Monday, 18 April 2016
Chaos, Charley, Cosmic And Comet From Our C Litter Graduate As Operational Police Dogs After Completing Their 3 Month General Purpose Initial Police Dog Course
We started the course with Chaos, Comet and Cagney. Cosmic and Charley were spare dogs with no handler allocated to them and so the course and I trained them during the week and they returned to their puppy walkers at weekends.
In week 4 Cosmic was allocated to Sgt James Little a new handler who was appointed to supervise the Cornwall dog section. The course are pictured here
after a very enjoyable day tracking across muddy fields. Rear left Comet with Andy, rear right Cagney with Tim, front left Charley with me, front centre Cosmic with James, and front right Chaos with Mark.
In week 9 I traveled to Germany to collect 3 new puppies Bob, Bernie and Bevan.
This meant we now had 5 dog teams on the course and we were all pleased for Charley who had been without her own handler since the start of the course. Predictably they are now Chas and Dave. The new team are pictured here together in the centre.
We had seen a deterioration in her performance around week 6 and we had put this down to a phantom pregnancy which was clearly causing her some discomfort and changes in her behaviour.
However this didn’t improve after 5 weeks and if anything became more acute. We were all devastated because Cagney and her handler Tim were with us from the start and were part of the team.
Cagney now has a new home with Pippa in Devon.
Despite the gloom surrounding Cagney and Tim leaving us we had no time to dwell on it because we had to prepare for our assessments which were in 2 days time.
Instructor Mark Avery from Gloucester Police dog section came down on the Wednesday and Thursday and put the remaining teams through their paces. Dawn who puppy walked Comet also paid us a visit on the Tuesday to see how he was getting on with his handler Andy.
The dogs are assessed on all aspects required of an operational general purpose Police dog. This includes the ability to track and search for both criminals who have fled a crime scene and vulnerable missing persons. Dealing with disorderly crowds and violent criminals. Obedience and agility tests. Searching for outstanding articles and property.
Here are the teams performing some of their work on the assessments.
The above shows Andy leaving Comet in a sit stay before he recalls him.
The above shows Charley and Dave tracking across country before finding their offender hiding behind a fence. He is then ordered to come out and is searched by the handler while the dog watches and waits for any sign that the offender might attack his handler. If the offender does that the dog is trained to immediately attack.
The assessor commented on how unusual it was to see a group of Police dogs so relaxed and trustworthy in such a busy environment and so social together. He stated it was a pleasure to see and was clearly the result of the pups growing up together and developing together on our training sessions with our puppy walkers.
After successfully licensing it was time for a well-earned long weekend break before returning for more practical operational work and preparation for the passing out parade the following week.
On our final week all the handlers underwent their helicopter familiarisation work where they are required to ride in the helicopter.
The above video shows Cosmic completely relaxed enjoying the flight.
It is vitally important for our Police dogs to be neutral and totally reliable around livestock because we regularly have to work in amongst all types of livestock when searching rural areas for criminals and missing persons.
Finally our final day arrived when all the teams officially leave the course after their passing out ceremony. The ceremony is a chance for us to share the day with our families and to say a big thank you to all of our puppy walkers who make the whole thing possible.
The above shows Dave and Charley with their family.
For me it was a very emotional day seeing my C litter finally leaving to start their Police careers because it only seems like yesterday I watched them all being born to mum Ruby in our house. That is all of our 3 litters the A,B & C now out and serving operationally.
We have 15 operational Police dogs serving out of the 22 pups we have raised from our 3 litters. The 7 pups who did not make Police dogs are all thriving in pet homes and all of their owners comment on what lovely characters and temperaments they have.
We are now waiting to see if Sasha has been successfully mated to our dog Lenny and whether a D litter is on the way.
As for me no time for a rest as on Sunday I will be running a fun style competition for all of the 7 dogs for the September 2016 Police dog course and their puppy walkers.
Until next time goodbye from Sasha, Lenny and me.