Wednesday 2 April 2014

The initial course that never was

Apologies to all for the delay in getting out my latest blog but this was due to all the outstanding leave I needed to take or lose before the start of the new leave year. Since my last blog my old Police dog Spud celebrated his 10th birthday and is pictured here at our favourite spot which we visit every day on our walks at Killerton National trust park.

Also in the picture is Mollie the mother of our B litter. Mollie is Spud’s soul mate because they have been together since Mollie came to us aged 7 weeks.

Mollies B litter are all doing well and are now 4 months old. Pictured here is Boris from the B litter and mum. We looked after Boris for the weekend while his puppy walkers took a weekend break.

You probably remember on a previous blog I informed you that our force had cancelled the January 2014 Initial Police dog course because none of our handlers needed a replacement dog. As a result we sold our 3 dogs to Derbyshire and Bedfordshire Police. Having sold our dogs lady luck was not kind to us because in the space of a month we had to retire 3 of our operational dogs prematurely. Police dog Roxy aged 5 handled by PC Phil Wilson of Exeter dog section was diagnosed with Lymphatic cancer. Police dog Winnie aged 4 handled by Carla Labden of Newton Abbott dog section developed a phobia for certain floor surfaces and tragically Police dog Megan aged 18 months and handled by PC Simon Willan of North Devon dog section lost her eye in a freak accident over the Christmas period. Normally that would have meant all of those handlers having to wait until the September course for a new dog. But fortunately once again our puppy programme proved its value and all was not lost. Police puppy Jack (Famous for his appearance on spotlight having eaten his puppy walkers diamond ring) had been kept in the puppy programme despite failing his courage tests. I decided to stick with Jack because he had never shown any fear of anything as he was growing up. I also thought that given more time to mature he would come good. He is repaying our faith because he is now in week 8 of his initial Police dog course and is going well.

Jack is pictured here with his new handler Phil Wilson.

Phil’s retired dog Roxy is responding well to her treatment for cancer and is getting on famously with her new mate Jack. Our next stroke of luck was that Bedfordshire Police returned Police puppy Charlie because their vet had concerns about him having a slightly overshot jaw. I had him examined by our vet who stated he was fit to work. We then started Charlie on his Initial Police dog course and he is also going well and is now in week 5 of his course.

He is pictured here with his new handler Simon Willan.

Finally we drafted in Arry from our A litter who although only 10 months old is raring to go and starts his Initial Police dog course with me next week. It is a very proud moment for me because having bred the A litter which included Arry I am really excited about training him.

He is pictured here with his new handler Carla Labden. 

Last week I had all of the A litter and Grommit in for their final training session before they undergo their formal Police dog suitability assessments in April. I will be doing a separate blog to explain what the various assessments entail, what we are looking for and how they all get on. I have included some photos of the A litter taken last week now that they are all coming up to 10 months of age. I cant believe how quickly the time has gone since they were born and how they have all grown.

Argo with puppy walker Lyn. 

Ava with puppy walker Ed and Lowri. 

Annie relaxing in the bushes.

Anya with puppy walker Graham. 

Ash with puppy walker Annie

Gromitt taking in the view.

I would like to give a special mention to Axel’s puppy walker Steve who has really done an excellent job.

Axel has a heart of gold but his powerful physique, extremely high energy levels, strong determination and independent personality make him a real handful. He would have tested an experienced Police dog handler but because of Steve’s persistence all the hard work is now paying off. You don’t need to be an expert to see the bond Steve has with Axel. He is clearly saying I am enjoying being with you what are we going to do next.

Paul Glennon

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