Wednesday 5 August 2015

Devastating news about police pup Gizzy (Zak) and my last training session before my visit to Germany next week

Police puppy dog gizzy sitting on grass
--> Police pup Gizzy
Our 3 litter brothers Elvis, Duke and Gizzy all had their hips x-rayed this week prior to starting their initial police dog course in September this year. Duke has been allocated to Susan Hillier from Dorset police, Elvis has been allocated to Amanda Swain from Cornwall and Gizzy (renamed Zak) had been with his new handler Lee Adamson from North Devon for 5 months already.

Unfortunately Gizzy failed his hip x-rays and has had to be rehomed and released from the program. I had been so impressed with Gizzy that I had earmarked him as a future stud dog, which sadly will not now happen.

Lee is obviously devastated and on Friday took him to his new home in Oxfordshire. He has already settled in with several acres of land and a large pond to give him plenty of exercise.

It is now my responsibility to find Lee a new dog and if I am not able to do that I will have to allocate him our brood bitch Bebe who I have no doubt will make an outstanding police dog.

Black police puppy bebe in garden

I had arranged to go to Germany next week to collect a dog for our 4th handler on the course Chris Curnow who works Ashburton. I will now be looking at several other dogs in Germany because I do not want to have to use Bebe unless I can avoid it. Here is a short video of Bebe in the river in Plymouth 2 weeks ago.

On Sunday I took my last puppy class with Rika, Memphis and Flynn before my trip to Germany.

they are all progressing really well. This week we did some more article searching, tracking, puppy obedience and puppy agility. Pictured in the middle is Flynn with Nigel and Sue who are very kindly looking after him while his puppy walkers are away on holiday.

It was a really warm day and so we kept in the shade and kept it short. Foolishly I decided to lie on my back to get a picture of Rika coming down one of the ramps and as she hurtled towards my crown jewels I realised that Rob was in no hurry to stop this collision from occurring.

Here are some more photos of the session.

Phil showing his customary proud dad look with Memphis performing a perfect sit and down.

Rob looking like he is giving Rika a telling off but getting a lovely attentive sit from Rika and rewarding a nice down.

Here is Flynn giving me a lovely down position.

Nigel working Flynn nicely down the ramp.

Rika is pictured here showing exceptional concentration and determination on her tracking exercise.

We then did some puppy tugging in the dog school with a soft cuddly toy on a rope. This was to work on the leave on command, which is a very important exercise for a police dog.

All the dogs performed this beautifully. Here is Rob demonstrating a perfect leave with Rika and she is immediately rewarded, by allowing the game to resume.

Rob and Rikka playing games

I’ve included 2 photos I took which just show the affinity the handlers have for their dogs.

Puppy walker and puppy hugging after some training

puppy walker on the floor hugging puppy, puppy wagging tail

 then it was time for one more photo before we went for a debrief and coffee.

Group photo of puppy walkers and puppies

When you consider that these pups have over a year before they are allocated to their handlers and I am very excited at the standard they could achieve.

Over exercising young German shepherd dogs should be avoided

Margaret McCoubrey who follows us on Twitter quite rightly raised the issue of it not being a good thing for young German shepherd dogs to be taking part in agility. We whole-heartedly endorse that opinion and even on our initial police dog courses we would not advocate doing the full heights and jumps until they are 18 months old.

We find that ramps and tunnels as long as they are properly controlled do develop confidence building and problem solving skills in the young pups. They are just a small part of the on-going development involved in introducing the pups to lots of new situations and experiences.

Here a few photos of a very young Yogi tackling the low walkway with no difficulty this is something the older dogs have difficulty with if not introduced at an early age because it is much easier when they are smaller and have no fear.

The young German shepherd skeleton is very delicate and so long walks or romping with other dogs is not allowed or encouraged. Indeed we do not allow our pups to go into homes where there are other dogs unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Lots of regular one on one play sessions to develop the bond and build trust are encouraged and lots of visits to as many different locations and places as possible. There is no need to take young dogs on long walks.

I will be reporting back on my Germany trip on my return. Billy has gone to stay with police sergeant Steve Walker and his family in Plymouth while I am away. They are interested in becoming puppy walkers and this is great opportunity to see how they get on.

I thought I would finish by showing you are short video of Billy who I introduced to the paddling pool at the weekend. As cute as he is you can see he quickly decided he owned it and tried to keep Qwendi out of it. The evidence is there for all to see a natural police dog in the making but discipline and control will need to be maintained to prevent him from getting into trouble in the future (bless him).

See you next time from Qwendi and I.

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