Wednesday 12 February 2014

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.

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