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

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Our E Litter Enjoy Their First Training Session And An Update On The Rest Of Our Pups

The E litter had their first training day at HQ yesterday. From left to right are Echo, Ernie, Eddie, Eyke and Errol.

Its hard to believe that its 3 weeks since our E litter left us to go to their new puppy walker homes.

Once the pups had settled in to their new homes I visited all of the pups and puppy walkers to make sure they were coping and to give them advice on all the usual issues that crop up in the first few weeks.

Here are some photos of my visits.


Eyke is based in Exeter with puppy walkers Rob and Sue. Eyke was his usual lively self and the first job was to show Rob how to stop him biting, nipping and how to get him to leave a toy or possession on command.

When he eventually ran out of energy I left him asleep in his bed.


Next was Echo who also lives in Exeter with her puppy walkers Paul and Michelle along with her new pals the Muppets, Bill, Weed and Ben.

Echo has certainly made herself at home and is as playful as ever.


Eddie is pictured here with puppy walker Alaina and they are based in St Austell, Cornwall. On my arrival he had been in a deep sleep and didn’t realise who I was. Then Just like all of his siblings Eddie gave me a great welcome and then gave me an extended version of his determined play drive.


Ernie is pictured here with puppy walker Joe and his daughter in Truro. Unfortunately although the family were enjoying having Ernie things didn’t quite work out and we have had to relocate him.

I would like to thank Joe and his family for trying their best for Ernie and making the long trip up to Westward Ho to take him to his new home. They made sure they also took his favourite friend and constant companion with him.

He is now with new puppy walkers Wilma and Colin in Westward Ho. Although he has only been with them for a few days he enjoyed his first training day and when I visited them today he seemed totally relaxed and settled.


Errol was completely relaxed at his new home and is still eating like every meal is his last meal. We had a good play session together and when I left he was showing no signs of slowing down.


Elsie is pictured here with Sam from Plymouth. We sold Elsie to Sam and although she is no longer in the program Sam keeps in touch to let me know how she is getting on.

Their first training session

We all met at HQ for our first training get together and considering they hadn’t seen each other for 3 weeks they were very well behaved.

We started by introducing them to the low ramps and a shortened tunnel which is all part of the process of building their resilience. Here is Ernie making it look very easy.

Once I had shown the puppy walkers how to take each pup over the ramps it was their turn to have a go.

They were all very confident and enthusiastic negotiating the ramps and so we then introduced them to the tunnel. It can take some pups a little while to get them to build up the confidence to go through the tunnel but they all went straight through when they realised I had a liver titbit.

All the puppy walkers then had a go with their pups.

Eyke went through the tunnel and took his titbit but then decided to go back inside the tunnel to get out of the warm sun and was then in no hurry to come out again.

We then introduced the sit and down again using titbits.

Next we practised recall’s with the pups on a line and again they all completed their recall’s with enthusiasm and just like their sit’s and down’s they remained focused and not distracted by the other pups.

We then introduced them to the early stages of heelwork.

I had planned an introduction to tracking but it was very hot and the pups were feeling the heat. So after a very enjoyable session we dispersed and will be meeting up again on Saturday to appear at the Devon county show.

Update On Our September 2018 Initial Police Dog Pups

Left to right are Peppe, Merlin, Quest, Quini and Henry.


Peppe is pictured here with puppy walkers Lyndsay and Chris who have puppy walked him since he arrived from Holland aged 4 months. Peppe was a little unsure on arriving from Holland but Chris has worked hard on his training and environmental work which has resulted in a confident dog with excellent working potential.

In April he was transferred to Graham Attwood who will be the course instructor for the Initial Police dog course in September.

Over the next 3 months Peppe will be living with Graham and his family as he is prepared for the course. Peppe is pictured here with Graham’s dogs and his daughter Polly.

Chris and Lyndsay have now taken on a new venture. Instead of puppy walking they are now caring for Elsa who we hope is going to be one of our 3 breeding females. She is having her hip and elbows x rayed this week and if they are very good she will live with Chris and Lyndsay long term as our breeding female.


Henry is pictured here with his puppy walkers Jill and Terry. Henry is progressing well in terms of his working ability. His searching, tracking and bite work are very good. Environmentally he is not as confident as I would like him to be. He is uncomfortable in new situations and has been a bit like that since we acquired him.

The next few months for Henry are going to be crucial in terms of whether he remains in the program. Unless a puppy is very confident environmentally and is clear headed in character then training and developing him to be aggressive in certain situations is not a good idea.


9 Month old Merlin is pictured here on our last training day with puppy walkers Lyn and John. Merlin is environmentally very confident and has an extremely high work drive. He takes everything in his stride. Here he is on our last training day being introduced to the first stages of person searching by barking at the criminal for his toy.


10 Month old Quest was imported from Belgium aged 15 weeks with his sister Quini and is pictured here with puppy walkers Colin and Mitzi. Quest is a very confident, powerful and highly driven dog who is thriving in all aspects of his training.

Here is a short video of Quest with Mitzi in the early stages of criminal work.


Quini is the sister of Quest and has now been allocated to PC Chris Carter a dog handler in North Devon. Chris currently works Police dog Maverick and drugs dog Rosie. After a very successful career Police dog Maverick has now retired and will continue to live at home with Chris and his family to enjoy retirement.

Maverick has a very strong personality and there would probably have been issues had we allocated Chris a new male Police dog replacement. It is for this reason we have allocated Quini to Chris because having a female replacement will negate any potential future problems.

Bad Boy Gunner

Gunnar has been puppy walked by Mark, Hannah and Isabel. Together they have done an excellent job training and developing him and also nursing him through a period of sickness.

Unfortunately now that he has hit 12 months he has become a little rebellious particularly with regard to Hannah and daughter Isabel.

This came to a head when he growled at Isabel and Hannah over removing his empty food bowl from his cage. As a result I have withdrawn him from the home and he is now living with me for evaluation.

My experience of observing hundreds of pups developing into adults has led me to believe that food aggression and possession aggression is mainly genetic but that it can be controlled, managed or made worse if not addressed correctly.

I will be doing an individual blog on how to deal and manage with this behaviour because it something that crops up on a regular basis.


15 month old Eva has been puppy walked by Lisa and Martin since I imported her with her sister Ella from Germany when they were aged 15 weeks. Lisa has been very ably assisted by her son Billy and they have between them developed and trained her to an excellent standard.

Tragically we received the devastating news that she suffers from Pancreatic enzyme deficiency. Although with her daily medication she will lead a normal life she cannot now be a Police dog because stressful situations could trigger and complicate her condition.

Unfortunately Lisa, Martin and Billy cannot keep her but we have found her a lovely home with Krystal, Ian and their young son Leo. Eva has settled in well and has a new friend in Leo.

Update On Our January 2018 Initial Police Dog Pups

From left to right are Bill, Lola, Star, Larry, Sydney and Ben.


Bill is now coming up to 6 months of age and is being puppy walked by Chris Highton. He is a very driven determined dog who is a real handful. Fortunately Chris is experienced and realises that he needs to strike the right balance between allowing him to flourish but still ensuring control is maintained.


Lola is now 5 months old and is being puppy walked by Karol and his family in Plymouth. Lola is a very driven and outgoing Malinois/Dutch herder female who loves life and is progressing really well.

We also started with her litter sister Lulu but due to her not having particularly strong nerves I had to return her to her breeder who will replace her at a future date.


5 month old Star is one of 3 pups we imported from Holland last month. He is a very sweet natured dog who is being puppy walked by Margaret in Plymouth. Like most of the imported pups he has not had that vital socialisation between 8 and 14 weeks.
Margaret is getting him out and about making up for lost time and he is improving day by day. He is still nervous of people particularly men coming too close and at the time of writing this blog I am concerned about this.

We will continue his intense socialisation and we will improve his confidence but whether it will be enough for him to be a Police dog Im not so sure.


 Larry is another one of the 3 pups imported from Holland aged 5 months. I purchased him as my own dog but he will be a reserve should any of the other pups not be successful. I am very grateful to Angie and Graham Collins who have been looking after Larry for me until I finish evaluating Gunnar.


Sydney is the third of the group of 3 pups imported from Holland. Sydney is 5 months old and is the litter brother of Star. He is being puppy walked by 1st time puppy walker Phil Ash. He is a very happy outgoing energetic pup who is developing very well and has excellent potential.


Ben is the litter brother of Bill and is being puppy walked by Lyn and Dave Vooght who are also first time puppy walkers. Ben like his brother is a very energetic and playful pup who is progressing well both environmentally and in his work exercises.

Unfortunately Lyn has some health issues which mean that we are looking for a new puppy walker for Ben. Lyn and Dave have kindly agreed to continue to look after Ben until a suitable puppy walker can be identified.

My next blog will cover the Devon County show and will include an update on our 3 potential breeding females Sasha, Elsa and Ella.

Our older pups will be appearing in support of the Police dog display on Thursday. Our Jan 2019 pups will be appearing on Friday and the E litter will be appearing on Saturday.

Hope to see you at the show. From myself, Ella and Gunnar bye for now.

Friday, 4 May 2018

Tag, Ollie, Oppo (Eric) And Roscoe (Oscar) Successfully Graduate As Operational Police Dogs

After a 3 month intensive General purpose Initial Police dog course Tag, Ollie, Oppo and Roscoe have successfully graduated as operational Police dogs and yesterday enjoyed their passing out parade with their puppy walkers, family and friends.

The 3 month General purpose Initial Police dog course is without doubt the most demanding Police dog course that there is.

The dogs have to learn to master a wide range of skills and disciplines

They learn to track and search for missing vulnerable people and criminals who have made off from crime scenes or Police officers.

Here is Dan and Ollie tracking an offender who has made off from a simulated dwelling house burglary on a housing estate.

They are pictured here having tracked and located the offender and as a result of their training on the course Ollie is more than capable of dealing with this offender if he offers violence or tries to escape.

Here is Tag demonstrating it is never a good idea to try and escape from a Police dog.

The dogs are also taught to locate items of property which have been lost or are the subject of crime. In relation to articles which are the subject of crime DNA can be retrieved from such items which can then identify the offender.

The dogs are taught to indicate but not to interfere with the property that they locate so as not to destroy possible DNA.

Here is Oppo telling his handler Pete that he has located a belt the fleeing offender has left behind having climbed over the fence.

Here is Roscoe (formerly Oscar) having located a hammer the subject of an assault hidden below a grid.

The dogs are taught to negotiate all types of obstacles which they are likely to encounter whilst tracking or searching for criminals or vulnerable missing persons. Here is Roscoe, Ollie and Tag in the early stages negotiating the long jump, hurdle and scale.

It is fairly easy to get the dogs to chase and bite people but it is a lot more difficult making sure that they are at all times under the control of their handler. For this reason all exercises are underpinned by control and focus exercises.

Here are Roscoe, Ollie and Tag practising their control and focus exercises.

Here Is Pete searching the criminal that Oppo has just located. If the criminal attempts to escape or attacks his handler during the search Oppo will immediately defend his handle or detain him.

The dogs are also trained to deal with disorderly or violent crowds. Here is Ollie moving the simulated aggressive crowd away from the area.

The dogs were assessed on all of their skills at the end of the course by Home office instructor Paul Booth from Gwent Police dog section. All of the dogs passed with flying colours and we are grateful to Paul for coming down to assess the teams.

Paul set very fair and achievable assessments and put all the teams at ease.

Normally I am a regular visitor to all of the Initial courses to see how our pups progress. But with the E litter keeping me busy at our house I didn’t see this course during the last 6 weeks of the course.

I managed to spend a couple of days with them in their last week when the E litter had gone to their new homes.

The progress the teams had made since I saw them in the early weeks was very impressive. Oppo the baby of the group was only just 11 months old at the start of the course and was very immature.

But he really grew into the course and I was really impressed with the track I saw Pete and Oppo complete on a local housing estate.

The teams have certainly come a long way since those early weeks.

The passing out parade was on Wednesday the 2nd of May at Police Headquarters with a fantastic turn out from the puppy walkers, handlers’ families, friends and other handlers.

The passing out parade is very much our opportunity to say thank you to all of our puppy walkers for all the work they have put in to develop the dogs.

We started as we always do taking photographs of all of the dog teams, puppy walkers, and the handlers families. Here they are.

MARK AND ROSCOE (Formerly Oscar)

Mark Hawkins and PD Roscoe (Formerly Oscar) will be serving at Bodmin.

Puppy walkers Pete and Rebecca Bell are first time puppy walkers and this is the first dog they have ever had which makes their achievement very impressive.

Mark and Roscoe are pictured here with his family.


Steve Newton and Tag will be serving at Ferndown in Dorset. Steve is a first time handler. Tag was bred by Alfons Schumeister in Germany. Alfons also bred Quendi and Ronnie who are currently working well in our force.

Steve is pictured here with Tag and his puppy walkers Gideon, Jo and young Marina. Marina and Tag received the 2017 Daily Mirror & RSPCA young Animal hero award at the Grosvenor Hotel in London and were the subject of National TV recognition for their special relationship.

Jo and Gideon are also first time puppy walkers.

Tag has been with Steve for nearly 6 months now and although Marina misses Tag she is excited that Tag is going to be a Police dog and will be able to follow him because Steve and Tag now have their own Twitter account.

Here is Steve and Tag with their large family.


Dan Pencollins and PD Ollie will be serving at Plymouth. Dan is a first time handler.

Dan is pictured here with Ollie and his puppy walkers Paul and Debbie. They are also first time puppy walkers.

Despite Paul having on going health issues and also undergoing a major operation they have refused to give up on Ollie and have done a fantastic job getting him to this point considering all that they have been through.

Dan and Ollie are pictured here with their family.

PETE AND OPPO (Formally Eric)

Pete Boxall and PD Oppo will be serving at Plymouth. Pete is a first time handler.

Pete and Oppo are pictured here with puppy walker Terri. Unfortunately Terri badly injured her hand after 4 months of puppy walking and Oppo (Eric ) had to be allocated to a new puppy walker.

Pete and Oppo are pictured here with his next puppy walkers Eamon and his wife Karen who have puppy walked a number of pups for us.

3 generations here is Pete with Oppo, his son and Dad.

Pictured here are Pete and Oppo with Bernard Horton who bred Oppo. We acquired Oppo and his sister Elsa last year. There is no doubt in my mind that Oppo’s sister Elsa would also make an excellent Police dog and we are hopeful that she is going to be one of our breeding females.

We hope to have further pups from Bernard this year.

OLLIE AND ROSCOE (Formerly Oscar)

Pictured here is Richard Evans who bred Ollie and Roscoe. ( Formally Oscar ) Richard provided us with 3 brothers Ollie, Oscar and Ozzie. Ozzie passed his Police course with us in December last year and is operational in Plymouth.

The Display

After the photographs the handlers and dogs put on a short display of their control, agility and criminal work for the crowd.

Firstly the teams were presented to the crowd.

Mark and Roscoe then gave a short display of control work.

Next Pete and Oppo did some agility work then gave a demonstration of dealing with a fleeing criminal.

Mark and Roscoe then gave a very impressive display of the stand-off exercise. This is where a fleeing criminal on seeing the dog chasing him stops running and surrenders. The dog is required to remain with the criminal without biting the criminal until he is joined by his handler.

Steve and Tag then gave a demonstration of agility before going on to deal with a violent criminal brandishing a stick.

Next Dan and Ollie also did some agility before going on to deal with a criminal brandishing and firing a gun.

The teams were then presented to the crowd before marching off. They weren’t quite so polished marching back on because the dogs having just performed lots of criminal work were obviously hoping there was more action to come.

Considering this was the first time the dog teams have ever performed in front of a crowd and with their handlers nervous wanting to put on a good show I thought the teams put on a first class display. Well done.

Supt Nikki Leaper operations then presented all of the handlers with their certificates and the puppy walkers with a photo of their dog.

Then it was time for the buffet and catch up with all of the puppy walkers, family and friends.

My final memory is of Marina and Steve spending some time together with Tag at the end of a fantastic day.

My thanks to all of my puppy walkers for all of their hard work and I have lots of great memories of our time together.

My thanks also go to Bernard, Richard and Alfons our breeders of these very fine dogs.

I now have 12 month old Gunnar living with me and Ella. He growled at the 12 year old daughter of his puppy walkers around the food bowl and so he is with me for assessment. So far he is behaving himself impeccably and in my next blog I will tell you about his progress and how the new pups are getting on.

From Ella, Gunnar and myself see you next time.