A pooch-like robot to help canine handlers practice medical procedures was used recently by Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command, for the first time.

The dog robot, used at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, was one of two prototypes developed to improve dog handler training and medical capabilities, and confidently prepare them for possible injuries downrange, according to a Marine news article.

“Our handlers are the first line of aid for their dogs when deployed, secondary to special amphibious reconnaissance corpsmen,” a MARSOC East force veterinarian said in the article.

The special operation forces handlers currently use stuffed dogs for training.

The robot dog now allows handlers to practice tracheotomies, CPR and IVs, with real-time vital stabilization feedback ― complete with moving joints, simulated blood release, pulse rate and barking.

The robot is designed to look like a Belgian Malinois, a common canine force breed.

Production is planned to start in March, with robot dogs being fielded possibly as early as April, according to the article.

Andrea Scott is editor of Marine Corps Times.

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