Thursday 24 July 2014

Yogi off on his summer holidays and good character in police dogs

Yogi is now 9 months old and as his puppy walkers Terry and Jill Hodge are visiting their relatives in New Zealand I agreed to have him for the 6 weeks they are away.

I am 3 weeks in and thoroughly enjoying having him. He is everything anyone could want in a Working German shepherd. He is outgoing, enjoys meeting people, social, willing, intelligent, very enthusiastic, responsive, and is non dog aggressive.

Yogi Joining me on the swing seat.
Will he make a Police dog?  I have no doubt some forces would prefer him to be a little bolder. For me he is everything I could wish for at this age. He will get much stronger and harder as he matures and I have no doubt by the time he is 3 years of age he will still be a sensible and honest dog who will always retain that goodness and trustworthy character that he was born with.

Ever vigilant.
Relaxing in the shade.
The breeder Dave Fermor in Dover should be congratulated on producing a dog with such good character and his puppy walkers for providing a loving home and excellent socialisation so vital to a puppy’s development.

For those of you who have not read my previous blogs I purchased Yogi from Dave as a potential future stud dog and Police dog to provide an independent lineage to the pups we have bred in the A and B litter.

I have spent most of my Police service working and training with Police dogs and I have seen many examples on my travels of Police dogs with very poor character.

The priority in selecting a Police dog has to be good character because a dog with good character who has been well socialised and has been provided with leadership is able to cope with stressful situations and is able to differentiate between normal situations like walking through shoppers in the city centre or interacting with children in a school and dealing with non normal situations like violent criminals or rowdy crowds.
Yogi hanging out with the big boys Arry, Axel and Charlie at Costa coffee in Exeter city centre.
Note how relaxed the dogs are together and comfortable with crowds and people approaching them.
That is why our puppy scheme is so important. We select our pups from parents of good character and we watch their characters develop as they grow into adults. Our puppy walkers work hard on their socialisation and attend fortnightly development sessions.  Once they have received their early socialisation they are taught to ignore other dogs, to walk sensibly through livestock, to accept approaches from all types of people. They are taught good manners and learn to accept leadership and boundaries. They grow up as part of the family.

Puppy Blade from the B litter joins Yogi and I for the day
Their socialisation should continue throughout the Police dogs life to keep them stable and well balanced. A well balanced dog with good character who has had the time invested in socialisation, development, and training is a joy to own and is pleasure to take out and about.

No really I haven't just eaten a scone and Paul has been very good with the other dogs

The above pictures, taken by my wife Diane, show Yogi and I enjoying a cream tea in a busy cafe without any begging or trying to get to other dogs passing through.

A dog who is well behaved and responsive in day to day circumstances is much more likely to be well behaved and responsive in work situations where control is such a vitally important part of being a Police dog.

Such a dog is also much more likely to remain clear headed and understand exactly what is required in high pressure situations and therefore is much less likely to be a liability by biting innocent members of the public or Police officers he/she is supposed to be working alongside.

Yogi waiting patiently for me by the van as he does every morning when I let him out keen to go off on our next adventure.

Shows Yogi attacking the garden hose while I try unsuccessfully to fill the water trays for the birds.

I will end with some pictures of Yogi enjoying the river Otter with me after our cream tea. He played happily with other dogs he met and was the perfect gentleman walking past other dogs on the way back to the car. A lot of work is required to get a dog to learn what is required of him/her and to behave in a sensible and well mannered way. Is it worth all the hard work. I will leave you to decide. You know what I think.

See you next time when I will report on the passing out ceremony for Arry, Axel, Charlie and Jack.


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