While fans may be swept away by the wild things happening on CBS’s hit war-set drama SEAL Team, there’s no denying that there’s a four-legged scene stealer lurking about — Dita the dog.
SEAL Team’s fearless Cerberus. So far, the 3-year-old Belgian Malinois, whose real name is Dita the Hair Missile for her ability to rocket into the air, has alerted the guys to an explosive-laden Afghan truck and even tackled a bomb maker.
This is Dita’s first role, but high-IQ “mallies” are made for show business. “We joke they’re a cross between a German shepherd and a velociraptor on a diet of energy drinks and crack,” says Justin Melnick, who plays SEAL Brock and is Dita’s trainer and handler.
Mad skills! The canine follows the visual cue of a laser to hit her mark and uses drug-sniffing techniques to find “explosives” (marked by a synthetic narcotic on a cotton ball). She can climb ladders and, in Melnick’s arms, fast-rope out of a hovering helicopter. “No matter how scary,” he says, “if there’s explosions or gunfire, she knows I’m with her.”
Dita and lead David Boreanaz have a special bond, Melnick reveals. “We know he’s on set because Dita catches his scent and runs to greet him.”
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Dita, a three-year-old Belgian Malinois, plays an explosives detection dog on CBS specialized forces drama “SEAL Team,” performing stunts from helicopter rides to climbing ladders. Her handler, Justin Melnick, originally trained her to be a part of search and rescue during his work with a real life small town police force in Indiana but later switched her to narcotics detection. “Everything we do on the show is for real, and it’s all training for her,” Melnick says.
How do you feel the platform of the show has affected the real life police work you do?
I’ve been working on a charity for two years called End of Watch to be able to drop off an immediate check for families of fallen law enforcement who died in the line of duty. It’s a lot harder to set up a charity than one might thing, but using this platform from the show to promote that charity down the line is 100% a blessing from God. I love making the show and being in nature and working with every single person — I’ve never met a more driven and capable group of human beings on every level; there’s no “no,” there’s just “Let’s figure it out” — but I wouldn’t do it unless there was a reason. We’re here for a very limited time, and if we can do good in the world and leave it better than we found it, I’m a big believer in that.
How does training Dita for the show differ from what you would do in the field?
Has there been anything the show wanted Dita to do that you thought would be a problem for her?
Just hanging with some new friends What dog doesn’t love a trip in the back of a truck? Especially when they’re used to much more intense settings during dangerous missions with her crew.
What is a hair missile dog?
Who owns Dita the dog on SEAL Team?
What kind of dog is Dita on SEAL Team?