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Devon and Cornwall, England devon-cornwall.police.uk

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

THE FORCE WELCOMES HENRY OUR FIRST EVER DUTCH HERDER AND AN UPDATE ON THE REST OF OUR PUPS


Henry with puppy walkers Terry and Jill

Approximately 4 weeks ago I acquired a 15 week old German Shepherd called Merlin



who had been bred by Ian Morgan of Lorockmor working dogs. I was so impressed by Merlin that I visited Ian’s kennels to see his dogs and his set up.

He is an experienced breeder of German Shepherds, Belgian shepherds ( Malinois ) and Dutch shepherds ( Herders ). He showed me his latest litter of very impressive Dutch herder pups who were 6 weeks old.

I returned the following week and assessed the litter and selected Henry for our puppy program.



Before anyone starts to panic I am not abandoning the German shepherd as I still believe that the German shepherd is the best breed for our needs particularly with regard to operational tracking.

But having said that the German shepherd has numerous inherited health issues and in the last 2 years we have experienced quite a significant number of our pups having to be retired prematurely with many of these issues.

The Dutch herder is a very athletic, robust dog with excellent working attributes and does not seem to suffer with any health issues. This is Ian’s working female.


In force we have 4 operational German shepherd/ Malinois crossbred dogs who were acquired from breeder Drew Rush. They are all doing very well operationally and so I intend to experiment with further cross breed combinations to try and reduce the health problems we have been having with the German shepherd.

Henry is being puppy walked by Terry and Jill Hodge who have puppy walked over 12 pups for us over the last 20 years. Here are some photos and a couple of videos of Henry in the first couple days with Terry and Jill.










Henry is earmarked for our January 2019 Initial Police dog course and I am hopeful that Ian will provide several more German shepherd pups and a Herder/ Malinois cross to join Henry on that course.

OUR SEPTEMBER 2018 INITIAL POLICE COURSE PUPS

Last weekend I held a training session at HQ Middlemoor which was attended by Eric, Gunner, Eva and Elsa.

We concentrated on tracking, article searching, ensuring the pups release their toy or possession when requested,  prevention of the pup jumping up, and person searching in a building.

ERIC


Eric is now 9 months old and is developing into a very nice dog. He has a lovely easy going biddable nature and just loves life. He has settled in really well with Eamon, Karen and the family. Eamon is pictured here getting ready to throw Eric’s toy into rough terrain.

Eric searches and easily locates his toy.


ELSA


Elsa is Eric’s sister and she has a very strong work ethic. She is a very driven powerful dog but very relaxed and easy to live with at home.

Her puppy walker Steve was away for this weekend and so Mary who is looking after her kindly brought her to the class. She is a bit too powerful for Mary to work and so retired dog Sergeant Alan Knight who came with his daughter Maddie handled her for me.

You can see the incredible focus and desire she has for her toy but the lovely clear head she has as she waits patiently for permission to replay.



Here is Steve working the agility ramps on our previous session.



Here are Eric and Elsa pictured with their puppy walkers at the same session.

 

GUNNER 

 

Gunner  is now aged 8 months and is pictured here with puppy walker Mark demonstrating how to get Gunner to give up his toy when requested. It is very important that a puppy always releases whatever he/she is holding on request.



As I reported in my last blog Gunners brother has had to retire with hip dysplacia. We have had Gunner x rayed as a precaution and thankfully his hips are very good.

 

EVA


Eva is pictured here tracking with puppy walker Billy and it’s no exaggeration to say that Eva has natural tracking ability and is outstanding in this area of work.

Eva’s training and development has been progressing really well but recently Eva began losing weight dropping from 26 to 21 kilo’s.

She has been diagnosed with Pancreatic Enzyme deficiency which will require her to be on medication for the rest of her life. Lisa has been nursing her back to health and we are quietly optimistic that she will make a full recovery.

Her Police career still hangs in the balance but such is her exceptional tracking ability that we all have our fingers crossed she can still make it.

This Sunday I held a training session in Plymouth for Quini and Merlin before going on to Exeter for a training session with Quest ( Quini’s brother ) and Peppe. Little 9 week old Henry also made a short appearance.

We concentrated on the same exercises and disciplines we had covered the previous week.

 

MERLIN


Merlin is now 4 months old and like so many of the pups in this group is a very determined larger than life character. He is pictured here with puppy walker Lyn.



He was very possessive about his toys when Lyn started with him and there was no way that Lyn could use the hoover or hose without full on attacks from Merlin.

With time he is learning the house rules. By directing his drives he is learning it is in his interests to release his toy and control himself to regain the toy again.



His tracking is coming along very nicely.

 

Quini


Quini is now 5 months old and is being puppy walked on a temporary basis by Terri Boswell and her family until the New Year when she will be returning to me. That is subject to me first having found a good home for Danno.

Here she is Quini with the family Terri, Mark and Tristen.


Quini is a real handful and does everything at 100 mph. She is very determined and therefore control exercises have been introduced early.

Terri is pictured here working on stopping Quini jumping up for her toy after she has released it. She is giving up her toy nicely but Terri stands on the line so that if Quini does jump up she will correct herself.


QUEST


Quest pictured here with puppy walkers Mitzi and Colin is a slightly larger version of his sister Quini but he is no less driven and determined.

Quest and Quini were purchased in Belgium and I am really pleased with their progress and very exciting potential. Quest is pictured here doing a very fast recall to Mitzi.


Quest is pictured here already showing a nice solid down stay for puppy walker Colin.

PEPPE


After a tentative and cautious start Peppe is now becoming much more confident and outgoing. Here he is pictured with puppy walkers Chris and Lyndsey.


I have been very impressed with Chris’s handling style and the obvious pride he has in Peppe.
In such a short time Peppe has developed an obvious trust in Chris which is why he is making such progress.

Chris and Peppe are pictured here playing search games and just working on releasing his toy.


Peppe is pictured here recalling to Lyndsey.



Peppe looks to be improving with his travel sickness.

On our last session Peppe wasn’t so confident on the ramps and tunnel and so Chris built his own little agility course at home.


It was really impressive to see the difference on the agility course on Sunday as a result of Chris’s work.



HENRY


Henry may be only 9 weeks but he seemed quite at home with all the hustle and bustle of our training day. Here he is practising a sit with Jill.



Next he had a go in the tunnel.



Finally a short introduction to tracking.



Although Henry has only had the first of his two inoculations we believe providing we are sensible the benefits of this early socialisation outweighs the risks.

OUR JANUARY 2018 INITIAL COURSE PUPS


TAG


Well the day I had been dreading finally arrived when Tag had to go to his new handler for the January Initial Police dog course.

We all knew that Marina was going to be upset  but Gideon tells me that it hit Mum Jo more than anyone.


Tag is pictured here with puppy walker Gideon being handed to his new handler Steve Newton from Dorset dog section.

Steve had already looked after Tag on a couple of occasions when the family had been on short breaks and Steve used to work with Gideon in Dorset Police.  Steve will be making sure regular contact is maintained.

 

OSCAR AND OLLIE


Oscar (centre) and Ollie ( right ) are pictured here on a visit to the 2017 September Initial Police dog course to see their brother Ozzie.


Ozzie should have been on the January 2018 course with his brothers but because we were a dog short for the September 2017 course Ozzie was fast tracked onto that course.

At the time of writing this blog Ozzie has successfully been assessed and licensed with Rudy and Devon as operational Police dogs.

Oscar


and Ollie


will continue with regular training while they wait for handlers to be identified to join Steve and Tag on the January 2018 course.

 

DANNO


Danno completed 5 weeks on the September 2017 Initial Police dog course but was released due to a lack of determination on some of the exercises. He spent some time with me until I found what appeared to be a suitable home for him in Maidstone, Kent.



Unfortunately that didn’t work out and so he is back with me and Ella. He loves Ella and there is no doubt having her around has rebuilt his confidence which was definitely very low when he came back to me.

There is no doubt lots of play with Ella has made a huge difference to him. Here they are together in the bushes.


He may be 18 months now but there is no doubt 9 month old Ella is the governor.



Danno is a very sweet natured dog in and around people he knows but can be defensive if strangers get to close to him. I intend to work on this issue now that I have his confidence and trust.

I am hopeful that I will find him a home in the New Year.

Well thats an update on all of the pups and next week I will do a final blog of 2017 of the Initial course final assessments and passing out parade.

Bye for now from me, Ella and Danno.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

CORNWALL POLICE DOG TEAMS VICTORIOUS AT THE 2017 ALLIANCE POLICE DOG ASSESSMENTS

The 2017 Police dog Alliance assessments were held over 3 days between 20 and 22 of November.

The assessments involved 7 dog teams from Dorset, Devon and Cornwall. Personal pride was at stake not to mention trophies for the most successful and the top 3 dog teams would represent the Alliance at next year’s Regional Police dog assessments.

The competitors were as follows:-


PC Darryl Drew and Police dog Boris are stationed at Exeter.  Boris is from our B litter born on the 19th of November 2013 and is one of our elite Firearms support dogs. Boris was initially puppy walked by Lin and Ken Kennedy in Cornwall. Tragically Ken died unexpectedly and Boris then had further puppy walkers Phil and Mel Rooks and Ali and Rob Kingdon.



PC Lee Crampton and Police dog Annie are also stationed at Exeter. Annie is from our A litter born on the 3rd of June 2013 and is also one of our Firearm support dogs. Annie was puppy walked by Susannah Coffin in North Devon


PC Terri Davies and Police dog Salvi are stationed at Plymouth. Salvi was born on 7th November 2014 and was purchased as a young pup for our program. Salvi was puppy walked by Force dog trainer Graham Attwood and his wife Lucy.


PC Mike Green and Police dog Blade are stationed at Weymouth Dorset. Blade was also from our B litter born on the 19th of November 2013. Blade was puppy walked by Emma Osborne in Exeter.
PC Lee Briggs and Police dog Shadow are stationed at Ferndown in Dorset. Shadow was purchased as a pup from breeder John Smith and was born on 26th August 2012. Lee and Shadow were the 2016 Alliance Police dog trials champions. Shadow was puppy walked by Annie Millar in Cornwall.





 PS James Little and Police dog Cosmic are stationed at Camborne. James is the dog section supervisor for Cornwall. Cosmic was from our C litter born on 20th May 2014. Cosmic was puppy walked by Lyndsay and Anthony Lane-Lobb in Plymouth.


PC Ben Jobes and Police dog Ash are also stationed at Camborne. Ash is from our A litter born on 3rd June 2013 and is also a Firearms support dog. Ash was puppy walked by puppy walker Annie Millar in Cornwall.

THE ASSESSMENTS

The assessments (formerly called Police dog trials ) are held annually involving the teams who have won through their local area assessments. The teams are assessed on the broad spectrum of the skills needed to be an operational Police dog team.

I was very excited to be invited to judge the teams over the 3 days for a number of reasons. I had acquired Shadow and Salvi as pups and with the assistance of my wife Diane I had bred Annie, Ash, Boris, Blade and Cosmic at our house.

I watched them all develop with their puppy walkers and in the case of Annie, Ash, Boris, Blade and Cosmic I was the Instructor on their Initial courses.

As keen as the dogs were to do their work it was nice to see that they still remembered me when they met me again as Blade demonstrates here.

 The assessments were divided into 3 phases.

PHASE 1

The 1st phase is the nosework section and assesses the dog’s ability to follow the trail of an offender one and a half hours old. The trail is half a mile long with multiple changes of direction and with 4 very small articles hidden on the trail which the team must recover.

Here is Lee and Shadow on their track which was very successful.


They are  pictured here being given their de-brief at the end of their phase 1  performance. As you can see like any good Police dog Shadow was more interested in the chance of further action.



Then like the character he is he decided after getting a sweat on it was time for a spot of cooling down.

After completing the track the teams must then deal with an offender who tries to flee the scene by running away when challenged. As the dog chases, the fleeing criminal will stop running and surrender. The dog should NOT bite the criminal but should keep him/her there by barking until his/her hander arrives.

We call this exercise the Stand Off.

Mike and Blade are pictured here having successfully detained their offender and a full search of the offender must then take place to make sure the offender is not concealing a weapon or evidence.


Having dealt with the fleeing offender there is one final exercise to the phase where the team then have to search and locate 4 further items of property hidden in a designated area.

The dog must indicate to the handler if he/she finds an article or item recently handled and must not touch the item to preserve any DNA that may link the offender to the item. Here is Blade setting off to search and having found an item lies down next to it waiting for his handler to take possession.



Due to persistent rain in the morning it was not possible to obtain decent photos of Boris, Annie and Salvi. The Cornwall competitors James Little with Cosmic and Ben Jobes with Ash did their Phase 1 the following morning and it is no exaggeration to say they were outstanding.

James and Cosmic won the Tracking section with a score of 155 out of 160 marks.


There is no doubt winning the Tracking exercise is the one section that all handlers want to win because to be a successful operational team you need a top tracking dog.

Having successfully completed his work with Cosmic James was able to relax and watch another competitor doing his work. Pictured with James are Cornwall handler Darren Tenby ( On the left ) and Cornwall and Plymouth environmental trainer Tim Goodwin ( On the right ) who both helped at the trials.


The handler they were watching was fellow Cornwall handler Ben Jobes with Police dog Ash.


James had a special interest because Ben and Ash were neck and neck with James and Cosmic as they were about to do their property search. A good property search by Ben and Ash would mean that they would win the Phase.

That is exactly what happened, Ben and Ash scored an incredible 96 out of 100 on their property search and deservedly won the phase 1 cup.

James wasn’t worried because Cornwall had won both the Tracking trophy and the Phase 1 cup. Setting them up nicely for the rest of the competition.

PHASE 2

The second Phase of the competition involved searching a public house where 3 suspects had been seen to climb in through the roof of the building. The handler had to use his/her dog to search the building in a systematic and controlled manner to locate and arrest the suspects.

The building had areas where it was in total darkness. During the search the handler was taken by surprise and attacked by an armed criminal to test the courage of the dog in defending his/her handler.

The winners of this phase were Darryl Drew and Police dog Boris.

There was very little to separate the 7 teams who all performed extremely well and all scored highly.

I thought that Boris searched with such a determination that there was never a doubt that if someone was hiding in the building he would find them. He was also very impressive in the no nonsense way he dealt with the violent criminal.

Boris is more than capable of demonstrating control when he needs to but he is always ready for action.

PHASE 3

The 3rd phase on day 3 assessed the Teams on a wide range of skills such as negotiating obstacles, heelwork, general control, and their ability to deal with conflict resolution which included dealing with a fleeing offender, an offender armed with a stick, an offender armed with a gun and the ability to recall their dog from chasing a fleeing criminal.

Ben Jobes with Ash  and James Little with Cosmic were 1st and 2nd on the leader board going into this Third Phase but with nearly half of the overall  marks allotted to this phase there was still plenty to play for.

DARRYL and BORIS

First up was Darryl and Boris pictured here doing their heelwork.

They had a very good round which saw them finish 3rd overall in the competition. As I debriefed Darryl he was keeping a tight rein on Boris who was still looking for further action.



LEE and ANNIE

Next was Lee Crampton and Annie pictured here doing the hurdle.


I know just what an excellent standard this team have and at the start of the competition were more than capable of mounting a challenge.

But as so often happens in Police dog trials even the best dogs have off days and so it was with Annie failing to get away on the tracking exercise leaving a mountain to climb.

That’s trials as they say. Annie is pictured here having just made the long jump look ridiculously easy and later dealing positively with the gun criminal.




TERRI and SALVI

Next was Terri Davies with Salvi who was the youngest dog in the competition and a dog she re-handled from previous handler Chris Curnow. Salvi is pictured here doing the scale jump.


He performed an excellent chase, stand- off and barking when the criminal gave himself up.


I wasn’t sure what was happening here because although it may have looked as though Terri had encountered a stray bullet from the gun criminal that certainly wasn’t the case as we only use blanks.


She soon recovered to show what excellent control she has with Salvi before sending him on the straight chase.


The team had a good round and I have to say I was very impressed with their relationship and Terri’s handling of Salvi throughout the trials

MIKE and BLADE

Blade is very similar in character to his litter brother Boris in that he is very excitable and very lively. This makes him a difficult dog to control and settle in competition situations plus Mike is a first time handler.

This made his performance with Blade all the more remarkable because not only did he handle Blade superbly the team went on to win the phase 3 trophy by quite a wide margin. Blade is pictured here waiting under total control and then being sent to perform the chase and detain exercise.



Blade is pictured here making an immediate return to handler after being commanded to cease the chase in the emergency recall.


Excellent performance well done.

LEE and SHADOW

Next was Lee and Shadow who we know are very capable having won the competition together last year. This wasn’t to be their year but they were as professional as they always are throughout the competition.



JAMES AND COSMIC

Since their Initial Police dog course this team have gone from strength to strength.  Cosmic has never been the toughest of dogs but because of his lovely temperament and tracking ability James has supported him every step of the way and they are  an excellent example of just what can be achieved with a handler who loves his/her dog and develops a strong bond.

Going into this phase James and Cosmic were only 15 points behind leaders Ben and Ash. James and Cosmic put on a superb Phase 3 performance and although they didn’t quite manage to overhaul the lead that Ben and Ash had over them they still finished as the runners up in the whole competition.

Finishing runner up in your first Police dog trial is an outstanding achievement particularly with a score of 846.

BEN AND ASH

Ben and Ash performed as well as any dog team that I can remember on their part 1 phase. Their track was exceptional and it was easy to see why they are so successful operationally. From there they performed consistently well on the remaining 2 phases and were worthy and deserved overall champions..

Here is Ben being presented with the Chief Constables cup by Chief Supt Jim Nye in charge of Operations.


James and Cosmic were the runners up and James is pictured here collecting the runners up shield.


Ben ( Handler of Ash ) is pictured here collecting the Phase 1 winners cup.


Darryl ( Handler of Boris ) is pictured here collecting the Phase 2 winners cup.


Mike ( Handler of Blade ) is pictured collecting the Phase 3 winners cup.

Here are all of the handlers scores.




Our winner Ben and Ash, runner up James and Cosmic and third place team Darryl and Boris will now represent the Alliance at the Regional Police dog trials next year.

We are grateful to Chief Supt Nye for his support in taking the time out to present the trophies to all of our winners.

This was my first go at judging a Police dog trial and I know my steward Hugh has never stewarded before so somehow we managed to bumble on through. My thanks to Hugh and all of the criminals, helpers, tracklayers for helping with the trials.

Normally I take all the photo’s for my blog but couldn’t this time as I was judging. It was a big mistake giving my camera to a dog handler to take the photos because this then happens.


I think we can safely say that Graham certainly hasn’t had any work done.

I would like to thank Ian Shacklock and his family of MTF driver training consultants for allowing us to use his land and facilities and their hospitality at the Phase 1 venue.

I think special thanks should go out to Phil Wilson for all of his hard work in organising the whole event.

Finally I was very impressed with the extremely high standards that I witnessed which is the result of a lot of hard work by the handlers and our trainers. But what gave me the most pleasure was the compassion, bond and close relationship that all of the handlers demonstrated with their dogs.

You were all a credit to the section.

I'm still scratching my head trying to work out how this rather strange individual managed to mastermind this result for Cornwall dogs.
 
Good luck to everyone at the regionals.