SEAL Team dog handler and actor Justin Melnick hasn’t had to draw many lines about his dogs, but he did have to say no to the show‘s request for a scene with Dita. The dog handler also plays Brock Reynolds on the series and is an actual police officer.
Dita fell into his care after his roommate couldn’t take her anymore. And soon, she became an important part of SEAL Team wowing everyone with her abilities (which include ladder climbing!) But there’s one thing that production asked Melnick about that he had to turn down.
“They wanted someone to give her a bite of beef jerky, but she’s not allowed any human food,” he said in an interview with Variety.
Melnick is a devoted dog handler, and it appears the health of his dogs is incredibly important to him. But he went on to note that production was really kind about it and totally understood.
Apparently, training Dita was incredibly easy, at least for her work on SEAL Team. Her work on SEAL Team isn’t much different than what the already trained narcotics dog had to do with the police. While Dita plays an explosives dog, production puts narcotic scent where they need to on set in order to get her to lock in her target.
It appears the most training Melnick does with Dita is making sure she remembers the training she already has, going over exercises to keep her sharp. Melnick is also the handler for another dog on set, Cerberus. When either of the dogs appears on the show, it’s always fascinating to see how they work.
The ‘SEAL Team’ Dog Hander Used to be a War Photographer
On top of seeing active duty, Melnick is also a photographer. He brings some serious experience to the show and as a veteran, his input is incredibly valuable. He talked to Variety about those experiences as well.
“I spent about six years working all over the world as a combat photographer, and it culminated in Afghanistan,” he said. He spent a long time witnessing the realities of war. That’s what SEAL Team tries to respectfully portray.
He’s one of the many people who’ve seen war that are now a part of the show. Perhaps that’s part of the reason it’s been so highly praised by veterans. If you want to see SEAL Team for yourself, the show has officially moved from CBS. You can now stream new episodes and all previous episodes on Paramount +.