Monday 29 July 2013

Thursday 25th of July has finally arrived allocation to their puppy walkers

A  day of mixed emotions. Elation and excitement for the 7 puppy walkers who had been waiting for this day to collect their pups. Pride and sadness for me having watched their little characters develop to finally leave me to go to their new loving homes.

On the positive side I will have the pleasure of seeing them every 2 weeks at my development classes. The handover day was a marvellous day for all concerned. A large number of people attended the handover at our house where the pups had grown up. There were representatives from the Media, TV and invited guests. The pups were not fazed by all the people and attention.

Seven puppies following PAul Glennon to meet the press and their new walkers
My little army coming out from the house to meet everyone.

Paul carrying Ash the puppy

Me carrying little Ash who went off in a different direction.

Note the calm relaxed gaze as she surveys the photographers and large crowd in front of her. I can picture her with her handler in years to come giving that same calm confident stare  prepared for whatever comes her way.

A puupy sat next to a police helmet in the garden
Little Ava posing with a lovely relaxed calm demeanour despite the mayhem going on around her.

A group photo of the new walkers with their puppies sat in the garden

And finally the group photograph. From left to right PC Terri Davies with proud father Police dog Marley,  the puppy walkers with their pups Ava, Annie, Arry, Anya,Argo, Axel and Ash. Fantastic mother Ruby with her carers Mark and Liv on the far right. Our Advisor Graham Mabbutt in the centre rear with my wife Diane who has been there to help me every step of the way.

Then that was it. Off they all went leaving my exhausted wife Diane and I to reflect on weeks of hard work and lots of happy memories. As my dog career goes this is without doubt one of my proudest moments probably only equalled when my retired Police dog SPUD finally won the National Police dog trials after 4 years being the runner up.

SPUD the German Shepherd dog and his trophies

Pictures of Spud with the National Police dog champion trophies in 2011. Receiving the coveted Best tracking dog trophy and Spud eying up his next meal Prince Michael of Kent.

SPUD with Paul who is shaking the hand of Prince Michaem of Kent. SPUD is licking his chops!

See you all in 2 weeks when I will report on the assessment and selection of our older dogs for our September 2013 initial Police dog course. The following week I will be reporting on our first training session for the new pups.


The puppies final week with me

Its Wednesday 17th July the pups are 6 weeks and 3 days and are off to the dog training school to meet everyone on their first trip out

All puppies in their cage in the back of a police dog van

They travelled well and after meeting everyone it was back home for an orderly lunch in the kitchen.

All seven puppies tucking in to their food in the kitchen

The weekend was spent going through 160,000 suggestions for the puppy naming competition and I finally came up with Annie, Ava, Anya, Ash, for the girls and Arry (named after my first Police dog) Axel and Argo.

Monday 22nd July was about getting the pups ready for their puppy assessments in the evening. We had a scare during the day when checking on the numbers on looking into their den only 6 were in there.

6 puppies in their den hiding from the hot sun

A frantic search and if you look carefully you can just see whitefoot now Anya little head sticking out of the new den she found over by the summerhouse.

Puppies head and front paws can be seen sticking out of new den.

During the day I prepared the assessment sheets for our assessor Graham Mabbutt at my computer and Ruby decided I had been at it long enough so came in and presented me with her ball for me to throw.

Note what a picture of health she looks

Ruby sitting next to her ball.

Finally when the weather cooled down our Assessor Graham Mabbutt arrived to assess our pups for potential traits such as confidence, play drive, determination and general work potential. This is carried out when the pups are 49 days old because the scientists tell us their brains are fully formed at this age.

Graham has been assessing character in puppies and adults for over 50 years and was the Devon and Cornwall Police dog trainer many years ago. The assessment has to take place in a room where the puppies have never been before and they are assessed individually by someone who is unknown to them. Normally I assess all of our pups but couldn’t do so on this occasion as the pups obviously know me. We used our lounge where they had never been before.

Graham was very complimentary about the litter and concluded that all of the pups had the potential to become future Police dogs and that the litter was the most impressive he had ever seen for work potential.

A puppy tugging a rope

Police puppy Ava tugging in a very determined manner on a piece of rolled up carpet on a rope. Note the tight rope and the way she is dropping her weight to win the tugging contest. This demonstrates that Ava will enjoy criminal work on a sleeve when she is older. 

A puppy walking with ball in month

Police puppy Arry proudly carrying a plastic ball he has just chased after it was thrown by the assessor. This shows that Arry has a strong hunting drive as did all of the pups. 

A puppy sniffing round an umbrella

Police puppy Axel confidently approaching an umbrella which had just been opened in front of him and placed on the floor. Note the high tail carriage denoting confidence. This demonstrates an ability to deal confidently with strange or unusual objects or incidents.

A puppy on the window ledge looking at a black speck

Police puppy Anya showing total confidence walking along a shiny plastic window ledge showing she is not height sensitive. The whole assessment was filmed by a Spotlight TV reporter with numerous other onlookers.

The pups were not fazed by being on their own for the first time and having a tall TV camera overlooking them. This again demonstrated what strong characters they have. I was extremely proud of them all but I was not looking forward to seeing them go in 3 days time to their puppy walkers.

Friday 26 July 2013

Devon and Cornwall Police puppies make the news!

Watch the spotlight report below.

Wednesday 24 July 2013

The A team have been named.

 The puppies have been named! Thank you to all who took part and have wished them well.

German Shepherd puppy named Annie sat on the grass looking as if shes daydreaming

Anya the german Shepherd puppy standing in the grass looking thoughtful

Argo the German Shepherd puppy taking it easy lying down on the grass but head up.

Arry the German Shepherd puppy standing in a rather submissive pose

Ash the German Shepherd dog standing to attention on the grass with tail up.

Ava the German Shepherd puppy looking as if she is about to pounce

Axel the German Shepherd puppy standing in the grass looking like he's between thoughts!

Tuesday 16 July 2013

Ruby and her pups 6 weeks old.

Puppies climbing up and down the steps
Up and down the steps with easy
This week has left in me in awe seeing the incredible progress the pups have made in one week. They are now very fast across the ground and seem fearless to everything they encounter. They have explored most of our very large garden of 1 acre and all go up and down the steps with ease.

In the kitchen keeping cool

It has been a very challenging week because of the intense heat and we have had to keep the pups in the kitchen on the tiled floor to keep them cool.

I have also realised how closely related the pups are to their wild ancestors in the way they instinctively seek shelter from the sun and have developed their own nest underneath the oil tank in our garden.
Ruby emerging from the den
Her pups sleeping and playing in the den in her absence.

German Shepherd pups in their dugout den
In the den
Image below shows Ruby may well have stopped feeding her pups 2 weeks ago but she still watches over them when they are sleeping and playing.

Ruby watching over her puppies sleeping

I am finding the  raising of my first litter an incredible and emotional experience and I am not looking forward to seeing the pups going on their way in 10 days time.

Finally I will sign off with some pictures of the pups ability to sleep anywhere at any time.

German shepherd puppy asleep curled round the first rung of a ladder.
White foot managing to get on the first rung of the ladder.
German Shepherd asleep head resting on the water bowl
Asleep in the water bowl
German Shepherd tucked away on a wicker shelf in a wooden shed
Blue boy getting left on the shelf
Hidden behind my wellies. Took me ages to find him

To see all uncropped images please visit our flickr account.
My penultimate blog next week see you then.

Wednesday 10 July 2013

Police puppy naming competition via Facebook

CLOSED.  A big thank you to all those who visited and left names.

Devon and Cornwall Police are inviting members of the public to name six out of the seven puppies born to Force brood bitch, Ruby, last month. 

The competition will be run through the Devon and Cornwall Police Facebook page ( from the 10 to 18 July 2013. 

As this litter of puppies are the first litter Devon and Cornwall Police have bred they will be known as litter ‘A’ and all suggested names given on Facebook need to begin with the letter ‘A’. 

Anyone wishing to name the puppies can find photos of each puppy posted on the Facebook page.  The first puppy has already been named as ‘Ash’.

Any members of the public wanting to suggest a name or names should ‘Like’ the page and post their suggestions as comments underneath each puppy’s photograph. 

The winners will be chosen by Paul Glennon, Force Dog Handler, and will be invited to meet the puppies at their first press event, which will take place on Tuesday 23 July. 

Once they have been named, the puppies will be allocated to their puppy walkers, who will take care of them for about a year, until they are ready for their formal training with the Force.

Force Dog Handler, Paul Glennon, said “The puppies and their mother are all doing well and the puppies are growing really fast.  We thought it would be nice to ask the public for their suggestions on naming the puppies, especially as this is the first litter we have bred ourselves”.

Ash the German Shepherd puppy standing on some grass tail up face alert.
Ash the first Force puppy to be named.

Tuesday 9 July 2013

Puppy viewing

Best time to watch the live puppy feed (link below) is between 8 and 9 in the evening. They are very lively as the heat has gone from the day and it makes entertaining viewing.

(Occasionally the feed fails - sorry, so please check back again if it doesn't work the first time you visit.)

Monday 8 July 2013

Rubies pups are 5 weeks old tommorrow.

Although they have already been outside in the puppy pen in the shade under the old apple tree see picture

Puppies asleep in their pen under the apple tree

today was the first day they have ventured out on their own without being carried from their indoor puppy pen.

Puppies leaving their indoor pen for their outdoor one

See pic 043. From there they made it around the side of the house with an eagle eyed mum keeping watch over them.

Puppies and Ruby on route to garden pen

Two puppies feeding
The pups at feeding time. Note they are fed individually so that I can ensure everyone gets their fair share and no bullying takes place. Also they become used to human hands in and around them during feeding time  making them less likely to show food aggression when they grow up.

Since they have been born neither they nor mum have wanted to  lie on vet bed or carpet due to the warm room hence they have been on newspaper only throughout. We had vet bed and carpet specially cut to fit the whelping box but mum was having none of it preferring to lay on the paper. She literally threw the vet bed out of the box. She whelped her litter on a special whelping board covered in hessian which she used to scratch as the pups were arriving. I only mention that as someone has commented on not providing mum with bedding for the whelping and since.

As  you can see now that the pups are older they have already started to gravitate to the wood wool to
Puppy asleep
spend a penny making it much easier to toilet train them later on. Wood wool is expensive but well worth the investment because it stays dry and allows the  puppies waste to pass through keeping them dry and not smelling of urine. See picture 080.

Two adult German shepherds, puppies and Paul in the garden

The pups out in the garden when it was cooler with mum and my old Police dog Spud. As you can see Spud like mum has a wonderful temperament allowing the puppies to bite at his teats looking for milk. It is very beneficial in the development of puppies to grow up with an adult dog such as Spud providing the dog has a good temperament.

The puppies were wormed this week. We also took individual photos of all of the pups for our puppy naming competition. They have already received many visitors with the pups just taking everything in their stride. Mum has shown no guarding behaviour to visitors from the start and is very trusting but ever watchful.

Ruby watching her puppies in the pen with a little girl and her mum

All going well see you next week. Paul

Wednesday 3 July 2013

Rubies pups are 4 weeks old today Monday 1 July

Ruby is pictured here last Thursday playing and feeding her pups in the playpen in our garden.

Ruby the German Shepherd with her pups outside in the garden pen
Ruby the German Shepherd feeding some of her pups while other play in the outside pen

Ruby the German Shepherd feeding her pups in the outside pen

Unfortunately  Ruby stopped feeding the pups shortly after these pictures were taken and I had to start the process of weaning the pups onto solid food.  I wasn’t surprised as the pups have been particularly lively and were clearly making feeding very uncomfortable for her.  I cant complain because for such a young mum she has been absolutely brilliant in the way she has coped and looked after the litter.  

I started by giving them small amounts of best steak scrapings to get their stomachs ready for normal food.

One of the German Shepherd pups being hand feed steak.

In addition to the tiny bits of steak I have also been getting them used to taking Whelper milk from a small dish.

German Shepherd pup drinking some milk from an orange shallow dish

Today they have started eating soaked Royal Canin Mother and baby food with best mince mixed in.

Four German Shepherd pups tucking into their food.

This will now be their food 3 times a day and in the evening Whelper milk and cereal.

Today all the pups enjoyed playing and sleeping in my garden on the grass in their playpen. It was interesting to see even at this tender age they all automatically sought the shade from the sun provided by two large umbrellas.

7 German Shepherd pups sleeping outside in their pen in the shade

A puppy being weighed to make sure he is developing as he should.

A German Shepherd pup in a small plastic container being weighed using kitchen scales

A relaxed young girl having her needle like nails clipped.

A German Shepherd pup having her nails clipped

Ruby is spending less time with the pups but she always has ready access and sleeps with them at night.  She is wanting to get out and about now but I still need to be careful where I take her as she could still pass on an infection.

So far so good all the pups are looking well and making good weight gains. Tomorrow  I will be putting  puppy collars on them as they are getting harder to tell apart. We will also be photographing each puppy individually tomorrow ready for the puppy naming competition.

I will sign off until next week’s update when they will be 5 weeks old.

Paul  Glennon D&C Police Canine Development Officer.