Although 3 of the puppy walkers were unable to make our first training session we decided to run the session anyway to get the ball rolling.
We started with a demonstration with my old Police dog Spud on what tracking is all about with Ava, Annie, Axel and Arry all watching with interest.
We then gave all 4 pups an introduction to tracking using hot dog sausages. Initially small pieces of hot dog sausages are placed in every scuffed footprint which the pup follows to get the food. After several sessions the pups make the association that by following human scent and disturbed ground they find food. Eventually as they become more and more proficient less food drops are placed out and eventually the food is replaced with the pup’s favourite toy.
Puppy Ava showing intense tracking concentration and looks a natural.
Arry negotiating a steep ramp on the agility course again using titbits. The agility course just builds the puppie’s confidence on the various ramps, tunnels and walkways. No actual jumping takes place at this age for obvious reasons.
Arry enjoying being in the tunnel so much he has decided to stay in there.
A very determined Axel not keen to let go of the toy. He will soon learn that by letting go of the toy it immediately comes alive again and the game continues.
Also note the tennis ball will soon be discarded as they are extremely dangerous for bigger dogs. There is no danger to Axel at this stage as the ball is on a rope and is too large for Axel to swallow. It fills me with dread seeing people playing with a tennis ball or small rubber ball with a larger dog because if the dog swallows the ball it is almost impossible to get the ball out and the dog will be asphyxiated.
Annie showing intense concentration as she negotiates the walkway with Ollie and myself making sure she cannot slip off the sides.
The pups all meeting at the start of the session and if you look closely Ava in the centre is clearly showing she is not comfortable with the other pups all crowding and pressing her.
This is an excellent example to show it is not a good idea to just let pups jump on each other and play fight. Often what happens is the more assertive pups just become better at fighting and rough housing and the less assertive become wary of approaches from such dogs. Far better for young pups to meet older sensible dogs and learn to be well mannered and social.
Ava getting very excited meeting Cleo who is doing just as Ava’s mother Ruby used to do ie gently holding her muzzle to calm her down.
Ava very quickly relaxed in Cleo’s company.
At the end of the session we all went back for a coffee and a chat to talk about any behaviour or training queries anyone might need advice about. So that was it a very successful first training session on the long road to becoming a Police dog.
Ava just trying out a Police dog van for size and looking very much at home.