Friday 17 April 2015

The C litter enjoy their day at Saundcroft Farm

On Sunday we took the C litter down to Saundercroft farm as part of their puppy development programme which is one of my favourite visits. We are very lucky that one of our Police dog handlers Andi Darbey lives next to Saundercroft farm which is owned by her mum and they kindly allow all of the puppies coming through our programme to visit and socialise with all of the different animals.

This is a vitally important part of their development because as Police dogs they will need to be able to work in amongst livestock without being distracted when they are searching or tracking for criminals or missing vulnerable persons.
OK, so this is the famous farm.
We all started our tour in the main yard before making our way to the sheep and lambs in the first field. Most of the pups were just very inquisitive but a couple were a bit nervous and slightly fearful of them.
Are they being fed?
You can see Charlie, Callie and Chaos in and if you look carefully Charlie on the left and Chaos far right are both confidently looking at the sheep but Callie in the centre is showing her hackles and her body language is communicating some uncertainty and defensive aggression.

Out of view is Cosmic who was very fearful and took flight away from the sheep to start with.

Within 5 minutes all of the dogs were comfortable and relaxed in their presence and soon after that they became bored and not interested in the sheep. In other words they were neutral to the sheep which is the objective we wanted to achieve.

I have included a number of photo’s of this part of the visit because it demonstrates how to achieve the objective to get the dogs and animals used to each other in a sensible and gradual manner. Andi and her partner played the major part in this by feeding the sheep and integrating the dogs while they did this.

Remarkably the dogs effectively were sharing and joining in eating with the sheep and more importantly were gaining confidence, not seeing them as a threat and eventually became bored with them and wanted to move on.
They are being fed, I thought so
Think I may get away with trying some
You get the food, I'll out stare this one
Good plan
Is the food all gone?
I'll just check
The pictures above show Andi working her magic and the pups enjoying their experience.
Foods gone, lets go and see Jack

The above shows the pups now bored and looking for new experiences or mischief to get into.

Everyone then took it in turns to meet rescue pony Jack.
Hi Jack, got any food?
I wonder if Jack's food tastes better?... I tried it earlier mate, what can I say I'm airing my tongue!

Then it was into the barn to meet the young cows.
Straw! THAT's not food!
It's a cow what more can I tell you!
Have you got any food?
Then it was time to meet the very large horses.

Wow you're tall, got any food?
OK, Please
Ha, new it... wheres mine?
In between all of this Annie took the opportunity to give Callie some agility and development training on a large pile of posts.
I'm King of the castle and you're the dirty...
Lastly it was my favourite meeting the chickens and the rooster.

more chickens
yep, I've seen the chickens...

Finally a group photo of the pups with Jack our rescue pony and the hand reared and very tame sheep Al who thinks he is a human.
Group photo, is Jack and Al joining us. Are they to be Police trained as well?
Another very enjoyable day for all concerned.

Bye for now Paul

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