K-9 Handler Recalls Dangers of Vietnam on Sportsman Channel’s “Saving Private K-9,” Thursday, May 29

   05.29.14

Tiger, a bomb detection dog in Vietnam, was at the top of his canine class in the 1970s when he partnered with Army scout dog handler Johnny Mayo. Through retraining, Tiger became a scout dog and Mayo’s most loyal comrade. During the team’s second mission, serious consequences arose in the dense jungle that threatened the lives of Tiger and Mayo. Watch this week’s episode of Saving Private K-9, exclusively on Sportsman Channel, Thursday, May 29 at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT as Tiger’s story of a bygone era is retold for a national television audience.

On this week’s episode of Saving Private K-9, Mayo recalls a mission in Vietnam, where he discovers his K-9 training partner’s skillset is no longer needed, so he must partner with a new dog – a scout dog – or completely retrain Tiger, a dog trained only to find explosives. Mayo and Tiger already have a bond, so Tiger’s retraining begins. Mayo teaches Tiger how to work “on point” – in complete silence – in an enemy laden jungle, where concealing their location is key.

“The first sergeant said you’ve got two options, you can go back to the dog trainer detachment, take Tiger back and get you a new scout dog, or I’ll give you a couple weeks and you can transition Tiger back to a scout dog,” remembers Mayo. “Tiger was my buddy, brother, and partner and the bond was so tight, I had to go with the idea of let’s switch him back over to scout dog training and get him as proficient, hopefully, as he was as a mine dog.”

With limited time before their next mission, Mayo and Tiger had to feverishly work to prepare themselves. Tiger’s training afforded Mayo and the soldiers they helped to protect, a chance at survival in an unpredictable warzone. When Mayo and Tiger began their second mission, leading a foot patrol near South Vietnam, they soon found out just how easily the tables could turn.

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