Tuesday 23 December 2014

The C litter have been busy!

'Merry Christmas everyone!'
The C litter all pass their Police Puppy aptitude suitability assessments and have all been allocated to their new puppy walkers


Puppy assessments

Last Wednesday I took all of the C litter to Plymouth for their puppy assessments. Puppy testing is a subject that many breeders and experts do not agree with. It was first introduced by American enthusiasts Volhard and Fisher to assess the personality of pups to make the best match with prospective owners.
Most of the Police forces who have breeding programmes in the UK use some form of assessment. I have developed my own format as I have been assessing and purchasing puppies for Devon and Cornwall Police for over 20 years now. Any form of test at such a young age can never in my opinion be totally reliable but it can give an early indication of how a pup is likely to develop in adulthood particularly in relation to playfulness, nervousness, willingness, determination and sensitivity to sound.
To assess the pups they are placed on their own into a room that they have never been before with an assessor who the pups do not know. They are assessed on how they cope with the stress of the situation, how thoroughly they explore the room and how confidently they interact with the stranger.

The above shows Comet investigating the room unfazed by the assessor who he has never met before.
They are assessed on how long it takes them to relax and how playful they are. They are assessed on how they cope to different noises, how they cope with being restrained, how determined they are in play, how they react to heights and their desire to engage in tug of war games.

Above shows Comet confidently engaging in a tug of war game with the assessor.
Obviously the puppy only has a 10 minute window of opportunity to impress and it is always possible they can have an off day. It is for this reason you must have a close and trusted relationship with your breeder to seek his/her opinion in arriving at decisions.
Above shows Cagney just about to pounce on a hairy mouse on a string.
With regard to the A, B and C litters that we have bred ourselves I have had to get an outside assessor because the pups all know me. I have used my mentor Graham Mabbut a former Devon and Cornwall Police dog Instructor who has over 60 years of assessing adult dogs and puppies who lives in Plymouth.

Above shows Cagney about to grab the pup on a stick. Note the high tail denoting confidence.
Having watched them for the last 8 weeks I was very confident in their quality and therefore I knew the 40 mile trip to somewhere strange was not going to bother them and so it proved to be. I was very proud of them all. Not one of them found the experience at all stressful and all played like kittens demonstrating all the early qualities needed in a potential Police dog ie confidence, strong nerves, determination, playfulness, and happy dispositions.
Above shows Callie playing when a Police siren is sounded and she is totally unfazed.

Above shows Charlie and he says its my ball.
Above shows Cosmic is completely unfazed by the hoover being switched on.
Above show's Graham testing Cosmic’s pain threshold and counts to 10 with no response.
Above shows Copper taking her nearly acquired mouse into the corner.
Above show Chaos attacking from behind.
Above shows Chaos calmly accepting being held on his back with no panic. Excellent response.

Above shows Charlie Completely unfazed by heights on a rickety table.
So after a very successful assessment it was back up the motorway to our house.

Rubies last weekend

On the following Saturday Ruby was with us for her last weekend before going back to her carers Mark and Liv.

Here is a video of her last day with her pups before leaving us. 

Christmas Card competition winners

The following day Sunday we had the winners of our Christmas card design and puppy naming competition out to meet the pups at our house which was a great day for all concerned.
Here are some photos that I took.

Puppies to their walkers

Monday 15th December Cagney, Comet, Copper and Cosmic leave with their new puppy walkers. 
All 4 pups leaving our house
Cagney and Jill
Comet and Dawn
Cooper and Mel
Cosmic and Linsay

FRIDAY 19TH December Chaos, Charlie and Callie leave with their puppy walkers.

Chaos, Charlie and Callie on their way to HQ to meet their new puppy walkers
Chaos, Charlie and Callie with their new walkers.
Chaos with Colin
Charlie with Paul
Callie with Abby
Well this is the 3rd litter that I have bred and raised at home and whilst it has been hard work I am excited about seeing the C litter grow and develop.  I still find it an incredibly moving and awe inspiring experience seeing mother nature in action and how the mother just instinctively knows what to do in delivering and raising her pups. I am extremely proud of having raised this litter at the same time as instructing a 13 week Initial Police dog course and also training and turning Argo into a Police dog.
I have also developed and looked after the other pups and walkers but I am aware they haven't received the support that I would have wanted to give them with all that has been going on.
Most of all I would like to thank my wife Diane who has put up with an incredible amount of disruption and has helped me to raise the litter.
Hopefully we can enjoy some time off together before the next project instructing the January Initial Police dog course and seeing the rest of our pups develop, although this week I will be visiting all the C litter pups to make sure all is ok.

Hope you all have a great Xmas and new year.
Bye for now.

Thursday 18 December 2014

The remainder of the A litter and Grommit graduate as operational police dogs

In June 2013 I was proud to breed Devon and Cornwall Police’s first ever litter of 7 German Shepherd dogs  our A litter.  This year 2014 was the year that we hoped they would all become Operational Police dogs.

Unfortunately I released Anya from the program as I felt she was too small in stature to be a Police dog and found her a lovely home in Plymouth where she is very happy. She is pictured here with her new owner  Jane

In July this year Axel and Arry qualified as Operational Police dogs and I had the privilege of training them. They are pictured here with their handlers Mark and Axel on the left and Arry and Carla on the right.

In September this year I had the privilege of taking the September Initial Police dog course which consisted of  Grommit,  and Ash, Annie and Argo  from the A litter. We are all pictured here at the start of the course in that order.

Argo was the course spare dog because he had not done particularly well on his courage tests and although I didn’t think he was bold enough to be a Police dog I had a suspicion that with a handler he trusted he might still make the grade. I had nothing to lose and he enjoyed the work and I enjoyed working him on the course.

Ava was the seventh member of the litter and she was allocated to Steve Budd a Dorset Police dog handler whose dog had retired and he needed a replacement Police dog. They attended their Initial Police dog course at the Surrey Police dog training school at the same time as our course.

Steve is pictured here with his old Police dog just about to take possession of Ava from her puppy walkers Ed and Lowri to go on his course in Surrey.

There were so many memories on our course and I could probably devote an album with all the things we got up too. At the same time that I was running the course Ruby the mother of our A litter ( now 18 months old ) had her second litter of pups the C litter.  Trying to run an Initial Police dog course and raise the C litter has been extremely challenging and not something I would try to do again but we got there.

Also during the course I went over to Germany to collect our new brood bitch Qwendi which is the subject of a previous blog.

The highlight of the course for me was attending the funeral of our puppy walker Ken who with his wife Lin had puppy walked Boris. Along with Boris the course dogs formed a guard of honour for Ken and it was a proud moment giving him a fitting send off.

Police dog Instructor Julian Jones from Gwent Police dog section was invited to come and assess our Initial Police dog course on December 1st and 2nd. We always invite an outside assessor to make sure our standards are open to scrutiny.

The dogs are assessed on a wide range of different skills ranging from Obedience, agility, tracking and searching for outstanding offenders and missing persons, searching for stolen and lost property, dealing with Violent criminals or rowdy crowds, and their temperament is also assessed to make sure they are safe and reliable working in and around the public . Although it is not part of the assessment we also train our dogs to be reliable in and around livestock for obvious reasons.

Annie and Lee are pictured here being given a scenario where a criminal has burgled a house and made off from the scene. Lee and Annie had to determine the direction he had gone off in and to track him down recovering any property discarded or hidden on the way.

Grommit and Argo dealing with violent crowds who could be accused of over acting.

Here is Grommit dealing confidently with a gunman.

Argo watching the criminal he has just found hiding in bushes about to be searched by his handler.

The criminal makes a run for it big mistake with Argo about to apprehend him.

Argo having to remain in the down position for 5 minutes until his handler comes back to him. What a handsome dog.

The next two pictures show wonderful obedience and focus from Ash to her handler Ben.

Ash being walked through Exeter city centre showing confidence and excellent temperament.

Our assessor Julian enjoying a coffee with all the handlers and dogs in Exeter city centre as he debriefs and informs everyone that they have all passed their assessments with flying colours. He was particularly impressed at the excellent behaviour of all the dogs and their wonderful temperaments.

The next day was spent preparing for our passing out parade on Thursday 4th December when family, friends and puppy walkers attend a short demonstration and presentation of certificates and photographs with their dogs.

Here is the course of September 2014 just before going out to put on our display. From left to right Annie and Lee Exeter, Ash and Ben Camborne, Argo and me, Grommit and Alan Exeter.

The next 4 pictures show the course doing some group agility and obedience for the guests before marching off to prepare for their criminal work display.

Grommit stopping a criminal running away.

Ash performing a perfect stand- off exercise. The stand off is where the criminal gives himself up and stops running. The dog is trained to keep him there until the handler arrives and will bite if he attempts to run again.

Annie disarming the criminal armed with a stick.

Argo disarming the gunman. The criminals entered into the spirit of Xmas wearing the appropriate costumes.

Annie with her new family.

Ash with her new family

Here are all the dogs which included Ava and Steve from Dorset together with all of their puppy walking families. We were particularly grateful to Steve coming especially from Dorset to share our day.

The most important people in our programme are the puppy walkers who create the foundation for the puppies future. Pictured here from left to right are: Annie Miller with police dog Ash and Ben, Mel and Phil Rooks either side of Police dog Grommit and Alan, Lyn Parlour on the left of me and police dog Argo, Susanne Coffin and Ollie Avercrombie either side of police dog Annie and Lee and finally far right Lowri and Ed on the right of police dog Ava and Steve from Dorset.

I found the day very emotional because Argo has come such a long way in the last 3 months having previously been lacking in confidence and boldness.  It also reinforces my belief of what can be achieved with any dog if he trusts and has a strong bond with his handler. He may still find the job of being a Police dog sometimes a bit scary but he loves to work and was born to work. I will always treasure my time with him on the course and we had a great time together.

Since the display he has been allocated to his new handler Mandy Gornicki from Avon and Somerset dog section. They are pictured here getting to know each other before their 2 week re-handling course in January 2015.

So there we are another course over and our young dogs just about to go out and learn their trade in an uncertain and sometimes dangerous world.  All the handlers know that they need to protect and look after their dogs in these early stages as they are still very immature and need lots of support.

As I write this blog 4 of my C litter have left me to go to their new puppy walkers and the other 3 go on Friday. Its then time to catch up on all of my outstanding admin and prepare for the January 2015 Initial Police dog course which I will be taking with our B litter dogs and Yogi.

See you soon have a good Xmas and happy new year.

Paul Glennon