Wednesday 1 April 2015

The C litter prepare for their support role at the Devon County Show

Here we all are on our last training day after having just finished some tracking training and some agility and obedience training in preparation for the forthcoming Devon county show.
We then went from HQ to our training buildings in Exmouth to see how confident they all were on all of the various shiny floors, stairs and their ability to cope with loud and unusual noises.

We started preparing for the county show several weeks ago. We will be supporting the Devon and Cornwall Police dog display team.
All 7 of the C litter came along to the training session and we are all pictured here getting ready for our tracking sessions which we always do at the start of every training sessions.

For those of you who do not know what tracking is I will explain. Tracking is the following of the trail left by a person walking across the ground. As a person walks or runs away from the scene of a crime or a missing person walks off from an area they leave an individual trail made up of their footprints on the ground and their own individual smell. We train the dog to follow this invisible trail. 

We start by laying a small trail of food in the footprints of a person who walks off. Once the dog becomes proficient at this we gradually phase out the food and the dog is rewarded for finding the person who has walked off with his/her toy. We start the training on grass and gradually over time we progress to tracking on more difficult surfaces like tarmac and concrete.

Pictured here are 3 of the teams doing their tracking training. 
Cosmic and Linsay
Comet and Mark
Callie and Annie
After the tracking training the teams make their way very excitedly towards the agility training area.
Everyone busily practising their skills and more importantly building the confidence and sense of achievement in our young pups.
Obviously at their young age we do not do any actual jumping as it is not good for their growing skeletons and joints. We have been getting them used to going over ramps and through tunnels. We have also been working on their control exercises such as the sit, down, stays and the speak (bark) on command which are all useful skills in their role as a Police dog.

Here are some pictures of the teams practising their agility exercises.
Mel  guiding Copper over the ramp
Linsay doing the same with Cosmic
Noel Gallagher lookalike Paul doing the same with Charlie
Cagney in the tunnel
Jill guiding Cagney over the walkway
Colin doing the same with Chaos
We all them made our way to Exmouth where we have a very large disused building complex where we can develop the pups on all of the various floors and unusual stairs again building the confidence in our pups. I also used the opportunity to assess their ability to deal with some loud and unusual noises. Most of the pups were very confident and unfazed by anything but a couple were not so confident and so I will be looking to make sure that they receive additional support and confidence building routines in this very important development period in their young lives.

The picture below show some of the pups on various floors and stairs.

We also assess their reaction to some loud and unusual noises such as the overhead runners on the climbing ropes in the gymnasium and a large metal pole dropped behind them.  We are not worried if the pups are initially slightly flighty but we do expect them to recover and investigate the noise in their own time.

I thought I would finish by showing we are not always fair weather handlers as pictured here are some of our hardy walkers practising several weeks ago in the pouring rain.
Dawn and Comet on the walkway
The group getting on with the task
The below shows how much 9 month old Qwendi  has grown since I brought her back from Germany aged 4 months last year. She is progressing really well and I am really hopeful that she will one day be our latest brood bitch for the force.

Next week I will give you the latest update on Brodie who is at the St David’s veterinary practise this week undergoing his second hip replacement.

Bye for now. Paul

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