Today we all met at Police Headquarters Middlemoor Exeter for our first training and development session. It was a chance for all the litter to meet their brothers and sisters again. It is also good for the puppy walkers to compare notes and to realise they are not the only ones having a challenging first few weeks everyone is.
During the first part of the session all the pups had fun negotiating various puppy agility obstacles which included the long tunnel, several of the ramps and the narrow walkway. Although it is all good fun for the pups it also gives me the opportunity to look at their individual confidence levels and to assess their ability to deal with new challenges. All the pups negotiated the obstacles very confidently with the help of small cheese titbits or a favourite toy depending on what motivated them most.
I was grateful to Ben who is interested in one day becoming a dog handler who came up from Cornwall in his time off to help for the day.
We then did a short obedience session showing everyone how to get the dogs to go into the sit and down position and how to get a fast happy recall.
After the demonstration everyone had a practice.
We also discussed the importance of play with a pup to build confidence and building a strong bond between the puppy and their handler. I also demonstrated with Bebe how to get the puppy to release her toy on command. It is important for a dog to give up his/her possession or anything in his mouth when the handler asks him/her too.
We then went over to the dog training school for a short talk on socialisation for the pups. It is vitally important over the coming weeks for the pups to meet different people, animals, noises, traffic and as many situations as possible. But it is equally important that the puppy walkers know how to control the different situations so that their pup does not become overwhelmed or have any bad experiences. This was the purpose of the talk.
We then concluded with a demonstration of how to get the pups negotiating different stairs without creating a mental block in the pups and I have to say they were all very positive and confident.
Boris was initially a little apprehensive as he hasn’t been up and down stairs before and it looked a long way down. But with lots of encouragement he overcame his initial reluctance and is
Everyone enjoyed the day and all the pups look to have lots of early potential.
We meet again in a fortnight when we will be introducing them to the most important exercise for all Police dogs Tracking people and we will also be seeing how they cope in Exeter city centre.