Military Dogs Play Key Role In Operation Arcanjo
By Dialogo April 01, 2013
Colonel Alfredo de Andrade Bottino/former Brazilian Army commander, 1st Guard
The areas surrounding the favelas of Penha and Alemão in northern Rio de
Janeiro were dominated by organized crime for many years. In December 2010, security
forces started a pacification process in this region, under the command of the
The Pacification Force was created in 2010 by an official decree aimed at
promoting law and order in an area where police access had been blocked by drug
traffickers. During 20 months of operations in the area, troops displayed the skills
and professionalism of the Brazilian Military. The Army’s performance was put to the
test in a fourth-generation conflict with the mission of maintaining public order in
the state of Rio de Janeiro.
Military Dogs In The Brazilian Army
The Brazilian Army systematized the use of dogs in 1967, author-izing them
within the Military Police organizations of the Army during jungle operations and
commando activities, and the Airborne Infantry Brigade.
Today, the Military units that use dogs include the Military Police, the 1st
Battalion Guard and Special Operations. The animals are used as bodyguards, facility
guards, security for sensitive locations, at civic and military parades, and to
escort inmates. They also guarantee law and order, especially during
conflict-control operations, facilities search, patrolling, demonstrations, and to
guard stations and perimeters, increasing the security of barracks.
Military dogs have characteristics ideal for military use, and they have good
health, endurance, strength, trainability and vivacity. The war dog is trained in
obedience, protection or scent for military employment during peace or war.
Dogs are a good option during operations because they spare the Soldiers’
lives, provide a psychological impact on the enemy, have a small frame, can move
rapidly (10 meters in 2 seconds) and are immune to tear gas. Dogs are also precise
during searches for illicit material and people. As a nonlethal weapon, war dogs can
increase combat power. The psychological effect offered by these animals is very
important for the success of a mission, especially if the activities take place in
urban areas, where the collateral effect of a failed operation may bring disastrous
consequences to a force.
Dogs In Operation Arcanjo
During the Operation Arcanjo pacification process in the favelas of Penha and
Alemão, the Brazilian Army was supported by war dogs from the 1st Guard Battalion. A
variety of missions were executed, including ones that requested support from the
Specialized canines were deployed, depending on the mission. For example,
sniffing dogs were used during search and arrest operations. However, depending on
what they were searching for (drugs, weapons, ammunition, explosives), more
specialized dogs were chosen.
Attack dogs joined the riot troops from the battalion, many of which
occasionally acted as reserve for the larger unit being supported. Performance dogs
made public presentations in social communication missions.
The fiercest animals were used for persuasion during disturb-ances. Their
ability to intimidate possible perpetrators enhanced the strength of the troops.
During the pacification, foot patrols in alleys and streets intensified. The use of
dogs protected officers by helping them screen their surroundings in narrow spaces
and anticipating the presence of a possible aggressor.
Canines helped a subunit of the 1st Guard Battalion during a 15-day
occupation of the Misericordia Mountain Range, a transitional area that divides the
Penha and Alemão complexes. It is covered by Atlantic jungle vegetation and has a
quarry. The dogs guarded the facilities built on top of the hills and the
checkpoints along the main entrances that connect one community to the other.
The dogs from the 1st Guard Battalion also were used to screen cars and
purses. During certain occasions, riot troops consisting of a platoon from the 1st
Guard Battalion were used as reserve for the larger units. The unit maintained
control of local protests led by drug dealers, who tried to manipulate residents by
causing distress and humiliating the troops. The criminals’ objective was to incite
a disproportionate reaction by the troops against the population (innocent or not).
In these instances, canines, with their great power of intimidation, proved to be an
important tool that discouraged the use of firearms and increased combat capability.
The Brazilian Army’s presence in key locations throughout the community
obstructed drug dealers throughout the operation, resulting in persistent attempts
by once-dominant organized crime elements to sabotage the operation. These
“exclusion zones” represented an efficient strategy to maintain the control of
pacified areas. With the help of canines, the troops guarded the entrance to
communities, halting the circulation of weapons and drugs.
The number of dogs in the Brazilian Army is still small, but it will
increase, thanks to the success of these animals in activities that require control
and security. The dogs are also tools that can replace the need for firearms,
especially during large events, such as those scheduled to take place in Brazil in
the coming years, such as the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics.
The Emperor’s Royal Kennel
The kennel belonging to the Brazilian Army’s 1st Guard Battalion was
inaugurated February 11, 1999, to support the unit’s activities, especially
operations to guarantee law and order – one of the battalion’s doctrinal missions.
The battalion squad has 18 dogs, including Rottweilers, Belgian shepherds,
Labrador retrievers, American Staffordshire terriers, Argentine dogos and golden
retrievers. The war dogs of the 1st Guard Battalion are used in operations according
to their specialization, from the simplest tasks, such as facility guard, to
The 1st Guard Battalion trains war dog handlers in the Brazilian Army and
other military institutions where dogs are used. The candidates undergo a training
process with their dogs, focused, among other attributes, on their emotional bond,
which will qualify them as working partners. The course lasts six weeks and includes
classes such as: veterinary overview, keen interest for dogs, dog handling
techniques, canine psychology, physical-military training with dogs, practical and
theoretical dog training, operations with dogs, canine legislation, and handling and
administration of kennels.
Excellent article about our canine friends, however, the pictures shown are not of a Dogo Argentino, as the text bellow the caption says. The picture is of an American Staffordshire Terrier.
A big hug. Great article and thumbs up to the Brazilian army. I am also in the military and have been training dogs for 15 years. It is good to see that military organisations admire the capabilities of dogs and use these animals to improve our safety and way of live Gee, I love it, everything has changed so much, I am enlisted from 1994, I am the second in the class of the royal emperorâ€™s kennel, my commander and sub-commander in the battalion is Colonel Oswaldo.