Monday 7 March 2016

Our Initial police dog course are over halfway through their course.

Pictured above from left to right are Andy with Comet, James with Cosmic, Tim with Cagney and Mark with Chaos. The dogs have just completed week 7 of the 13 week course and are all doing very well.

Charlie pictured here is our spare dog and we are fairly confident that she will be allocated to a new handler who will be joining the course on Monday 21st of March 2016. We are continuing to train her so that she will not be losing ground on the others. She missed this week’s training because she came into season last week.

This week Colin who puppy walked Chaos came out for the day to see how he is getting on. He is pictured here being reunited with Chaos again for the first time since he handed him over to his handler Mark  in early January.
Colin and Chaos

Colin then Joined Mark and Chaos who were set the task of tracking down a dubious character called Andy. Chaos quickly set off across open country towing his handler Mark behind him

before locating Andy hiding in bushes.
Andy, Mark, Colin and Chaos are all pictured together after Chaos’s successful track.
Tracking is the most important exercise there is for an operational Police dog and accounts for around 85% of our work. The dogs are taught to follow the ground scent left by an offender or missing person and to ignore other persons scents as they track them down.

James is the only novice handler on the course and he is pictured here practising his tracking line handling skills with Tim pretending to be the dog.
Having perfected his skills he is pictured here putting his skills to good use as he and his dog Cosmic set off to see if they could locate the criminal who had made off from a simulated crime scene 25 minutes previously.
James is then pictured lifting Cosmic over the fence after

Cosmic had indicated that is where the offender had gone.
Finally the offender is located hiding by Cosmic and is barking at him to tell his handler he is the offender he has been following.
Puppy walkers Terry and Jill also recently came out to see how their dog Cagney was getting on during the course. They attended with their new pup Ronnie and are pictured here with Tim and Cagney.
We encourage all of our puppy walkers to come out and spend a day seeing how their pups are getting on during the course. Terry and Jill are seen here watching Tim and Cagney set off on a track.
On the same day Roxy and Susanne also came out to do some training. They are pictured here with Jill and Ronnie.
Roxy and Ronnie are now 6 months old and are 2 of our recent German imports. Their other 2 siblings Roz and Rocky were unable to make the session. Roxy and Ronnie enjoyed their day and are pictured here with all of the Initial course dogs.
Note what wonderful temperaments all the dogs have with no squabbling or aggression.

A very important part of the course is the obedience and focus work that we do. I am not a fan of the word obedience as it paints a picture of having to comply whether they like it or not. When in reality they want to work with their handlers and they love the play that is involved.

Here are the group practising their sit and focus

and their down stays.

Andy and Comet are pictured here practising their heelwork.
James is practising his distance control with Cosmic.
 Mark is pictured doing some individual focus work.

This week we took all of the teams into Exeter city centre to practise their environmental heelwork. Thanks to all of the work undertaken by our puppy walkers the dogs are well used to this sort of environment.

Pictured here are Tim and Cagney walking through the crowds.
Here we all are enjoying a coffee while the dogs gain experience of the busy environment and relaxing together.

Chaos decided he wanted to enjoy the coffee also.
He is also pictured meeting some People passing by.
Cagney and Tim certainly are not finding the experience particularly stressful.

A walk through Exeter City Centre

Then it was time to walk back through the City centre to our van after a lovely afternoon.
We do a lot of these sessions because it is an excellent way of keeping the dogs calm and well balanced. It is very important that our dogs realise that not everyone they meet is a bad guy.

Here are a few action shots of the dogs doing their favourite exercise criminal work. Cosmic is pictured here showing that he probably needs a flying license.
Mark seems to be enjoying this attack more than Chaos is.
Chaos is performing an exercise we call a stand-off. The criminal has stopped running and Chaos is making sure he stays where he is.
During the course we have trained the dogs to search outside areas such as woodland for criminals and vulnerable missing persons. It is very important that the dog does not show any aggression unless he/she is attacked and should alert his/her handler that he/she has located the person by barking.
Chaos is pictured here having located Andy in the woods.
Comet is pictured having located me up a ladder.
 Here are Cagney and Tim relaxing after locating their missing person.
During the course I have to find time to do the training for all the other pups in the puppy program. Some come out on the course for their training but I do the majority on a Sunday. Our Mali/ GSD crosses are pictured here a couple of weeks ago training for their part in the forthcoming Devon county show.
The front two are Cato on the left and Reggie on the right. At the rear are Riggs on the left and Dexter on the right.

On the same day I assessed all of our older pups to see whether they are bold enough to become Police dogs. They are all pictured here from left to right are Jacque, Lenny, Memphis, Rika, Flynn and Billy.
I already have a good idea how bold the pups are having watched them grow up and from what the puppy walkers tell me. On Sunday the first test involved walking the pup through a wood when a strange man suddenly jumps out from behind a tree. All of the dogs are taken by surprise but I am interested to see how quickly the pup recovers once he/she realises the person poses no threat.
Flynn is pictured here very sensibly weighing up the situation.
The second test involves walking the pup through the wood and as they pass what looks like a pile of flowerpots lying on the floor. The flowerpot man is then suddenly hoisted into the air on a line.  Again we want to see how quickly the pup recovers once it works out what it is. Rika as you can see from the picture is not worried and tries to tear the flowerpot man out of the tree.
She is going to be a very strong character. All of the dogs did well on the tests.

We also have to take into account that what one dog sees as a threat another dog might not and therefore is not going to react. Here is my potential brood bitch reacting to a strange toy dog I placed in my garden.
Here is my 10 month old clown Lenny deciding there was only one thing to do and that was to charge over and pick him up.

New pups from Germany

Next week I will be going over to Germany to collect our 3 new German pups now aged 14 weeks old. They are pictured here from left to right Bedwyr, Bevan, and Berwyn.
I am still short of a puppy walker due to one of our intended walkers withdrawing their interest.  Anyone interested can ring me on 07494407037 for further information.

Well there you have it I will report back in 5 weeks on how the dogs get on with their final assessments on the Initial Police dog course.

I will leave you with a picture of Lenny my 10 month old German import and our potential brood bitch Sasha. I am looking out for a potential stud dog for Sasha. Lenny seems to be saying I am your man.
Bye for now Paul

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