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Monday, 7 November 2016

An update on the September 2016 initial Police Dog Course

The 2016 General Purpose Initial Police Dog Course

The Initial Police dog course have completed 8 weeks of their 13 week course and the teams are now starting to take shape.

Rear left Steve & Dexter, rear centre Course Instructor Graham & Reggie, rear right Vikki & Riggs, front left Terri & Teague (formerly Memphis ) and front right Luke & Jaccque.

The course is progressing very well indeed. As with all Initial courses there are so many different exercises and disciplines for the teams to master that very few teams just sail through the course without some areas or skills that need special attention.

Here the course are working on their heelwork and control exercises and as always finishing each exercise with a play session with their dogs

This is the foundation of all of our exercises and so it is practised every day.

There is no doubt that the dogs absolutely love the course not just  because the exercises are so exciting but because they are spending every minute of the day with their handlers which is what the dog craves above everything else in life.

Here are the dogs learning to bite the right arm of the offender holding on tight to prevent their escape until their handler tells them to release.
 Here is Dexter being introduced to a small disorderly crowd

I think it is fairly apparent that Dexter is more than slightly keen to deal with them. The dogs love the crowd work and get their reward by chasing the crowd back or biting offenders who get too close.
All joking aside that is why it is so important to select dogs with the correct temperament who are able to switch on and off. We practise walking through a passive crowd before and after they have been disorderly  to condition the dog to understand that aggression only applies to a violent disorderly crowd.

That is also why it is important for handlers to perform high visibility foot patrols amongst crowds such as shoppers to ensure the dog maintains the correct perspective with regard to crowds.

Here is Dexter again demonstrating the stand-off exercise and also that he loves doing an impression of a Meercat

The stand-off exercise is a very difficult exercise for the dog to master. It involves chasing after a person running away but not to bite them if they suddenly stop running and give themselves up. The dog is then required to maintain surveillance on the offender until the handler arrives.

The dogs on the course are very athletic and as you have already seen Dexter’s party trick is to walk on his back legs.  Well Jacque thinks he can top that by walking on his front legs.

Don’t worry he recovered his composure with no ill effects.

Teague is pictured here doing the hurdle.

Sometimes the handlers like to show off their agility skills here as demonstrated by Vikki negotiating a fence having been located by Jacque at the end of a track

Tracking probably makes up the majority of our work. For the uninitiated tracking is the ability of the dog to follow a scent left by an offender or missing person. The dogs can follow a scent for miles in the right conditions and once the dog has locked onto the scent can follow it through crowds of people and over all types of surfaces.

Pictured here are Reggie and Riggs hot on the trail of an offender.


The dogs are also trained to indicate any items of property discarded by the offender or missing person on the track. Vikki and Riggs are pictured here having located their Quarry at the end of this track.

We have had some issues with Teague’s tracking and we had to place him on a special tracking plan for 2 weeks to get him to show a better focus and accuracy on his tracks. We are keeping our fingers crossed that he will now kick on as a result of this extra work.

Teague is pictured here having searched an outside area and has located the hidden criminal

Jacque is pictured here having searched a large building and has located the criminal.

The dogs are trained not to bite but to bark to alert their handler that they have found someone.

Because Graham is the course instructor and is also handling Reggie the course students often collect Reggie from the van for Graham when it is Reggie’s turn to search. Reggie is pictured here looking into the building and is clearly saying come on Dad I’m here ready to go where are you? I love this photo.

The teams will be assessed on their suitability to be operational Police dogs in 4 weeks time by a Police dog instructor from another Police force.

Meanwhile my own dog Lenny is being trained by myself alongside the course just in case there are any unexpected developments. As you can see he is certainly not a dog to back down from a challenge.
 
I will be doing an update on how all the dogs get on in 4 weeks time.

Bye for now.