Friday 18 September 2015

A busy week with the start of the initial police dog course, the introduction of 4 new puppies and our September 2015 Course puppies pay a visit to the Farm

On Monday 7th September 2015 the General Purpose Initial Police Dog course commenced with the dog teams pictured above. From Left to right are Amanda with Elvis, Sue with Bebe, Graham with Harry, and Lee with Daz.  Graham is also the course instructor whilst at the same time is training Harry who he puppy walked. Should Harry be successful he will be allocated to his new handler Chris Curnow who is unable to attend the course because of other commitments.
AMANDA AND JET ( pictured above ) Amanda is a first time handler who has been trying to get onto the dog section for some time and has finally realised her ambitions and is pictured here with her new dog Jet ( Formerly Elvis) She will be serving with Jet in Camborne. Jet was puppy walked by Susannah Coffin and her husband Kevin. He is from our puppy program and was bred by one of our breeders John Smith of Limasmythe German shepherds.
SUE AND BEBE ( pictured above ) Sue is an experienced handler from Dorset dog section whose last dog Monty came from our puppy scheme and has been very successful. Sue will be serving in Dorset with her new dog Bebe who is from our B litter.

We had intended to use Bebe as a future brood bitch but decided against that because her litter brother Brodie was born with very bad hips. Bebe herself has excellent hips. Bebe was puppy walked by Chris and Donna Highton and their boys Tom and Jake. Tom recently celebrated graduating as a Police officer in Avon and Somerset and so we are hoping that Bebe can make it a Police double.
GRAHAM AND HARRY (pictured above ) Graham is our course instructor and is taking his first General Purpose Initial Police dog course. He is also going to be handling and training Harry who he has puppy walked with his family.  Harry is from our puppy program and was bred by another of our breeders Tony Cronin Rafpol German shepherds in Bridgend.

As mentioned above should Harry pass the course he will be allocated to his new handler Chris Curnow who is unable to attend the course because of other commitments and they will complete a short re-handling course before being posted to Ashburton.
LEE AND DAZ (pictured above) Lee is an experienced handler who works in North Devon. His current dog Vinny has been a very successful general purpose police dog and is also a drug search dog. Vinny will continue to work as a drugs dog. Daz is a 2 year old dog recently imported from Holland by Tony Cronin.

So there you have it all the runners and riders and as the course progresses I will keep you up to date as to how they are all getting on. I went out with the course on Wednesday last week 3 days into the course and they all looked to be doing very well.

For those of you new to the blog or who do not know about police dogs the course that the dogs will be undergoing is a 13 week course and is called a General Purpose Police Dog course. The teams will be trained to track and search for criminals who have made off from the scene of a crime, track and search for missing vunerable persons, deal with violent criminals and disorderly crowds, develop their obedience, control and agility, search for outstanding items of property and perform high visibility reassurance foot patrols.

Here are a few pictures I took on my day with the course.

The above shows how powerful these dogs are when tracking after an offender who has made off. You can see Amanda hanging on with all of her strength.
The above shows Bebe tracking with Sue notice the low nose and total concentration from Bebe as she hunts down her Quarry.
The above shows Graham doing an impression of Usain Bolt about to sprint past Harry for some reason.
The above shows Graham about to lay a trail for one of the dogs and seems to be doing a very good impression of a German goose step as he does it.
The above shows Sue and Bebe starting to develop their sit and focus work at the beginning of their obedience training. I like Graham’s idea of using the wooden wall to prevent a crooked sit.
The above shows Daz already giving Lee a lovely focus look with Lee encouraging him nicely.
The above shows Harry barking to tell his handler Graham that he has found the criminal on a person search.
The above shows Harry barking to tell his handler Graham that he has found the criminal on a person search.
The above shows Bebe already showing she has a very determined attack if required.

Our experience with German Shepherds and Malinois cross bred dogs

With our puppy program we are able to obtain and provide enough German Shepherd dogs for all of our general purpose police dog handlers. We have tried other breeds in particular the Malinois who is a very athletic hardy determined breed but we have concluded that the German Shepherd is the best breed for us.

Having said that a lot of forces use the Malinois because of their very robust and athletic build. They do not tend to have the same health issues as the German shepherd.  In Devon and Cornwall because most of our work is tracking after offenders and because we have found the German Shepherd to be the better operational dog for that kind of work we have stuck with the German Shepherd.

However several forces have had success with crossing the German shepherd with the Malinois and when I heard about a litter of German Shepherd cross Malinois pups in Gloucestershire I decided to go and take a look.

Pictured above is the breeder Drew taking his litter of 10 pups aged 7 weeks old pups out for a walk in his fields.
Shark and Dragon I ask you, do I live in the sea and can he breath fire?
I spent time watching and working with the Father a Belgian Malinois called Dragon and the mother a German Shepherd bitch called Shark and I was very impressed with both dogs who have worked with Drew on poaching patrols in South Africa.

I assessed the litter of 10 pups and selected 2 males which I brought back to our house last Thursday where they were collected by their new puppy walkers Eamon Rogers and his daughter Jessica and Chris Highton and his wife Donna and son Tom.
Eamon pictured above on the left with Jessica has named his pup Dexter and Chris, Tom and Donna on the right have named their pup Riggs.

We had some time enjoying them in the garden.
Hi, I'm Riggs and it wasn't me ok?

Hi, I'm Dexter. I didn't honest!
Phew, think we got away with that.
Being cute is exhausting

I was so impressed with the 2 pups that I rang Drew to enquire about the availability of 2 more pups from the litter. Having told him which 2 I would like I met him after our puppy class on Sunday and collected 2 more boys.

It was back to our house again to meet their new puppy walkers Angie and Graham Collins and Susannah Coffin.
Cold, wet, thought the weather down here was supposed to be better!
Unfortunately the weather was atrocious and so we were only able to take a quick photo of the drowned walkers and the shivering pups. Susannah on the left with Cato and Graham on the right with Reggie
The above shows the boys having a quick play before going to their new homes.

Sunday 13 September 2015, Memphis, Flynn, Rika, Billy and Lenny all venture down to Saundercroft farm

One of my favourite visits with the pups is our day out at Saundercroft farm to meet and socialise with all of the animals. We all met at HQ Middlemoor at 11am where we got all of our 5 pups out on the sports field to get them all to relax and be comfortable with each other and to iron out any spats or arguments before going off to the farm.
On arrival everyone was keen to get going to our first port of call the sheep.

As always on seeing the sheep one or two were not too sure barking and showing hackles but after being rewarded for sitting with titbits the pups became bored and got used to the sheep. It also helps when one of the sheep has been hand reared and thinks he is a person and is not afraid of the dogs. That sheep is called ‘AL’

Al is the all white sheep next to Andi in the above picture.
Next it was off to the calves in the stables and what was interesting was that the dogs were more unsure of the calves than they were with the cows.

Next it was time to meet Jack the pony and all the dogs enjoyed meeting him particularly Lenny.
Everyone then met the cows and no-one seemed at all worried by the cows.

Video: We have cows!

Next we met some of the horses.

Finally everyones favourite the chickens which Billy seemed more excited than anyone to meet.
Chickens, uhmmm. Chicken pie or chicken burger?
Ohh, they've still got their feathers on!

Could I...?

No... they're funny things really, walking on two legs and their heads jerking to and fro
Then at the end of a really enjoyable day we all got together for a group photo including Al the sheep and Jack the pony.

My thanks to Andi and Simon for allowing us to come to the farm and for helping us to introduce the dogs to the animals.

Socialising and being at ease in and around the animals is very important not just because it makes the dogs better and more well behaved members of society but it also means when working as Police dogs they are not distracted when tracking and searching across fields where there are livestock.

So there you have it an action packed couple of weeks.  I am now off for a week’s holiday after instructing on the police dog refresher course all this week.
From Qwendi, Lenny and me see you next time. Paul.

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