Monday 19 May 2014

An update on how the initial Police dog course is progressing and how Grommit got on with his suitability assessment to be a police dog

When I last updated you on the progress of the Initial Police dog course in April Police pup Jack had completed week 8, Police pup Charlie had completed week 5 and Police pup Arry had just been drafted in to start the course.

I am pleased to tell you that Police puppy Jack and his handler Phil Wilson successfully passed their Initial Police dog course assessment last week and are now a fully licensed Police dog team who will be working in Exeter.

Also we have now been joined on the course by Police puppy Axel and his new handler PC Mark Stevens. Unfortunately Marks previous dog had to be retired prematurely as he wasn’t adapting to the role of a Police dog.

The course  pictured above from left to right are Mark and Axel who have now completed 2 weeks of training, Carla and Arry  have completed 6 weeks of training  and Simon and Charlie  have completed 12 weeks and will be undergoing their final assessment next week. Pictured on the end is Phil and Jack who joined us for the day.

I am so pleased for Jack who already seems to have been on such a long journey. He had to have surgery on an overshot jaw as a puppy, then he had a period of lameness, then he decided to swallow an £18000 diamond belonging to his puppy walker which he passed naturally a week later and the story was covered by BBC spotlight and features on a previous blog.

Jack and Phil
Even on the day he came out with us for some training Jack stubbed his toe and is pictured here with Phil examining him to see the extent of his injury. Note how happy he is to be constricted and examined showing what a wonderful temperament he has and trust in his handler.

Jack is pictured here with his handler Phil having passed his assessment

For those of you who follow the blog you will know that Axel and Arry are from our A litter which are the first pups bred by our force. At 11 months of age they are still very young and so they will be taken along very gradually and will not be rushed.

I thought it would be impossible to top all the marvelous times I had with my old Police dog Spud and the success we had in the dog trials but having bred the A litter at my home and now training them with their new handlers certainly comes close.

Axel, Arry and Charlie are all pictured here this week enjoying their criminal work exercises in the glorious sunshine. Everyone getting ready for the action,
Arry about to pounce
Axel gets a grip
Mark finding something amusing which is usually Simon falling over!
Charlie pursuing me and standing off and barking as he is trained to do as I give myself up.
'Wot toy - no watch wallet!'
My favourite picture is Arry searching for outstanding property and locating a wallet on top of a wall and indicating it to his handler Carla without touching it. This is important as we can get DNA from just about anything touched by an offender and it is important the dog does not interfere with property he/she finds. As he freezes on the wallet you can see his toy reward coming over to reward him.

It was also a pleasure to have Charlie’s puppy walker Diane come out with us for the day to see how he is getting on with his training.
Diane, Simon and Charlie are pictured here together.

How Grommit got on with his suitability assessment to be a police dog

During the week we also had Police pup Grommit out with us for his final assessment as to his suitability to be a Police dog. He underwent exactly the same assessment that the A litter had gone through several weeks ago.

I am pleased to say that Grommit passed all of the assessments and will now be available to be allocated to a new handler for our forthcoming initial Police dog course in September this year.
Grommit searching for property which has been hidden
Grommit is pictured here searching for property which has been hidden.
'Found it!'
He quickly locates the purse and is pictured here proudly carrying his trophy.
'Let me go then'
Grommit is pictured here showing his keenness to engage with the criminal wearing a protective sleeve.
'Told you I'd get it'
He is then pictured having won the sleeve from the criminal.

'Wolf man yer right'
It was then on to the courage test where that horrible man wearing a wolf mask jumped out on him. Grommit is shown here standing his ground and not running away.
'I knew it wasn't really a wolf man'
Once the wolf man removes his mask Grommit completely recovers and goes over to investigate which was an excellent reaction for a 10 month old dog.

I get asked a lot as to whether this test is a bit too much for such a young dog. The answer is we are not expecting a young dog to deal with the situation the same way that a fully mature dog would. We are happy at this age as long as the dog doesn’t take off with his tail between his legs and more importantly recovers his composure once the offender takes off his mask and the handler goes over to talk to the man.

Grommit assessed as a very lively energetic young dog and was very confident in all situations. He is a very athletic and determined dog who loves to play and work. He was a little stressed being in the kennels and away from his puppy walkers for the first time but settled down after the first night on his own. He looks an excellent prospect and we are extremely grateful to his puppy walkers Phil and Mel Rooks in Plymouth who have done an excellent job of looking after him.

'Yep this is me, Mr confidence looking very handsome, if I do say so myself!'
He is pictured here as he is now
'Ain't I cute, with my floppy ear!'
and as a tiny pup.

Finally where I walk my dogs each day in Killerton I look forward to the same pair of Canadian geese who come to the lake to mate and raise their young every year. I have seen one goose every day for the last few weeks on its own and guessed the other was on the nest. Sure enough this week here they are caught on my camera making their way across the lake.

Nothing to do with dogs but once again demonstrating the wonders of nature and whetting my appetite for our C litter in the autumn.

This week I will be at the Devon county show in Westpoint with my brood bitch Molly and some of her pups joining our Police dog display team who are putting on 2 displays each day. If I don’t see you there I will report on how it all went in my next blog.

Bye for now Paul

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