Mike Ritland
Navy SEAL Canine Trainer, former member of SEAL Team 3

Mike Ritland joined the Navy at age 17 in 1996, after being inspired by his grandfathers—both of whom had served in World War II. He graduated with BUD/S class 215 and became a member of SEAL Team 3.


In April 2003, Ritland’s 16-member SEAL Team was deployed to Iraq along with the First Marine Division, and they were tasked with taking the city of Tikrit. During one clearing operation, he observed a group of Marines approaching a cave-like structure in a rural area outside the city. After searching thousands of buildings and similar structures without issue, they were tempted to assume that all was clear, but the platoon was alerted to danger by an explosive-detector dog. Ritland learned later that a grenade booby trap had been set in the doorway and would certainly have killed the first marines to enter. He knew instantly that he wanted to work with dogs such as the one he’d seen, and learn to harness their remarkable abilities to defeat the tools of modern warfare.


After 12 years of active duty as a U.S. Navy SEAL, Ritland became a BUD/S instructor and started his own company, Trikos International, to train dogs for the SEAL teams. Today he continues to supply working and protection dogs to a host of clients, including to the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs, Border Patrol, TSA and the Department of Defense. He has trained hundreds of working dogs, has over 15 years of experience in importing, breeding, raising, and training multiple breeds of working dogs, and is the author of multiple books on how to most effectively train working dogs. He also started the Warrior Dog Foundation to help retired Special Operations dogs live long and happy lives after their service. Proceeds from Mike Ritland’s book Trident K9 Warriors: My Tale from the Training Ground to the Battlefield with Elite Navy SEAL Canines will be donated to the Warrior Dog Foundation.

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Trident K9 WarriorsMy Tale From the Training Ground to the Battlefield with Elite Navy SEAL Canines
St. Martin's Press

As a Navy SEAL during a combat deployment in Iraq, Ritland saw a military working dog in action and instantly knew he'd found his true calling. As seen on "60 Minutes," Ritland's book details how he started his own company training and supplying dogs for the SEAL teams, U.S. Government, and Department of Defense.

Navy Seal Dogs My Tale of Training Canines for Combat
St. Martin’s Griffin

This is the true story of how Mike Ritland grew from a skinny, bullied child, to a member of our nation's most elite SEAL Teams, to the trainer of the world's most highly skilled K9 warriors.

e-Book Agency
Navy SEAL's BUD/S Preparation GuideA Former SEAL Instructor's Guide to Getting You Through BUD/S
St. Martin's Press

Retired Navy SEALs will take you inside the Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL Training program to teach prospective Navy SEALs the ins and outs of the most rigorous military selection program in the world. The team at SOFREP is uniquely suited to write a program of instruction which walks would-be Special Operations troops through the course and tells them how to get from A to B and achieve their goals in the Special Operations community. Filled with entertaining anecdotes and an insider's knowledge, Navy SEALs BUD/S Preparation Guide is a must-read for prospective SEALs and armchair military enthusiasts everywhere.

Trident K9 Warriors Fewer than 1% of all working dogs have what it takes to contribute to the success of our nation’s elite combat units. Mike Ritland explains the fascinating aspects of the animals he selects, the traits they must have in common with the Navy SEALs themselves, and the process they go through to prepare for work in the most extreme environments. Though fiercely aggressive and athletic, these dogs actually integrate themselves into a platoon, form close bonds with their handlers and team members, and show unwavering devotion to their duty through pain, injury and fear. Ritland shares stories of remarkable exploits, including those of Poncho, a creature so athletic that he was able to catch up to and apprehended an insurgent speeding off on a moped, and Samson, who discovered an IED so intricately buried it would have killed scores of U.S. and coalition forces had it not been detected.

Discover Trikos, Mike Ritland’s expert personal-protection dog training business.

Learn 5 useful tips to train your dog.

Check out the Warrior Dog Foundation here.

Learn more about Mike Ritland here, and follow him and his dogs on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Praise for Navy SEAL Dogs
"Mike was fantastic!! Our group loved him. He did a great job of sharing his information that kept everyone interested. At lunch when the Steering Committee could ask question, there seemed no end to the questions and our interest in him and his passion. Mike answered all the questions without cutting anyone off! He did a great job. We are very pleased and it was a great start to this years lecture series!"
-Pat Wolf, College Endowment Association

"Special force SEALs are elite enough, but SEAL dogs are a breed apart. Fascinating . . . About time these heroes got the attention they deserved for a young audience."

"Navy SEAL Dogs gives a unique insider account of the training and deployment of these special animals and their handlers. Ritland does a superb job of detailing these dogs in combat, as well as the bond between operator and K-9. Readers are sure to be surprised by the different levels of service and skill that go into making an elite team of two legged and four legged SEALs."
—Howard Wasdin, former Navy SEAL and New York Times bestselling author of I Am A SEAL Team Six Warrior

"After a stellar career in the Teams, Mike Ritland has gone on to train working K9's for some of the most elite units in the U.S. Special Operations community. These dogs are integrated into Special Operations at all levels of mission planning. They HALO parachute from high altitude, chase enemy squirters, and detect explosive booby traps, to name just a few tasks. If you want to learn about these amazing animals, the sacrifices they've made, and their effectiveness in combat, then read Navy SEAL Dogs."
—Brandon Webb, former Navy SEAL, New York Times bestselling author of The Red Circle, and Editor-in-Chief SOFREP.com

“Mike was absolutely incredible. Everyone loved his presentation and visiting with the dogs.”
—Wichita Human Society