To use this piece of information to benefit the American diet stayed the basic AMERICAN diet , red meat and lots of it -- no rice . That is according to the article which is in a box in my library , probably so yellowed that it is unreadable.
I loved watching the PBS program. They had some fantastic archival film footage of many dogs , many GSD as they were in the 1940's. Tall, long legged, medium bone . Bite work was good ! Dogs learned quickly and well , especially since these were family owned dogs that were offered in the service of their country.
Really puts to bed a lot of breeders who promote "heavy dogs like in the old days" .
They had very good film footage of some of the dogs used in Viet Nam.
So there I was at 5 a m with a mind racing , no sleep to come .
What a good program . I think you can buy dvd's -- I would say , worth it !
here is a full transcript of the program http://www-tc.pbs.org/opb/historydet...rdogletter.pdf
Carmspack Working German Shepherd Dogs