Monday 13 July 2015

Billy arrives to join the September 2016 Police pup intake. Meanwhile Police pup Harry and some of the C litter struggle to impress.

Last Tuesday I traveled up to our breeder John Smith in Leicestershire to collect Billy aged 9 weeks to join our Police puppy programme for our September 2016 intake.
"I'm Billy, not doing anything wrong, just lying here"

We already have 3 other pups Flynn, Memphis and Rika for that course who you will have seen in my last blog.

Poor Billy has not had the best of starts as he was one of 2 pups in his litter (both boys) but sadly his brother died of an infection when only 2 weeks old. This meant that Billy was then raised by his mother as the only pup and was deprived of interaction with pups of his own age.

We know from experience this can cause issues with character development. As luck would have it John also had a second litter of pups 1 week younger than Billy. John placed Billy with this litter of 7 pups when he was 5 weeks old. He was accepted by the rest of this litter and has been with them for the last 4 weeks.

From my assessment of Billy it was obvious he was a very outgoing and confident pup with a strong affinity with people.  This is not surprising because once he lost his brother, Billy got lots of extra attention and cuddles from John’s wife Chrissie and their assistant Emma.

As soon as I started the journey back to my house it was obvious that Billy despite being alongside me in the van was very stressed. He cried all the way back which is not something I normally experience with John’s pups. He then had a very restless and stressful noisy night.

Luckily my 12 month old bitch Qwendi sensed that all was not well and instinctively seemed to mother Billy and he was very definitely reassured by her presence. Here are a few photo’s of the two of them.
"It's ok, just look at the camera"
"That's right stare right at the camera, give'em cute"
"Enough already..., yer Billy give'iem with the tongue"

You can see from video 1 what a lovely tolerant bitch Qwendi is showing no aggression when Billy tries to steal her toy.

Normally when I collect a single pup I place them straight with their new puppy walkers before they get used to me  but in this case I decided to keep Billy just to keep an eye on him and give him the best possible start.

In the short time I have had him he has settled well and seems confident with everything he has encountered. He loves meeting people but he is quite aggressively vocal on seeing other dogs. It will be interesting to see how he reacts when he meets the other pups from his intake next Sunday at his first puppy development class.

Here are a few more photo’s of his time with me so far. I let him settle for a few days then it was off to meet the vet.
"Like this loads of attention"
"Whaaat?... Where's this vet person then?"
"Oh there you are... gently please I've had a hard morning"
I introduced him to the lawnmower and the hoover by using Qwendi who is not bothered by either.  A scattering of titbits near both appliances took his mind off the noise as he competed with Qwendi for the titbits.
"Lawn mower yer yer yer... got it, yummy"
"Hoover yep... ohh more food... mine"
It is my intention to take a close look at Billy and his relationship on meeting other dogs before I place him with his new puppy walking family next week after his first training session.
"Gosh this is hard work... I've been standing still for ages... "

With his thick long coat grooming is going to be a regular feature for Billy.
He is very quick across the ground when he hears his food bowl rattle.
"Is it lunch time yet?..."
He enjoyed his visit to Exeter city centre watching the world go by.
"I could get used to this... food"
He enjoyed his ride in the wheelbarrow
"Can I have a Cheeseburger and chips please..."
Watch out for future blogs, labelled Billy, to see how he gets on.

Police pup Harry and C litter pups, Cagney and Cosmic struggle on their training day

The remainder of the C litter and Police pup Harry are pictured here on our development training day last week.
Those of you who follow the blog will know that we recently released Callie and Copper ( C litter) from the Police puppy program  due to their lack of size. I have had doubts about several other pups in the C litter which was why I purchased Police pup Harry from breeder Tony Cronin in Bridgend at the age of nearly 5 months to make sure we had enough pups for our January 2016 Initial Police dog course.

Chaos ( pictured 1st left) and Comet ( pictured 4th left) have been the stand out dogs in the C litter from the start and look to be natural Police dogs in the making. Cosmic (2nd left ) has been a very enthusiastic happy pup but there have been issues around his general boldness. The same can be said for Charlie ( 3rd left) but she has been improving steadily in relation to her confidence. Cagney (5th from left) has lacked determination in her work but has been confident and well balanced. Harry far right has a really strong work ethic but is a clingy pup who struggles to deal with some shiny floors and stairs.

The first part of the training session assessed the determination of the pups to search in an overgrown area for hidden articles.
"That's right just watch me struggle, next time please keep your camera in your pocket..."

Charlie is pictured here emerging with a camera she has located. They were also assessed on their tenacity in playing tug on a large bite bar.
"Mine I think you'll find..."
Chaos is pictured here showing real determination to win the bite bar.

The second part of the session was set up specifically to look at how the pups coped with lots of shiny floor surfaces, stairs and to see how they coped with lots of loud and sometimes unusual noises. Basically we were looking at their boldness. As expected Chaos and Comet were extremely determined and tenacious in the first session and were not fazed by any of the stimuli in the second session and actually became very excited by all of the noise and bedlam.
"I can see him... now don't slow me down"
"Let me go... give me my toy... meanie"
Comet is pictured here chasing me into the building and then barking confidently at me for his reward.
"Its a metal lid, And..."

Comet not in the slightest bit fazed with noisy hot plate lids being thrown around on the concrete floor.

Charlie performed well on the first session and generally coped well on the second session but she was not particularly bold around the industrial hoover.
"Swinging ropes oow, And... "

Looking relaxed on the shiny floors and not fazed with the very loud  noise of the overhead runners  above the ropes.

Cagney lacked commitment on the 1st session and was a little bit stressed by the second part of the assessment. Cosmic wasn’t particularly determined on the first session and although not particularly stressed by part 2 he clearly doesn’t relish the rough and tumble and we may just have to accept he is basically too nice!

I would like to pay a special mention to Lindsay pictured here on the right with Cosmic on our last training day. ( Dawn and Comet are on the left)
"COWS? ..."
Lindsay has had a long battle with Crohn’s  disease and despite having only recently undergone major surgery she came up to Exeter with her dad Trevor for our training session.

Trevor handled Cosmic for Lindsay and as you can see here he couldn’t be trying any harder to get Cosmic to perform well on the tugging game. He looks as though he is about to bite the canvas roll himself to show Cosmic how to do it.
"OK, ok but it tastes nasty... yukky..."
Finally Harry who was fairly clingy to Graham his puppy walker on the searching exercise but was determined on the game involving the bite bar. In part 2 he was not particularly happy on some of the floor surfaces and the stairs.
"Yep, I'm the dog, I can do this, this jaw is a biting JAW..."
Biting is not a problem for Harry.

I will be having Harry, Cagney and Cosmic out with me individually over the next 2 weeks to assess whether further development is likely to result in any significant improvement and ultimately whether they remain in the program. Should they not improve sufficiently the puppy walkers have expressed a desire to keep their pups should they be released.

Whether the pups go on to make Police dogs or not I am still very proud of the fact that they all have wonderful temperaments and would fit into any type of home and are dogs anyone would be proud of.

I will keep you all posted as to how they all get on. 

See you next time. Paul

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