Tuesday 17 December 2013

The B litter now nearly 4 weeks old

The disappointing news from the web team is we are not able to set up a webcam for the B litter because of the poor signal where I live. Apparently this is the reason the signal kept going with the A litter and constantly crashing.

Meet the gang

The B litter of 5 dogs and 3 bitches is made up of 2 light sable dogs, 2 dark sable dogs, 1 black dog, 3 black bitches. All are thriving and I have just started the process of weaning them onto solid food as mother Molly starts to feed them less frequently. What amazes me is the speed at which the pups grow and the increasing demands on mum.

I have included 2 pictures to emphasize just how quickly they grow.

The litter the day after being born 1 day old.
The pups after 18 days.

We have had concerns about 1 of the pups a small black bitch who I have nick named BB. From the start she has spent long periods asleep under the heat lamp and was not feeding as vigorously as the rest with very little weight gain.  I have been getting Mollie to feed her individually and this seems to have done the trick.

She is pictured here feeding individually with mum in picture 4.

Mum is closely supervising BB being weighed and checking on her progress. 

BB on the sofa.
Interestingly because of all the extra handling BB is now the most forward in the group and has become very energetic. She is still smaller than the rest but is catching up fast.

This litter are much lighter in weight than the A litter were but this litter is much more advanced in terms of their eyes opening and their mobility. They climbed over the low board on day 15 whereas the A litter didn’t achieve that until day 22.

In fact several are trying to climb up the cage run which is 2 feet high. BB nearly came to grief yesterday as she climbed into the bucket of disinfectant as I was cleaning out the run and required emergency drying. Yes I can hear the groans of dissatisfaction at how careless to let that happen but I never thought any pup could climb up such a large bucket that quickly and needless to say it won’t happen again.

They have been so contented from the outset and Mum has been brilliant. It is important now that the socialisation starts with visitors, different noises, and a wide variation of different play articles to stimulate them.

Judging by the way they quickly found their way out of the run and began exploring the room at 3 and a half weeks (Photo 8) I think I am in for some interesting times ahead.


Friday the 13th December was an interesting day as it was my birthday and it was also Molly’s.  We had a double celebration and here we are posing with the excellent 60th birthday cake my wife’s friend Sam Cox made for me.

The cake represents me and my old dog Spud in the grounds of Killerton house where we go for our regular walks together.

Unfortunately soon after taking the photo I wasn’t paying attention and Molly ate Spud’s tiny ball on the cake.

Finally I will sign off with a picture of Molly and me with the pups relaxing in the whelping box and run.

See you soon with an update next week.

Tuesday 10 December 2013

Thursday 5th December 2013 Passing out.

This is always a very proud day for the handlers and puppy walkers. The handlers and dogs put on a short display of their skills and it is an opportunity to thank the puppy walkers and have photographs taken with their dog and handler.

The handlers and dogs practicing for the parade.

The below photo shows the handlers on the day of the parade before they went onto the sports field to give a demonstration of agility, obedience and use of force skills. Pictured in the centre is Chief Inspector Jane Taylor who has been in charge of the dog section for the last 3 years. Sadly for the dog section she is now leaving us to take up a new challenge. We will miss her sense of fun and humour and will always be grateful for the staunch support that she has given us.

The below pictures show the handlers during their display. 

Again I was extremely proud of all of the handlers and their dogs because they gave an outstanding display which was a result of all their hard work.

Assistant Chief Constable Netherton then presented certificates to the handlers and each puppy walker was presented with flowers and a framed  photo of their individual dog as a thank you for all of their hard work..

A presentation was also made to the top student on the course Vikki Ritchie by Graham Mabbutt a retired Devon and Cornwall Police dog Instructor now well into his eighties and still training dogs. Graham is one of my early influences and someone I still go to for advice and it rounded off a special day when he presented Vikki with a signed copy of his very excellent book.

Pictured below are our puppy walkers with their individual dog and handler.

Vikki and Jasper with puppy walkers Elaine and Graham Anderson
Darren and Shadow with puppy walkers Pippa and Paul Sabin
Scott and Max with puppy walkers Mel and Phil Rooks
Simon and Megan with puppy walker Sgt Alan Knight

I would like to say how much I enjoyed taking this Initial Police dog course. It was hard work Instructing an Initial Police dog course for 3 months and also  having to look after all the other puppy walkers and their pups. However it was made easier by a thoroughly great bunch of students who worked their socks off and gave me a lot of help walking and looking after dogs throughout the course.

I would also like to thank Graham Attwood my assistant instructor for his hard work and help. The reason I was asked to take the course was to give Graham a good grounding to enable him to take future Initial Police dog courses. It was quickly apparent to me that he is a fine instructor in his own right and the future is in good hands.

Paul Glennon

Final assessment after 12 weeks intensive training

On Wednesday 27 and Thursday 28 November after 12 weeks of intensive training on the General Purpose Initial Police dog course our handlers and their dogs had to undergo their  final assessments to establish whether they were at the required standard  to commence duties as Operational Police dog teams.

Our assessor was PC Nick Dalrymple from Avon and Somerset Police dog section and the current National Police dog champion. We always invite an assessor from another Police force to assess our dogs to maintain our high standards.

I have been very proud of our handlers and dogs on this course as they have been driven hard by me and have never complained and have always been prepared to put in the extra work and learn as much as they could at every opportunity. My assistant Instructor PC Graham Attwood has been equally hard working and has been the good cop throughout looking after the welfare of the  students and no doubt helping them to cope with the trauma of being on the end of my less than diplomatic rants if I believed performance was not as it should be.

Our assessor told us that he has assessed over 60 Police dogs in the last 3 years and that our course is the highest standard he has seen. This acknowledgement of the high standard of our handlers, dogs and instruction was very pleasing to hear and is also a reflection of the work put in by all of our puppy walkers to get us here.

Pictured here is the relieved and elated handlers having just been told they had all passed.
From left to right Darren Tenby and Police dog Shadow (Posted to Camborne). Graham Attwood (Course Instructor). Vikki Ritchie and Police dog Jasper. (Posted to Newton Abbott)

Me. Simon Willan and Police dog Megan. (Posted to North Devon) Nick Dalrymple Course assessor.
Scott Perkin and Police dog Max. (Posted to Camborne)

With the assessments over it was time to prepare for our passing out parade the following Thursday 5th December 2013.

Paul Glennon

Our dogs in Dorset did us proud

This week we also received excellent news that two more of our dogs from our puppy scheme and the same intake Codi and Bear successfully passed their General Purpose Initial Police dog course with Dorset Police last week.

They are pictured below with their new handlers having successfully graduated at the Surrey Police dog training school where they completed their course.

Firstly PC Brendon Trent and Police dog Bear who was puppy walked by Susannah and Kevin Coffin.

and secondly PC Lee Briggs with Police dog Codi who was puppy walked by Annie Miller

Tuesday 19 November 2013

As predicted Mollies litter arrives on Tuesday morning

Molly has been very restless throughout the day and I was convinced she would deliver her pups in the early hours of Tuesday. In anticipation I bedded down at 11pm on Monday night to await developments, even Molly looks embarrassed.

1am our first arrival which Mollie seemed more than surprised at the way he dropped out.

5am  8 pups successfully delivered I think 3 girls and 5 boys but I will need to re check. Mollie out for the count.

7am Took Mollie out for a toilet break and a leg stretch while Di changed her bedding. Seen here counting her pups when she came back in.

8am after some milk and wheatabix settles back down with her pups.

Everyone shattered I will keep you all posted and hope to get the webcam installed in the next few days.


Monday 18 November 2013

The A litter and Grommit

We were due to do tracking and search training on Sunday 3rd Nov but due to the awful weather we switched to some environmental training in the old Western morning news building in Plymouth at the last minute.
Pictures below shows Arry, Ava and Annie and then Axel, Anya, Gromiit and Argo all in the upper tower. I was getting a little concerned that Axel was going to end up with soft floppy ears ( pictured far left)  but I needn’t have worried as Steve his puppy walker sent me this picture of him taken this week. ( picture Axels ears). 
Three puppies and their walkers
Arry, Ava and Annie
Four puppies and their handler
Axel, Anya, Grommit and Argo
Axel with straight up ears
Nothing wrong with my ears, thank you!
The A litter are now 5 months old.  Grommit is 4 months old. We purchased him at 7 weeks to keep diversity in our breeding programme and the early signs are very encouraging.
Grommit is pictured below in a relaxed pose overlooking the Plymouth Estuary.
Mine neither
Our current Initial Police dog course of Max, Jasper, Megan and Shadow have just completed week 10 of their 13 week course and are being assessed next Wednesday and Thursday. I will update you how they get on with their assessments and take some photo’s.
Finally Molly is due to whelp her litter this Wednesday November 20th but we had a scare on Saturday when she was showing signs that it was about to happen. I am sat at home as I write this on Monday Nov 18th looking for signs and I reckon it will be tonight.
She is pictured here this morning making herself at home on our suite and trying out the whelping box for size.
Mollie laying on the sofa
Mollie lying in the welping box looking alert, ears up

Bidding goodbye to the class of January 2014

As always on the dog section a lot has happened since my last update 2 weeks ago.
I will start with the sad news that our force will not be running a General purpose Police dog initial course in January 2014 which means that our 4 dogs for that course Tyson, Charlie, Murphy and Buddy will not now be working in Devon and Cornwall.

We run 2 initial Police dog courses each of 13 weeks duration within our force each year .These courses are nearly always fully subscribed with 4 handlers on each. One course starts in January and one starts in December.

Very unusually there is only one handler in our force needing a dog in January and it is therefore not economical to run a 13 week course for one handler. This means that the next Devon and Cornwall course will not be until September 2014. As a result I have had to find alternative Police forces for our boys.

It is something I hate doing because having grown up with the pups and the puppy walkers ideally we want to see the dogs working in Devon and Cornwall. That said they are dogs that are born to work and are much happier dogs working with their handler as a Police dog in whatever area they find themselves. We insist that Police forces who take our dogs must keep in touch with us and more importantly keep in touch with the puppy walkers.

I remember staying overnight in Angelsey in January this year and seeing the 4 brothers with their other 5 litter mates at their breeders farm house and seeing them all running and feeding with ducks, chickens, and geese when they were 7 weeks old.

I brought the four of them back the next day and they are pictured here being united with their new puppy walkers at HQ Middlemoor. (Pictures 379 and 384.)  On photo 384 from left to right, Murphy,  Tyson, Charlie and Buddy.
Puppies being held by their new puppy walkers

Puppies standing on a wooden picnic table

Here are some more pictures of the boys on subsequent training days.
Exeter city centre
Puppies sat and waiting with puppy walkers in Exeter hight street

Outside the force helicopter.
Sitting in front of the Force helicopter with their walkers

On the farm.
Meeting sheep
Meeting a horse at the stables

Meeting chicken in a small farm yard
Last week Buddy and Tyson left me to go to Derbyshire Police force photo 006 and Charlie left to go to Bedfordshire photo 0205.
Paul with dog Charlie before hes off to Bedfordshire force
At Derbyshire police two dogs last photo op before they are handed over

Murphy who was born with a badly overshot jaw and has moderate hip dysplacia in one of his hips has been retired from Police duties and his puppy walkers Emma and Kevin Wiggins who live in Exmouth have taken up the option to keep him as their own dog. We wish Murphy and his family all the best for the future.

Monday 28 October 2013

Half way through our 13 week general purpose initial Police dog course

Time seems to move on so quickly it only seems yesterday that our latest batch of new recruits started their Devon and Cornwall Police Dog General purpose initial course on the 9th of September.

Posing for a group picture

Pictured above are  the course members all hoping to become Police dog teams. From left to right are  PC Darren  Tenby and Police dog Shadow who if successful will be serving in Camborne, Instructor Graham Attwood, PC Simon Willian and Police dog Megan who will be serving in North Devon, ( Me) Paul Glennon , PC Vikki Ritchie and Police dog Jasper who will be serving in Newton Abbott and PC Scott Perkins and Police dog Max who will also be serving in Camborne.

Simon started the course with Trainee Police dog  Zeta but unfortunately around week 4 of the course  Zeta became very wary of different floor surfaces when searching buildings and as a result she  had to retire  from Police duties.  Becoming wary of  shiny floor surfaces is a strange phenomenon and we don’t really know why dogs suffer from it. It always seems to happen when a dog gets to around 16 months. We have never had a young pup suffer from it and Zeta had been on these same floors as a pup without a problem. This was very disappointing for us all but particularly Simon because she was developing very well and was adored by his family.

For Zeta the story does have a happy ending as she will be going to Graham and Elaine Anderson who puppy walked Jasper. Graham found having to hand Jasper over to his new handler Vikki so upsetting that he could not face puppy walking again. As soon as Zeta became available Graham and Elaine jumped at the chance to have her.

If ever one of our pups has to be released from the programme we always offer the puppy walkers first option to keep the dog. On this occasion Zeta’s puppy walkers Terry and Jill Hodge decided that due to their advancing years and because they visit their relatives in New Zealand it wasn’t fair to take on Zeta when she hopefully will live for 10 or more years. They hope to remain as puppy walkers as they feel they can commit to the shorter period of puppy walking for 12 months.

As soon as the decision was made to retire Zeta we allocated Megan to Simon. Megan had been run along as a spare dog for the course to cover unforeseen circumstances such as these.

Simon and Megan hit it off immediately and are already at the level of the other dogs on the course.
Dog handler pulling on a dogs lead to hold the dog back from attacking a man backed onto a tree in a wood.

Simon is pictured above with Megan searching for a criminal in woodland showing that although small in stature she lacks nothing in attitude.

Walking a dog to heel
He is also pictured doing heelwork with Megan and the concentration and developing bond is there for all to see.

The course is a very demanding course for dogs and handlers and weekends usually involves a lot of sleeping and chilling out ( used to be known as relaxing).

The teams have to attain a very high standard in lots of disciplines throughout the 13 week course and will be assessed by an assessor from another force during week 12. Our assessor is going to be PC Nick Dalrymple the current National Police dog champion from Avon and Somerset Police dog section so we will need to be at our best.

The teams have to become very accomplished at tracking and searching for offenders and missing persons, dealing with disorderly crowds, protecting their handlers and detaining violent criminals, locating outstanding property dropped by offenders to obtain their DNA, developing their agility, and working on obtaining a very high level of control just to name some of the skills developed.

Dog jumping a wooden jump

Dog walking to heel

Pictured above is Police dog Max clearing the hurdle with Scott and again showing intense concentration doing heelwork which he is obviously enjoying.

A dog jumping  a wooden platform jump
A dog barking at a man backed into a tree in a wood
Pictured above is Police dog Shadow and Darren learning to negotiate high walls and having located a criminal in the woods convinces him it is not a good idea to try and escape.

A dog looking at his master standing to attention by his side
I have also included a picture showing Shadow learning to focus on his handler Darren.

Tracking is without doubt the most used discipline for Police dogs and probably accounts for 80% of our work. The dog is taught to follow the scent of an offender or missing person who has left the area and needs to be located urgently.

Tracking, the dog leading the way.
Dog and handler standing in the wood looking relaxed

Police dog Jasper is pictured tracking across country with his handler Vikki and relaxing together  afterwards on a job well done.

During the week I am running the course and mentoring Graham to enable him to run future initial courses. On a Sunday I still train the puppy walkers and their pups but I am unable to give them as much time as I would like during the week until the course is complete.

I am also running potential Police dog Jack parallel with the course. Jack failed his courage test prior to the course and under normal circumstances he would have been retire from the scheme. I have retained him because he is so good at all the other disciplines I am hoping he will become more confident as he gains experience. The early signs are good and if he continues to improve we will run him through another courage tests.

Dog tracking on lead and pulling handler behind
He is pictured here tracking with me across country and he is very good at it.

Because we are not running an initial course in January 2014 we have had to find places with other Police forces for our January dogs. Two of those dogs  Bear and Cody have gone to Dorset Police force who needed dogs for two of their handlers. They are both doing very well with their new handlers and have just successfully completed week 6 of their Initial Police dog course which is being run by the Surrey dog training school.

Hopefully I will have some photo’s of their progress when I report on the end of course assessments of all of the dogs.

Finally our brood bitch Mollie is confirmed pregnant to Stud dog Quasimodo (pictured above - sorry for the late edition) and her pups are due on November 20th when we hopefully people will be able  to follow their progress on our webcam.

Next week I will do an update on the progress of Ruby’s litter of pups the A litter.

See you then Paul Glennon.