Friday 28 June 2013

Training day for our Pepnick bred litter mates Max, Jasper and Megan on Sunday 23rd June 2013-06-23

We started the day with an introduction to searching for missing persons where the dogs were required to find and bark when they located a person. This is achieved by the person initially running off with a toy and the dog chasing on a lead and barking at the person for his/her toy reward. This is then developed where the dog doesn’t see the person run off and has to search and find the person who will be hidden.
Max the German Shepherd asking for his toy from the trainer who tried to hide from him!
Shows Max barking at me for his reward
We then moved on to see how the dogs coped with various shiny floors,  different types of stairs, a strange mannequin sat on a chair and lots of noise made throwing metal trays around on a concrete floor.
All the dogs coped very well with all of these challenges.
Megan the German Shepherd examining the metal lid
Shows Megan getting very excited with the noise of the trays being thrown around
Shows Jasper negotiating different steep stairs.
Shows Jasper negotiating different steep stairs.

Max searching intently
We then did some searching in the building amongst piles of debris for hidden articles. Our dogs are required to search and locate any articles bearing recent human scent. This is started with the dog seeing an article thrown into an area where he is then released to search and this is progressed to him not seeing the article thrown.

It was then outside for the introduction of Criminal work. This is the start of getting a dog to detain a criminal escaping or attacking the handler. This is started by getting the dog excited about biting a moving canvas bite roll and this is then progressed to the helper wearing a padded arm.

German Shepherd biting a moving canvas roll that the trainer is holding and pulling away
Shows what a tenacious young girl Megan is for this exercise
We then concluded with some group obedience exercises working on sit and down stays. This is a very important exercise which allows a handler to leave his dog in a controlled position. He might need to do this when wishing to go over and talk to someone or to check over a wall or fence that there are no dangers on the other side before getting him to jump the obstacle when pursuing or tracking someone who is on the run.

Three walkers with their dogs
Here are our 3 tired but happy dog teams with their puppy walkers after a very successful day.
Group photo of dogs and their walkers taken outside infront of a large tree
Dogs with their families and the training Paul Glennon

Tuesday 25 June 2013


Ruby's pups are 3 weeks old today and as you can see are able to escape from their whelping box. I now have to put in an extra board at the front to prevent their escape and a box inside and outside the whelping box so that mum can get in and out without landing on the pups.

Other than that everything is going well with mum and all 7 pups thriving.

The 3 week old german shepherd puppies finding their way out of the whelping box
Ha! Found the way out boys, follow me.

Friday 21 June 2013

Nero one of our puppies from our Dutch litter has successfully completed his training as an operational general purpose police dog with Thames Valley police. Pictured here with his puppy walkers Andy and Amanda James as a puppy.
Nero the german shepherd puppy with his puppy walkers sat together on a park bench
Nero with Andy and Amanda
We await photos from his new handler.

We got there in the end!

Seems a long time ago now but around April 2012 Bowser and his brothers Otto, Bailey, Reg, and Sampson all went off to the Metropolitan Police aged 9 months from our puppy scheme. This was because our Initial Police dog course was cancelled while our dog section was being reviewed. A very disappointing time for all of our puppy walkers having worked so hard hoping to see them working in Devon and Cornwall.

Unfortunately Reg was quickly released by the Met as unsuitable due to aggression to their kennel staff.

Bowser, Otto, Bailey and Sampson were allocated to their handlers and began training. Otto, Bailey and Sampson all successfully passed their Initial Police dog course earlier this year and are now fully fledged Operational Police dogs in the Metropolitan Police.

Unfortunately Bowser was released back to our force 6 weeks into his course because of weak biting and a lack of confidence.

Knowing Bowser from 7 weeks we knew he was a confident dog with all the necessary qualities to be a Police dog. We placed him with Rob Kingdon one of our puppy walkers  to make a mate of him and help him to regain his confidence.

Rob did a great job and 2 months ago we re-assessed him. Bowser passed with flying colours and was allocated to PC Tom Bond a handler in Devon and Cornwall who needed a new dog. Yesterday after undergoing 8 weeks training with myself he was successfully licensed by PC Nick Dalrymple the National Police dog champion from Avon and Somerset Police force.

Pictured below is Police dog Bowser with his handler Tom Bond. 
Police dog Bowser with his handler Tom Bond
Pictured below is Louise Viney who puppy walked Bowser until he was 9 months, Rob Kingdon who puppy walked him on his return from the Met and Tom Bond his handler.

Tom Bond, police dog Browser, Louise Viney and Rob Kingdon

Author: Paul Glennon
Canine Development Officer.

Monday 17 June 2013

A good looking and talented police dog

Jasper aged 9 months with his rosettes gained at yesterdays St Issey fathers day dog show for cutest pup, best behaved and best trick puppy. Walked by Elaine and Graham Anderson in Plymouth.
the German Shepherd Jasper

Training day Sunday 16 of June 2013. The class of September 2013 course

From left to right Shadow and litter mates Cody, Bear and Betty all aged 9 months. Subject to a successful  10 month assessment they  will be on our September 2013 Initial Police dog course. Also on that course will be brother and sister  Jack and Zeta aged 12 months who train on another day.
Jack and Zeta

Our latest arrival

Aged  just 10 days baby boy Marshall with his proud mum Pippa, dad Paul and trainee Police dog Shadow.

Below some photos of the training day.

Puppy walker Annie Miller tracking with Codi hot on the trail of an offender
Betty searching for articles
Bear closing in on his Quarry
Shadow ready to pounce

Shadow locating the fugitive in a building

Wednesday 12 June 2013

Training, Tuesday 11 June 2013 - Saundercroft Farm

A visit to Saundercroft farm to get the pups acquainted with various livestock such as horses, cattle, calves, goats, sheep,and chickens. The pups are now nearly 7 months.
Paul Glennon with Charlie meeting a horse in his stable. The horses head is down to meeting the dogs
Charlie meeting a horse
Paul Glennon and Murphy in a farm yard of chickens. Murphy watchs with interest
Murphy meeting the chickens and a very large rooster out of camera shoot
Buddy the German Shepherd looking at a field of sheep through a wooden fence. The sheep have come across to look at him.
Buddy meeting the sheep
The dogs were very confident and well behaved. Our thanks to Andi Darbey and her mother Jean for allowing us to be set loose on their farm.

Then off for a swim after a long hot day.
Dog swimming in a river on a sunny summers day
A swim to cool off.

Training, Tuesday 11 June 2013 - Mannequin in a field?

The training session was for brothers  Murphy, Tyson, Buddy, and Charlie. Who are nearly 7 months of age. They are being prepared for their initial police dog course which commences in January 2014.                                                                                                

Also earmarked for this course from a different litter are brothers Max,  Jasper and sister Megan.  Jasper, Max and Megan  have been training on a different day will be joining the Murphy, Tyson, Buddy, and Charlie on future training days.

Unfortunately Tyson was unable to train today due to a sprained foot.

All the dogs did some excellent tracks and agility then it was on to see how they all reacted to seeing a strange and unusual object in the form of a mannequin placed  in the middle of the sports field. The pups were assessed individually at the end of their  agility session. They were not tasked or pushed towards the figure they were allowed to run free and their reaction noted on seeing the strange object.

Murphy the German Shepherd in a field jumping around the top half of a mannequin.
Murphy uncertain
Dog and trainer with top half of manniquin in the middle of a field
Murphy was a little startled but with some support eventually went over to see who this strange individual was.
Charlie was not at all concerned and bowled right up
Buddy standing in a field looking at the mannequin
Buddy took a long hard look before going over and investigated with suspicion

A variety of different reactions but none of the dogs were adversley affected and any initial caution was quickly overcome.

Introductions to the class of Jan 2014

A selection of images taken at various time during the puppies training.

Pictured below are Murphy, Tyson, Buddy and Charlie  aged 7 weeks arriving at headquarters to be united with their new puppy walkers on the start of their long and eventful journey to become future police dogs.

A group of adults and two children standing outside holding puppies
Their first training day aged 11 weeks

Small puppy on a lead with puppy walker and Paul Gennon standing in a field at HQ
Charlie learning to track food

A german shepherd puppy following the hand of Paul glennon walking down a blank
Tyson walking down the ramp

German Shepherd puppy stopped in a training collapsible tunnel, head down biting a yellow toy
Going through a tunnel

German Shepherd walking a wooden blue blank several inchs off the grass field
Murphy walking the plank

Puppies and their puppy walkers grouped in front of the grounded police helicopter on a drizzly day
Familarisation with the helicopter

Four puppies and their walkers crouched down in the grassed training field
All together after a job well done

Tuesday 11 June 2013

Ruby and pups, what a difference a week makes

4am Monday 3/6 Ruby  began whelping and at 4.15 am her first pup arrived. Her second pup arrived at 4.45 am then we had a 2 hour break before she whelped 5 more in a short space of time and everything seemed to be complete at 10am.

Ruby looked relaxed as did her pups 4 girls and 3 boys. Over the next 12 hours I became concerned because the pups didn’t seem to be sleeping a great deal and were very vocal. This was upsetting Ruby and making her very anxious.

I contacted our vets Beaumont Veterinary practise at Pinhoe Exeter and requested a visit. At 1300 hours Nick duly arrived and it was discovered she had a temperature of 104 and a scan revealed that she was carrying a further pup which was most likely deceased.

She was given an injection of Oxytocin which helps contractions and stimulates the release of milk from the mammary glands. We were very anxious that the injection would work as the alternative was a Caesarean to get the pup out.

Fortunately at 3.30 pm she passed the pup a large fully formed male who sadly was deceased. Within an hour the transformation in Ruby and her pups was amazing. They were feeding well and sleeping as they should be.

This has continued  and by yesterday all of the pups had more than doubled their weight and as you can see mum is looking radiant.

All the pups are sable in colour which makes identification more difficult but after many hours of watching them my wife Diane and I are now able to tell them apart.

For over 20 years I have been selecting pups from our breeders and bringing them back to our force to place with our puppy walkers but this is the first litter that I have actually bred myself.

So far the experience has been absolutely amazing particularly seeing how instinctive everything seems to be to Ruby.

So far so good.

Paul Glennon
Devon and Cornwall Police dog development officer.

Ruby a German Shepherd laying down but with head up waiting patiently as her pups feed

Thursday 6 June 2013

Proud parents!

Dad Police dog Marley

Marley with his handler PC Terri Davies
Proud dad Marley

Mum Police dog Ruby

Ruby two weeks before the birth

Ruby ready to start whelping
Ruby a contented mum with her newly delivered 7 pups
To see a live feed of mum and pups please visit dog support unit puppy stream

Wednesday 5 June 2013

Devon & Cornwall Police dog breeding programme

As a result of developing a strong working relationship with our breeders going back many years acquiring top quality German Shepherd pups for our force has not been a problem. However in recent years an increasing number of Police forces having seen the benefits of operating a puppy programme are now also looking for quality bred working pups.  Recognising that competition for  pups is likely to increase we have embarked on a small breeding programme of our own.

Approximately 2 years ago we acquired 3 top quality bitch puppies with a view to developing them as future brood bitches. They were then placed with puppy walkers who puppy walked them in the normal way until they were 12 months of age.  They then had to undergo the same assessment that all of our trainee Police dogs undergo to assess their potential as future Police dogs. They all demonstrated that they had the necessary qualities. They then underwent the final hurdle which was to have their hips and elbows x rayed and submitted to the kennel club to assess their suitability to breed. Having successfully passed the kennel club assessments our 3 girls are now the foundation for our breed programme. We intend to use the most successful operational Police dogs from our own force at stud. It is our intention to raise all of our future litters in a home environment .  Our 3 brood bitches are Ruby, Molly and Cleo.

German Shepherd dog standing on a green lawn with a top at her feet 

German Shepherd sat on green lawn waiting patiently

German Shedherd dog Molly stood on green grass.

Molly at 10 weeks curled up on green wellies.
Ruby at 10 weeks

Ruby a German Shepherd puppy at 10 weeks asleep, it looks like she slid off the bed
Ruby at 10 weeks

Devon and Cornwall Police puppy scheme

The Devon and Cornwall Police puppy scheme was introduced approximately 20 years ago in response to a chronic shortage of suitable German shepherd dogs being donated to the force.
The then trainer at the Devon and Cornwall Police dog training school PC Steve Bissett started the initiative where suitable German Shepherd pups were purchased from reputable breeders of working German Shepherds at 7 weeks of age.

These pups were placed with volunteer families called puppy walkers until they were 12 to 18 months of age. They were then allocated to their new Police dog handler to commence training on a 13 week General Purpose Police Dog Initial  training course.

Group photograph on a grassy bank
Picture of a recent General purpose Police Initial course successfully graduating and the new up and coming pups with their breeder John Smith and their puppy walkers.
This system has continued to the present day and has become so successful that all of our General purpose Police dogs now come from our puppy scheme. Over the years we have developed a close relationship with our established breeders who have provided us with many excellent dogs. The advantage of raising pups in our own puppy scheme from such a young age is that we can influence how their individual characters develop by ensuring that they receive good socialisation and early training.

Two German Shepherd dogs on leads watching swams with interests
Jack and Zeta meeting Swans on Exeter Quay
The Operational General purpose Police dog needs to be an excellent all rounder because of the wide variety of tasks he/she needs to perform such as:-
  • Tracking and Searching for Criminals
  • Tracking and searching for Vunerable  or missing persons<
  • Searching for outstanding property/drugs
  • Controlling large disorderly /violent crowds
  • Defence of his/her handler  against violent attack.
  • Chase and detain criminal attempting to escape
Public relations work such as visiting schools or other outside organisations.
Lots of puppies in a stationary police car hanging out the windows
Early familiarisation to a Police  dog van
As can be seen from the wide range of tasks that a Police dog needs to perform he/she needs to possess many outstanding qualities. These include Boldness, Agility, Stamina, Willingness, Intelligence, Determination, and Mental toughness.  Above all else a Police dog needs to have a very well balanced social temperament. This is because one minute he/she can be required to deal with a violent criminal or a violent crowd and then soon after that could be required to do a presentation to a group of school children or could be engaged on operational foot patrol duties in a busy shopping centre having to cope with the challenge of busy crowds or for instance a skateboarder or a pushchair suddenly coming up behind the dog.
Four puppy walkers stopped and looking around Exeter highstreet
   Early socialisation in Exeter city centre for our latest recruits left to right Murphy, Buddy, Tyson and Charlie.

On average we need to train 8 new General purpose Police dogs per year to replace retiring Police dogs. We run 2 General purpose initial Police dog courses each year in January and September.
We have a number of regular puppy walkers but we are always looking for new volunteers. Previous experience with dogs is not essential but is obviously an advantage. We are looking for people who are able to offer a loving home and have the time to devote to socialising our pups.  Our canine development officer runs voluntary fortnightly training classes and makes regular house visits to ensure our puppy walkers are well supported. The main criteria is a completely secure garden, someone at home to ensure the maximum time a puppy is left alone does not exceed more than 2 hours, a vehicle to transport the pup and plenty of time to socialise the pup.

From left to right Thunder passed out as an operational Police dog with Devon and Cornwall in April 2013. Sally passed out with Devon and Cornwall in Feb 2013. Cleo one of our 3 brood bitches. Archie passed out with Thunder in April 2013. Nero currently training with Thames Valley Police on their initial Police dog course doing very well  in week 11 and passes out next week. TI failed his initial course with Devon and Cornwall in April now working with the Prison service. Ruby currently with me and her litter of pups.

Socialising will include getting the pup used to everyday situations such as traffic, crowds, loud or unusual noises, livestock, other dogs, cats, public transport, or anything you can conceivably think of.

A German Shepherd on the lead walking through a field of cattle
Training Zeta to learn to ignore livestock. Vitally important for all dogs but particularly so for a Police dog who will often have to work in and around livestock.
Anyone interested should contact the Canine Development officer on 07811424886 or the Dog training school on 101 extension 22410 for an application and information form.