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

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