Wednesday 12 February 2014

Megan happy in her new home

For those of you who were not aware Police dog Megan one of our newest Police dog recruits had a tragic accident over the xmas period which resulted in her losing her left eye. Three weeks before the accident she had successfully completed her 3 month long Initial Police dog course and had started operational duty with her handler PC Simon Willan in North Devon.

Simon had taken Megan with his family up to Manchester for the Xmas period and whilst exercising her in a local play park she ran headlong into a metal fence badly injuring her eye which sadly had to be removed by the vet after trying hard to save it.

They are pictured here together second left with their fellow course recruits before their passing out parade on Thursday 5th December 2013.

Also pictured are Simon and Megan with Megan’s puppy walker PS Alan Knight on the same day.

As you can imagine Simon and his family were devastated as were all of us who had been involved with Megan whilst she was growing up and during her training. But Megan is a fighter and a real tough nut which she showed throughout her training and what she lacked in size she more than made up for in her tenacity and spirit. I have no doubt she will recover well from this awful setback.
Clearly it wasn’t fair to ask her to continue in her role as a Police dog even though I know that Megan would have wanted to carry on regardless if given the choice. Also we didn’t think it was fair to Simon because knowing him as I do he would have been continually worried about going into situations where she could damage her remaining eye. We therefore made the decision to retire Megan from Police work and find her the best possible home.
Megan playing in Hazel's mange

Thankfully we have done that and Megan is now living With Hazel Jago in a lovely house in the village of Yarnscombe in North Devon. I know Hazel from my North Devon days. Many years ago  I re-homed a bitch called Zena with Hazel on behalf of a colleague who couldn’t look after her any more. Zena gave Hazel and her family many years of pleasure until she passed away in June 2012 age 10 and a half.

Hazel hasn't had another dog since Zena and when her friend Kerry told her about Megan and that the Police were looking for a good home for Megan she jumped at the chance. Luckily Kerry’s partner is Sgt Tony Whitting the North Devon dog Sgt who has been looking after Simon and Megan since the accident.

Above are of photo’s of  Megan playing with her rather large space hopper in Hazel’s manage where Hazel exercises her 3 ponies. Megan is a very active dog and will benefit from Hazel’s 5 acres of land and the many beautiful walks to be done in North Devon.

Pictured here is Hazel’s old dog Zena with her daughter Natasha in their lovely garden.

I have also included a photo of the plot where Zeta is buried next to the stables. I include it to demonstrate the care, kindness and type of owner Hazel is.

Megan in Hazel's garden
I went up to see Hazel and Megan on Sunday 9 February to find out how they were getting on. I was a little apprehensive because having had her at my home for the first 6 weeks of her life and having trained her during her puppy hood and on her 3 month initial course I thought it would be extremely emotional for me and that I would feel so sorry for her.

I needn’t have worried as it was lovely to see her so relaxed and happy with Hazel in her new home. After greeting me for an eternity she settled down and was just like her old happy playful self. Hazel said that she bumped into a few things when she first arrived but now seems to have adapted and is fully adjusted to judging distances.

I would just like to finish by thanking Hazel and wishing them many happy years together. I would also like to wish Simon and his family my best wishes and wish Simon good luck on the Initial Police dog course with his new dog Charlie.


Regards Paul Glennon

Sunday 2 February: The first training get together of the B litter

Today we all met at Police Headquarters Middlemoor Exeter for our first training and development session. It was a chance for all the litter to meet their brothers and sisters again. It is also good for the puppy walkers to compare notes and to realise they are not the only ones having a challenging first few weeks everyone is.

During the first part of the session all the pups had fun negotiating various puppy agility obstacles which included the long tunnel, several of the ramps and the narrow walkway. Although it is all good fun for the pups it also gives me the opportunity to look at their individual confidence levels and to assess their ability to deal with new challenges. All the pups negotiated  the obstacles very confidently with the help of small cheese titbits or a favourite toy depending on what motivated them most.

Here is Bruno showing intense concentration as he makes his way down the walkway.

Here is Beckie making light work of the ramp to get to her ball.

Here is Bebe going through the tunnel with trouble written all over her face.

Afterwards she is pictured looking at our camera man PC Ben Jobes trying to work out what is in his hand and  with a look that tells me she will be a dog who will meet any future challenge head on.

I was grateful to Ben who is interested in one day becoming a dog handler who came up from Cornwall in his time off to help for the day.

Buddy went over the walkway the way he approaches everything like a bull in a china shop completely unfazed.

Here Beau is saying come and get me if you want your ball back.

Brodie confidently makes his way up the ramp and Beckie joins in for another go.

We then did a short obedience session showing everyone how to get the dogs to go into the sit and down position and how to get a fast happy recall.
Here is the group being given instruction using Bebe as the demonstration pup.

After the demonstration everyone had a practice.
Here is Blade showing a lovely sit

and down handled by Emma.

We also discussed the importance of play with a pup to build confidence and building a strong bond between the puppy and their handler. I also demonstrated with Bebe how to get the puppy to release her toy on command. It is important for a dog to give up his/her possession or anything in his mouth when the handler asks him/her too.

We then went over to the dog training school for a short talk on socialisation for the pups. It is vitally important over the coming weeks for the pups to meet different people, animals, noises, traffic and as many situations as possible. But it is equally important that the puppy walkers know how to control the different situations so that their pup does not become overwhelmed or have any bad experiences. This was the purpose of the talk.

We then concluded with a demonstration of how to get the pups negotiating different stairs without creating a mental block in the pups and I have to say they were all very positive and confident.
 Here is Buddy going so fast up the stairs the picture is blurred.

Boris was initially a little apprehensive  as he hasn’t been up and down stairs before and it looked a long way down. But with lots of encouragement he overcame his initial reluctance and is
pictured here going down what are quite difficult stairs.

Everyone enjoyed the day and all the pups look to have lots of early potential.

We meet again in a fortnight when we will be introducing them to the most important exercise for all Police dogs Tracking people and we will also be seeing how they cope in Exeter city centre.

Monday 3 February 2014

A plea from 4 month old Yogi, "Please don't forget about me"

Sandwiched in between all the excitement of the A litter and the B litter poor old Yogi has slipped under the radar and so I thought I would introduce him to you all. Realising that our 2 litters are  related  I decided to bring in a couple of male pups outside the breed program as potential future Police dogs and hopefully one day maybe a  future stud dog. The first was Grommit who you have met in a previous blogs and the other was Yogi who was born on the 24th of September 2013.

Yogi was bred by Dave Fermor a train driver on the cross channel tunnel who is also a dog trainer and breeds the occasional litter of German Shepherds at his home in Dover. The father of Yogi is a dog called Kummel who came 5th in this years World Schutzhund championships and is widely tipped to be a future world champion in the sport.

Kummel is owned and worked by Ronny van den Berghe who is probably the most successful handler ever in the sport of Schutzhund who lives and competes for Belgium.

For the uninitiated  Schutzhund is a dog sport assessment which started in Germany to assess the breed worth of their German Shepherds. The dogs are assessed for their courage, tracking ability, agility and obedience. The sport is now a worldwide sport and is accepted as the yardstick for the best dogs in the world.

Today I met up with Yogi and his puppy walker Terry Hodge to do some training and development training in Exeter. We started at the Police dog school where Yogi weighed in the scales at 19 kilo’s.

We then went up to the sports field to do some tracking training. Tracking is the following of a trail left by a person which the dog has to follow.

Pictured here is Yogi showing intense concentration with a low nose following the trail I have just left where I have hidden his toy on the end of the track. He really enjoys his tracking and easily located his toy.

From here it was down to the Police vehicle workshops to see how he coped with all the noisy vehicles, airbrakes, drills, tyre pressure noises and motorbikes.

He took all of this in his stride and here he is enjoying the view from one of the motorcycles.

From here it was off to Exeter city centre to see how he coped with busy city life.

He was soon the centre of attention and he is pictured here spending time with an elderly lady in her wheelchair who absolutely loved him and clearly made her day.
Next he met a Rottweiler retriever cross ( not a planned mating the owner told me) and what a lovely attitude as he invited the other dog to play.

He then caught the sound of a lady playing her Saxaphone ( and very good she was too)  and he is seen here enjoying the music and keeping an eye on her donations from the public.

I thoroughly enjoyed my morning with Yogi who impressed me with his very forward, confident and happy attitude to everything he came across. He was very sensible with all the dogs he met. I am confident he will make an excellent Police dog but whether he does or he doesn’t his excellent character makes him a joy to own and an excellent example of what good character should be in the German Shepherd.

Well done Yogi and well done to Dave his breeder.