- Billy joins Memphis, Flynn and Rika for his first training session
- How Harry, Cosmic and Cagney did in their remedial assessments
- The future of Brodie after his hip replacements.
Billy joins Memphis, Flynn and Rika for his first training sessionAfter a very pleasant day in the garden with 10 week old Billy
|"Come on then, I haven't got all day!"|
I was really interested to see how Billy would react to meeting the 3 older pups. We also had operational Police dog Jack there with his handler Phil Wilson to see their reaction to an older dog. As always none of the dogs were allowed to rough play and were kept under close control while they became acclimatised to each other in a sensible way.
Billy reacted very positively and if anything showed he is going to be a very forward and assertive dog when he matures. Clearly if he did not receive regular canine contact, firm leadership and no doubt a degree of discipline Billy could very easily become a problem in the wrong hands.
We were joined for the day by ITV who are making a documentary about the Devon and Cornwall Police force and wanted to see the puppy development scheme in action. They are pictured here filming me briefing the group about the objectives for the session.
We started with some article searching and I gave a demonstration with my 12 month old brood bitch Qwendi of her searching for a small metal tube hidden in long grass. She is pictured here lying down next to the article to tell me she has found it. Our dogs are trained to search for any article with human scent on it and tell the handler they have found it by lying down or standing over it.
|"Found it, its over here, its not very interesting - I can't eat it!"|
|"Got it, yep look at me 10 weeks old and I've found a ... glove!"|
Police pup Memphis is pictured here with his puppy walker Phil searching very nicely for a soft wallet.
|"I can do it, just give me time..."|
Next it was on to the agility equipment. Obviously we do not do any jumping or anything that is likely to stress young joints but we do like to get them used to different experiences at this early stage as it pays dividends later in terms of confidence and problem solving. Billy has determination written all over his face here going up the ramp.
|"I can see the tidbits, I can smell the tidbits, I just can't reach the tidbits"|
|"I can smell it, that tidbit is mine"|
Memphis and Flynn going up and down ramp 2
|"For a tidbit I would climb the highest mountain!"|
|"There it is, I didn't think I left it there though?"|
Next it was over to the tracking which is the most important exercise for our dogs as it accounts for the major part of the work done by an operational Police dog. Basically it is teaching the dog to follow the footsteps and the direction that an offender or vulnerable missing person has gone off in.
I am pictured here carrying Billy across the field to do his tracking to a chorus of mickey taking from the others. That is because I am always telling the walkers not to carry their pups but to let them do things for themselves.
|"Why walk when you can be carried... its so hot..."|
The tracking is going really well and to explain it better I have included 2 short video’s of Billy and Rika doing their tracks. We use food drops to get the pup to make the association that footsteps have food in them. These are placed in every footstep in the early stages but are then gradually phased out with just the occasional food drop. ( Video 2 and 3 )
Next we practised our sit, downs and recall’s over in the shade as the pups were starting to feel the heat.
|"Thank you, I wonder if these tidbits are low fat"|
|"I needed a cuddle, I've been very busy... and look I'm sitting"|
Video 4 shows Memphis recalling happily to Phil.
Video 5 shows Rika recalling to Rob.
Here are a couple photo’s of us relaxing between sessions
How Harry, Cosmic and Cagney did in their remedial assessmentsIf you read my blog last week you will know that Harry, Cosmic and Cagney have not been developing as we would like and so this week I took the opportunity to assess them individually in more detail.
Harry, pictured here with his puppy walker Graham recently at the Devon County show, was the first pup I assessed. Harry has had some issues on shiny floor surfaces and going up and down stairs. He assessed as a dog with exceptional working ability but still with issues on some floors. I have given Graham a 3 month action plan to help Harry to improve in this area and we will reassess him after that.
Reluctantly after consultation with Terry and Jill I have made the decision to release Cagney and just as I thought Terry and Jill have decided they want to keep her. We always give our puppy walkers 1st option to keep a pup if they are released from the program. I am happy knowing that Cagney will have a great home but very sad that Terry and Jill will no longer be puppy walkers as they have been with me from the start.
I am very grateful for everything they have done for us and the many dogs they have puppy walked for us.
Next in for assessment was Cosmic, pictured below on my assessment, who also had not been performing with the level of determination I wanted in his work and there had also been a question mark about his boldness.
|"I can be a Police dog, I'm just a little bit hot at the moment"|
Brodie decision timeBrodie from our B litter was born with very badly defective hips which required both of his hips to be replaced.
He is pictured here with the excellent orthopaedic surgeon Peter Attenborough and his staff who performed the work needed to give him the opportunity to lead a completely normal life.
Peter the surgeon has advised us that not only will Brodie be able to lead a normal life he will also be fit enough to undertake the rigorous life of a Police dog.
I don’t doubt that Peter Attenborough is correct that Brodie could work. However after much soul searching I have decided that we should not risk Brodie’s welfare or future wellbeing by putting him through the rigours of a 13 week Police dog course and the physical stresses required of a Police dog after all he has gone through.
I have discussed this with his puppy walkers. They obviously want to keep him having come through this journey together but they also want to carry on as puppy walkers which they will not be able to do if they keep Brodie. I have told them they do not need to rush to a decision but to discuss it and to let me know what they want to do. They know we have numerous people keen to give him a good home if they wish to continue puppy walking.
Well there you have it a very busy week. See you next time when I will update you on Brodie.
Bye for now. Paul