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Friday, 10 February 2017

New Recruits Ozzie, Ollie & Oscar Join Our German Imports Tammy, Tag & Tara To Start Their Journey Towards The 2018 January Initial Police Dog Course

New Recruits Ozzie, Ollie & Oscar Join Our German Imports Tammy, Tag & Tara To Start Their Journey Towards The 2018 January Initial Police Dog Course

Having collected Tammy, Tara and Tag from Germany in early January it was time to make my way up to Glapwell in Chesterfield to collect 8 week old puppies Ollie, Ozzie and; Oscar from Richard Evans pictured here with the 3 boys and his wife Sue.

Richard an old friend of mine was the breed manager for the Thames Valley Police dog section for over 21 years and more recently also the Hampshire Police dog section on their amalgamation.

He retired just over 18 months ago and moved up to Chesterfield near to his wife Sue’s relatives and took his female GSD Lola with him. This is her first litter which consisted of 3 boys and a female.

Here they are eager to get at the food that Richard was packing up to take back with me

I never heard so much as a peep from them on our 5 hour journey back to our house. On our arrival 3 hungry pups made short work of their first meal in our kitchen.

I had 3 excited puppy walking families eager to get their hands on them but because I didn’t get back until early evening I had to disappoint them by making them wait until the next day before allocating them. So they spent their first night together with me.

It is much better for them to spend as much time as possible on arrival at their new home to get them used to their surroundings to tire them out before their first night on their own.

Again I never heard a peep from them all night and there was time for them to have a light breakfast and have a good play in the garden before going into the Police dog training school to meet their new puppy walkers.

A quick individual photo then it was off to HQ.
All of the puppy walkers for Ozzie, Ollie and Oscar are puppy walking for the first time. Before meeting the pups the puppy walkers were given a briefing and information pack and issued with their equipment and kit.

Part of the equipment includes a very large cage which will become the puppy’s sanctuary and private place for use in the house. It is very important the pup has somewhere he/she can go and be left in peace and also to get used to being left alone for short periods. Tag is pictured here relaxing in his den on one of my earlier visits.

To make it fair we had a draw to see who was going to have which puppy and then we all went outside to meet the pups for the first time.

It was then time for some final photographs before the puppy walkers and their pups departed for their new homes in Marsh, Saltash and Newton Abbott.

Marie and Ozzie
Debra, Paul and Ollie
Rebecca, Peter and Oscar
As always I checked the following morning to see how the pups had got on with their first night alone and found they all settled down fairly quickly and slept well. As is to be expected they had to be let out a couple of times during the night but other than that they were fine.

I had a puppy class with the D litter on the Sunday then visited the 3 new pups during the week to see how they were all doing. They had all settled in well and apart from a few toileting accidents and the usual mouthing and attempting to chew things they shouldn’t everyone was happy and relaxed.

Here are a few photo’s of my visits.
Oscar is pictured here getting involved in the car wash then after being moved on decided to dismantle the garden netting before finally falling asleep in the house.

Ollie is pictured here playing with his new friend 10 year old border collie Jet as they contest who is the rightful owner of the tugger on the rope.

It was no surprise to see who ended up with it.

All 3 brothers clearly possess the will to win and have very determined  characters which are necessary attributes for a Police dog.

Here is Ollie calmly watching one of the 2 house cats in the garden and has already learned that cats demand respect if you want to avoid a nasty scratch

Ollie has certainly settled into his new home.

Next was Ozzie and he was certainly no less determined and possessive than his 2 brothers. Every toy ends up on his little bed and this metal tube was no exception.

Marie has already started lots of games and exercises with Ozzie which will be very important in gaining his focus and attention. This will be invaluable later on in maintaining control over him and preventing him from getting into trouble and mischief.

Then it was time to see me off the premises and I remember looking at this 9 week old pup and thinking he already has the look of a dog who is going to be very assertive and strong willed.
I have to congratulate Richard on breeding 3 very excellent pups.

Their first training session will be on Sunday 19th February.


The morning session was glorious sunshine.

Here is Danno pictured barking for his toy with Mitzi

Here are Colin and Mitzi relaxing with Danno having elected to do the morning session.

That all changed for the afternoon session with Mary and Dizzi game fully tracking through the driving rain.

Here is Daisy looking like she meant business on her introduction to the bite pad with Eamon.

The D litter are now 8 months old and so we can now start to increase the level of difficulty on their tracking and search work as we prepare them for their September 2017 Initial Police dog course.


Tag, Tara and Tammy ( Now Helga ) were purchased for the January 2018 Initial Police dog course and with the addition of Ozzie, Ollie and Oscar we now have the 6 pups we require. We run 2 courses each year one in January and one in September.

There are 4 places on each course but we always have 2 additional pups to cover for unforeseen circumstances such as orthopaedic issues , temperament problems or lack of working potential.  With the recent retirement of our breeding female Ruby we now only have one breeding female Sasha and require a second female for our breeding program.

We are hoping that Tara or Tammy can fill that gap and obviously we will not know until they have their hip and elbows X rays at 12 months of age. That leaves a space for one more pup which I hope to acquire next week

This training session was the first opportunity to look at the working potential of our 3 German imports. We started with searching for a toy thrown into long grass.
Here is Tara not only searching and locating the toy but also bringing it back.
We then introduced them to the ramps and the tunnel.

Here is Tag inside the tunnel and it was then difficult to get him out he enjoyed it so much.
Here is Tara confidently making her way up the ramp.
Tammy was a little cautious initially about going into the tunnel and up the ramps but with the inducement of some liver treats she quickly overcame her caution.

Next we introduced them to tracking which is following a trail laid by a person. We do this by placing titbits into our footprints and the pup learns that following footprints is worthwhile.

Tammy is pictured here quietly watching her trail being laid.

Her patient and quiet demeanour gave no clue to just how tenacious and determined she was going to be once she was allowed to start the trail.

Here are my first impressions of the pups after their first session.


Tag is pictured here with Jo who is a first time puppy walker. Tag is a very laid back easy going pup who gives the impression expending energy is not one of his priorities in life. However if you press the right buttons he is very determined and focused. Strong nerves and not fazed by very much.


Tara is pictured here with Jill one of our most experienced puppy walkers. Tara is a happy outgoing bundle of energy who loves life and people. She has strong nerves and is extremely confident with everything she meets. She has good work drives, is certainly no pushover and likes to have the last word.


Tammy is pictured here with Margaret who is a first time puppy walker. Tammy has a hint of caution in her nature but she does not back down from any situation. She is very strong willed and determined with very strong nerves. Her work drives are very strong. She strikes me as the most serious of the 3 siblings and provided her trainer or handler is patient in handling her caution she will be a very strong Police dog.
So having enjoyed their first training session it was time to go home.

I will be training the D litter on Sunday and next week I will be spending time with the Initial course dogs.

I still have Lenny with me having passed his Initial course in early December. Unfortunately  there are no handlers requiring a dog at the moment and so he will have to remain with me until there is.

There are numerous Police dog sections who would like to take him but because of his outstanding tracking ability I want to keep him in force and also if the D litter prove to be successful I would want to use him again at stud.

Rudi my Dutch import who lives with me, Lenny and Sasha is now 8 months old and is becoming a real handful. This is another reason why I would like to find a place for Lenny because Lenny is now starting to find Rudi very irritating.

Lenny is on the left.

Sasha meanwhile can’t be bothered with the boys as long as she has a toy in her mouth she is happy.

In my next blog I will let you know how the Initial course are getting on and how Ozzie, Ollie and Oscar get on with their first training session.

Bye for now.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

The January 2017 General Purpose Initial Police Dog Course Gets Underway

Meet the team’s starting out on their 13 week General purpose Initial Police dog course.

Rear left is PS Ali Cruwys with TPD Billy, PC Steve Cruwys with TPD Nato,( formerly Cato) front left Chris Williamson with TPD Bernie, centre is course instructor Hugh Watson and right is Mark Pomery with TPD Ronny.

Let me introduce the teams to you.

PS Ali Cruwys is the dog section supervisor for the Plymouth and Ashburton Police dog sections. Her old Police dog Bodie recently retired and will now live out his retirement with Ali and her family.

Billy was bred by our regular breeder John Smith in Barrowden and was puppy walked by Sue and Nigel Davey in Exeter.

Here he is as a young puppy.

He is doing really well on the course particularly with his tracking. All of Ali’s previous Police dogs have been exceptional tracking dogs and Billy looks like following in their footsteps. ( Excuse the pun ) He is still very immature for his 19 months.

PC Steve Cruwys is a Police dog handler in Exeter and is married to Ali . Should Nato be successful he will be taking over from Steve’s retired Police dog Logan. Three of Nato’s brothers graduated as operational Police dogs on our December 2016 course and Nato hopes to make it a successful quartet.

Nato was bred by Drew Rush from Gloucestershire who proudly saw Nato’s 3 brothers graduate on their passing out parade in December and would love to see Nato follow in their footsteps in April 2017.

Nato was puppy walked by experienced puppy walker Susannah Coffin and her family. Here he is as a young puppy. Nato is a very big powerful dog who is very bold and self-assured.

He loves his handler and when Steve puts him back in the big van after he has completed his turn to work and Steve re-joins the rest of the course Nato howls like a bloodhound. Nato is exceptional in all of his work and my advice to criminals is don’t be fooled by the floppy ears you don’t want to mess around with this dog.

PC Chris Williamson has been a Police dog hander for 16 years and works in Guernsey. Bernie was bred by Paul Jones who recently moved to Lostwithiel after spending 7 years in Germany and prior to moving to Germany provided a number of Police dogs for Devon and Cornwall Police.

Bernie was puppy walked by Paul Sabin an experienced puppy walker and his family in Torquay. Bernie is pictured relaxing here at my home address after I brought him back from Germany with his 2 brothers Bob and Bevan

We had to release his brother Bob because he found it difficult to cope on different types of floor surfaces. Bernie also had the same issue but not to the same extent of his brother and is doing really well on all exercises on his course.

Bernie is a feisty, high energy; independent young dog that we must be mindful he is only 13 months old. Also because his handler Chris flies home to Guernsey each weekend Bernie goes back to his puppy walker Paul to be looked after at weekends.

We are grateful to his puppy walker Paul because it means that Bernie can relax and rest at weekends which are vitally important for him after an intensive week of training.

It will be disruptive for Bernie coming back in each week to be reunited with Chris but we will monitor the situation closely and hopefully after a few weeks he will settle into the routine.

PC Mark Pomery is a novice Police dog handler with his new dog Ronny. If successful Mark and Ronny will be working at Bodmin Police dog section.

Ronny was bred by Alfons Schulmeister in Hovelriege Germany. Alfons also bred our latest 3 puppies Tammy, Tag and Tara who I collected 2 weeks ago and featured in our last blog.

Ronnie was initially puppy walked on a temporary basis by experienced puppy walker Annie Miller while we found a full time puppy walker. He was then puppy walked full time by experienced puppy walkers Jill and Terry Hodge. They are also now puppy walking new pup Tara.

Here is Ronny pictured with Annie on the day Terry and Jill with their granddaughter collected Ronny  from Annie’s home.

Ronny is a big powerful dog with a lovely nature and very strong working drives. Ronny is one of those dogs that take everything in their stride and is a pleasure to own and be around. He and first time handler Mark are well suited and are doing well in all aspects of the course.

So after nearly 2 weeks all 4 teams are doing well.

The course is great fun for the dogs but is physically and mentally very demanding. At weekends it is important that the dogs just relax and get plenty of rest to recharge their batteries for the next weeks training.

I love seeing the young dogs start their Initial course training but I never forget what a huge part our puppy walkers have played in preparing these dogs for our courses.

 As a result of their hard work our dogs arrive fully socialised to all everyday life experiences. They have covered basic control exercises such as sit stay, down stay, basic agility, tracking, article searching, puppy tugging, recall, and to remain in the vehicle until the lead is attached and the jump down command is given.
Ronny down Stay
Nato sit stay
Billy tracking
Ronney stay in car

If that doesn’t impress you then maybe Bernie and his brother practising their high 5 will

The course will cover a wide range of exercises and skills which includes tracking and searching for outstanding criminals or vulnerable missing persons, dealing with violent offenders, disorderly crowds, agility, searching for outstanding articles, and a wide range of control exercises.

Bernie is pictured here in the early stages of learning to negotiate an obstacle.

Billy is pictured here negotiating the window obstacle.

Eventually the dogs will need to negotiate a 3 metre long jump and a 2 metre high obstacle.

Control work is probably our most important work and is practised daily. This will include the dog being able to walk in a controlled and relaxed manner alongside the handler, a sit stay, a down stay for 5 minutes with distractions, emergency recall from practical situations, releasing a toy on command, releasing an offender detained by the dog on command and return to the handler.

Here are the teams in the early stages of group heelwork.

Here is Steve in the early stages of the down stay with Nato.

Here is Ali getting the look and focus with Billy. Notice her soft expression and lack of threat together with reassuring praise which obtains a happy relaxed response from Billy

In Dorset, Devon and Cornwall we have a large number of elderly residents and we spend a lot of time searching for elderly vulnerable missing people. Very often they are confused and can attempt to push the dog away when located.

That is where our puppy program pays dividends. Because of their balanced temperaments and the wide ranging socialisation program they undertake with their puppy walkers they are unlikely to attack or bite anyone unless there is a very good reason.

Nato is pictured here in the early stages of learning to bark without being aggressive to indicate he has located a person.

The dogs are also taught to indicate any outstanding property or articles bearing recent human scent. This could be lost property or articles that may have been dropped or hidden by a criminal. We don’t want the dog touching or mouthing the item so as not to interfere with any DNA which could identify the offender.

Here is Bernie in the early stages of learning not to touch the wallet in the basket
Here is Ronny getting ready to set off on his track.

Tracking is the following of a trail left by a person who could be a criminal who has made off from a crime scene or vulnerable missing person we need to locate.

Ronny is away demonstrating a low nose in the footprints of the person who left the trail.
Tracking probably accounts for a large percentage of our work and so we start their tracking training as early as 3 months of age.

Here is Ronny at 5 months already showing good tracking concentration with puppy walker Annie.

Bernie was a little wayward starting his tracking on the course and so we reverted to the method we used with him during his puppy training. You can see he is going to be a very determined and driven tracking dog.

There is no doubt the dogs love their biting work. With the advent of the Tazor and the Incapacitate sprays that officers now carry the dogs do not get used in as many use of force situations as they used to.

However they still need to protect their handlers and still need to be trained to detain a fleeing criminal who ignores the challenge to stop, or to deal with violent unruly crowds.

We start with the handler playing with a bite cushion to get the dog used to it and this is then transferred to a helper. Once the dog gets proficient at biting the bite cushion with the helper we transfer to a protective sleeve worn on the right arm.

Pictured here is Bernie going through this first training phase.

Pictured here is Nato on a covered sleeve and it is very obvious that he is going to be a very determined and hard biting dog.

Well I hope you have enjoyed the blog.

Someone on Facebook commented they thought the blog last time was a bit layman which I thought was a bit unfair.

I do the blog voluntarily in my own time and try to keep it simple but informative. I’m more than capable of using all the training buzz words and sounding very knowledgeable and clever but unless you inform me different I will leave it as it is.

I will update you all on the course at the halfway stage.

Bye for now