Military Leaders Hope K9 Handlers Will Bond With Their New Robot Dogs

Written by: Brandon Rhoads

May 25, 2016

Last week two versions of the same story graced the internet. The subject? Robot dogs designed to replace actual military working dogs.


In the first version of the story, which we’ll just call the “pawfficial” version, assistant to the Secretary of the Navy, Frank Kelley, declared that one day marines and soldiers who work with “unamanned” systems (read: robot dogs) will likely bond with the… unmanned system just as they would a biological dog.


Quoted on, Frank Kelley has reportedly claimed that unmanned systems may very well become the poster child of the Marine Corps, saying “someday we may be able to replace that image of the Marine and the dog with an unmanned system.”

That means that one day this iconic image…


…would be replaced with this one:


Now, I was in the military once, but I’ve been in love with dogs my whole life, and both the veteran and dog lover inside me hear the words of Frank Kelley and scratch their heads. I’m sure that Kelley is an expert in all things military, and probably even an expert in military robots.But if you’re like me, you’re probably wondering if Frank Kelley ever met a dog.


Robots and machines may well become as smart as, or smarter, than humans in the future, but the idea that something made out of spare parts can replace the love of dog confounds me.


The second version of the story (which I think we’ll all agree rings more true) appeared on with the title “Corps Sees Hurdle in Getting Marines to Bond with Robotic Battle Buds.”

Doesn’t sound very optimistic about human-robot pair bonds, does it?

So far, real dogs are winning out against robot dogs in terms of performance and companionship, but a part of me really does hope that war dogs are replaced by robots one day. Not because I think they’ll make better battle buddies, but because one more robot on the battlefield means one less dog at risk in combat. Woof!

What do you think? Take our poll!

Featured image via Sarah Dietz/U.S. Marine Corps via

H/t to and

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Written by: Brandon Rhoads

May 25, 2016

Nutritionist-crafted food for your dog's breed or mix.

Recipes designed for dogs' individuality



A themed collection of BARK-designed toys, treats, and chews.


A themed collection of BARK-designed toys, treats, and chews.