Wednesday 28 May 2014

The B Litter Visit The Devon County Show To Watch Their Mum Molly and The Police Dogs Put On A Display

Several months ago the Chief Constable asked the dog section to put on a Police dog display for the Devon County show. In years gone by when we had our own Police dog display team we used to perform at all the big shows in Devon and Cornwall but it was disbanded because it became impossible to get handlers to meet on a regular basis to practise and prepare due to the ever increasing operational demands.

We were happy to take part because we love doing displays and it was nice to give something back to Westpoint who allow us to use their facilities to train our Police dogs on a daily basis. PC Ali Cruwys a Police dog handler based in Exeter volunteered to organise the training and put the display together. We also decided that as all of the dogs within force now come from our puppy programme we would include one of our brood bitches Molly and her litter of 6 month old pups.

Lots of volunteer handlers came forward but as the show got nearer and nearer a number dropped out for a variety of reasons. The remaining handlers experienced numerous interruptions to their preparations such as court appearances and operational commitments. But as has always been the case the remaining handlers gave up a lot of their own time to prepare and by the 1st day of the show on Thursday 22nd of May we were ready to go.

The team are seen here arriving to prepare for the first of 5 displays over the 3 days. Exeter dog section our organiser and trainer with criminals Hugh Watson Force dog trainer at HQ and PC Lee Crampton Exeter dog section.

From left to right are PC Steve Cruwys and Police dog Logan based at Exeter, PC Vikki Ritchie and Police dog Jasper based at Newton Abbott and PC Andy Darbey with Police dog Sally also based at Newton Abbott. Behind the dog teams are PC Ali Cruwys

Watching them enter the Showground together made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and made me very proud at how relaxed and professional they looked. To walk a group of Police dogs into an area packed with so many people, livestock and numerous pet dogs in such a calm and controlled manner doesn’t just happen by accident.

It is the result of a breeding programme producing dogs of excellent temperament, puppy walkers who have spent many hours of their own time socialising their pups and dedicated dog handlers who have spent many hours performing high visibility foot patrols in busy urban areas preparing their dogs for all eventualities.

Pictured here is Molly and her pups Bebe, Beckie and Boris soaking up the atmosphere at the show with a gun dog display going on in the arena behind them.

The format for our display began with the Police dog teams and Mollie and her pups being introduced to the crowd in the arena. Molly then gave a demonstration of nose work where she had to find a one pence piece hidden in the grass.

She then had to demonstrate control and responsiveness by recalling immediately from a ball she was chasing and finally courage as she tackled an aggressive criminal.

Although Molly isn’t a licensed Police dog we included Molly to demonstrate how in many ways the brood bitch needs to be of outstanding ability and temperament because she passes her genes on to her pups and they are influenced by her character, confidence and calmness.

The rain was appalling for the morning display. Pictured here are the team waiting to go into the Arena in the pouring rain with Puppy walker Colin and Police pup Beckie watching on.

016 PC Vikki Ritchie was the first Police dog to perform giving an excellent display of heelwork and agility. She is pictured here doing an excellent round of heelwork with Police dog Jasper showing real attentiveness despite the conditions.

Next on was PC Steve Cruwys with Police dog Logan dealing with 2 very unruly criminals who came off second best. A stretcher was brought on for one of the criminals but Logan decided he had earned the right to be transported off on the stretcher leaving the injured criminal to make his own way out of the arena.

The final Police dog on was PC Andy Darby with Police dog Sally who gave a demonstration of courage in dealing with a criminal firing a gun. Operationally it is highly unlikely that a Police dog would ever be sent to disarm a criminal firing a gun but we need to train for all eventualities. After disarming the criminal Sally retains her grip until her handler calls her off.

Prior to our dogs going into the Display Arena there had been a gun dog display, a sheep dog herding geese and a pack of young hunt hounds having food thrown on the ground for them. The fact that our dogs were still able to put on the excellent display that they did without being distracted was very impressive. I am obviously biased but I thought Molly having to search amongst all those smells for a 1 pence piece was exceptional.

What was also exceptional was PC Vikki Ritchie and Jasper coping with all what was going on considering they only finished their Initial Police dog course in December last year.

Fortunately the weather improved and here are the Police dogs looking dryer and happier.

Finally here they are leaving the show ground at the end of a long, successful and enjoyable day. Once again showing how professional they are and an excellent advert for the Devon and Cornwall force.

Here is a collection of photos of Molly and her pups taken throughout the day. Boris on the table saying hello to everyone.

Colin and Beckie braving the elements. 

Boris on his beloved table again. 

Molly, Bebe and Boris watching the Morris dancers perform.

Day 2 started the same as the first day with pouring rain drenching all of us on the morning display and putting a dampener on our Royal visitor Prince Michael of Kent. He is pictured here meeting Police dog Jasper and Vikki.

Here is a collection of Fridays photo’s. Bruno, Molly, Boris and Buddy meeting up for the day.

Boris and Bruno meet the army. 

Boris, Buddy and Bruno set off to explore. 

Buddy sees an interesting individual. 

Buddy and Bruno decide to investigate. 

Buddy makes a new Pal. 

Boris back on his table with his buddies. 

Everyone still in high spirits. 

Joining the whole cast for a group photo. 

Buddy looking very contented at the end of a great day and about to go home. 

Day 3 Cancelled. We were all gutted as we had planned a real family day as all children had free entry. Emma with Blade and Darryl with Beau were very disappointed to miss out. Emma decided to still give Blade and her boys a day to remember and took them off to The Decoy Country Park in Teignbridge for a day of adventure. Blade is pictured here at the start of the day.

 Paul I found the stick Emma didn’t throw it honest. 

See you all next time. Paul.

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