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...There were several reasons that these methods didn’t work.
...Anti-tank dogs started being used in earnest in 1941, when German forces advanced on Soviet lands. Thirty dogs kicked off what would be a rather lacklustre debut for the exploding dog-force; indeed, the dogs were so ineffective that the Soviet military was accused of simply sacrificing them.
...A much larger problem was that the dogs had been trained with Soviet tanks, not German ones. Soviet and German tanks used different types of fuel, and some of the dogs sniffed out the fuel they were used to and trotted off to blow up the tanks used by the very military that trained them.
...However there were problems with these canine mobile mines. If a dog was frightened by the commotion and activity on the battlefield, it might return to its handlers, and when it jumped into the trenches the bomb was likely to detonate killing friendly troops.
Another problem was due to a poor training strategy. Soviet tanks were used to train the dogs, and they ran on diesel fuel. The German tanks however, used gasoline. Because dogs are so attentive to the smells around them, the German tanks seemed quite different than the Russian tanks that they had trained with.
Thus it was not unheard of, for a dog to seek out a Soviet tank behind the Russian lines because it smelled of diesel rather than the German tank in front of it which smelled of gasoline.
There was also, however, a psychological problem for the Soviet soldiers. The dog trainers and handlers began to rebel at the cruelty involved in destroying dogs that they had worked with and often formed an emotional bond with.
If, for example, a dog turned away from the tank and started to run back towards the Soviet trenches, to prevent injury to the soldiers should the bomb detonate, returning dogs had to be shot, often by the very people who had cared for them.
Even if the dog was successful, the trainers had to watch an animal that they knew well as it died a horrible death that they had it sent it to.
This made the dog handlers unwilling to work with new dogs, and some doubted the morality of their superiors complaining that the Army was not happy with just sacrificing people to the war but felt that it was necessary to slaughter innocent trusting dogs as well.