Meet Rhino, the new RAAF recruit
HIS big lolling tongue is a distraction, but his intelligent eyes, huge ears and massive paws tell the story of the life ahead for this puppy.
Named after the RAAF Base Amberley’s new star of the air, the Super Hornet fighter jet, Rhino is destined to be a military working dog.
The 15-week-old has eight siblings – Raptor, Razor, Rolly, Roman, Reaper, Ripper, Raven and Riley.
The pups have been enjoying weekend home stays as they prepare to go into a foster care home as part of puppy development training.
RAAF canine breeding cell supervisor Steve Cannon said Rhino had lots of training ahead but he had loads of potential.
“Rhino has already had heaps of training and has made many public appearances but he will not be ready for a course until he is around 18 months of age,” Mr Cannon said.
“Rhino is bold and outgoing, he shows plenty of potential to become a military working dog and is popular with everyone he meets.”
Military working dogs and their handlers carry out protective operations in places like East Timor and bases around Australia, safeguarding aircraft and other resources.
Military working-dog training, including matching handlers with their canine partners, is conducted by the security and fire school at RAAF Amberley.
In 2005, it introduced the puppy foster care program, in which people can raise puppies to seven months of age.
Adoptive families are required to expose their charges to as many situations as possible including shopping centres, beaches and sporting events, slowly preparing them for jet engines and artillery.
The pups then join a juvenile development program and learn to grab things on command, chase people and hone their human-trailing abilities to prepare them for detecting and tracking intruders.
At 18 months, the dog is ready to be deployed with its handler.