Thursday 19 May 2016

A big update: Sacha, a course, failed hips, Devon County show and a fun day competition

Sasha Off On Her Hols Before Her Litter Is Due In Just Over A Weeks Time
Rika And Lenny Start Their Initial Police Dog Course
Rocky, Roz And Roxy All Have To Be Released Having Failed Their Hip Xrays
Latest Pups Bevan, Bob And Bernie Practise For The Devon County Show
Billy, Flynn, Dexter, Cato & Jacque Take Part In A Fun Day Competition

Sasha Off On Her Hols Before Her Litter Is Due In Just Over A Weeks Time

After successfully completing the 3 month Initial Police dog course and after a hectic year I decided it was time for a short break for my wife Di and I.  We had decided on a week in Portugal but having had it confirmed  that our brood bitch Sasha was pregnant we didn’t want to cause her any unnecessary stress by leaving her in kennels and so we took Sasha off to Cornwall for a short dog friendly holiday.
We could only take 1 dog and so Lenny and Bevan stayed with 2 of our regular puppy walkers Lindsay Lane-Lobb and Colin Belsher. They had a great time and I am grateful for their help as always. Here they all are before we left for our holiday. Sasha, Bevan and Lenny.

Sasha absolutely loved the individual attention and the holiday. We stayed at the lovely Broom Parc  an imposing house made famous by the TV drama The Camomile lawn.

The views over the Roseland peninsula were spectacular and the coastal walks excellent.

During our stay we visited the Eden Project

and the beautiful village of St Mawes.

The Local pubs were dog friendly and the breakfast at Broom Parc was fantastic setting us up for the day. Unfortunately after 3 days it was time to leave.

I would thoroughly recommend Broom Parc to anyone whether taking a dog or not.

Sasha’s litter is due around the 29th of May and she is already seeking out nesting sites in our garden. The problem is Lenny and Bevan like to follow her to see if she has a secret bone buried no doubt.
Sasha now has individual walks twice a day to keep her fit and active. She is seen here engaged on her favourite game searching for her toy.

Although I am still trying to find a suitable puppy walker for Bevan he is having a great time with Lenny and they are like 2 naughty schoolboys together and so they tend to leave Sasha alone.

They all get on very well together but I have to supervise them at all times as Sasha doesn’t want to get involved in any rough and tumble at this stage. Here they all are sheltering under the umbrella in the hot sun.
Sasha is becoming very attached to me and although I don’t take her to work with me because she gets over excited seeing the other dogs working we do have our special time together when I take her to Killerton park in the morning and evening. She loves to sit and watch the Canadian Geese on the large pond with their young chicks. A penny for her thoughts right now.

I must confess I am starting to get a bit protective and slightly nervous as she is a young bitch having her first litter. But as you can see here she certainly isn’t stressed.

Rika And Lenny Start Their Initial Police Dog Course

Tim was obviously devastated when Cagney had to be retired from the last initial course so late in the day. I was also very disappointed for him and I also felt somewhat responsible for not making the decision sooner to give him time to take on a replacement and complete the course.

Since allocating Rika to Tim the gloom has somewhat lifted because we are starting to realise just what an outstanding dog she is. I always knew she was special but after our first week of the Initial course she really is outstanding on all exercises.

I have also started training Lenny to make sure Tim has a plan B in the unlikely event of Rika not successfully completing the course. They get on very well together and are pictured here together at the end of their first week.
Fingers crossed and I will be reporting how we are doing as the course progresses.


Our 4 German pups pictured above on a recent farm visit from left to right are Rocky, Ronnie, Roxy and Roz. They are now 9 months old and were not due to have their hips xrayed until they were 12 months old. However on a recent training day I noticed that Roz had an unusual leg action and so we had her hips xrayed. Her hips were not good and certainly not suitable for Police work. We then had the remaining 3 pups xrayed and both Roxy and Rocky also had hips which were deemed unsuitable to continue as future Police dogs.

Reluctantly we have to release Rocky, Roxy and Roz from the puppy scheme. Puppy walker Susanne has elected to keep Roxy and we have a potential new home for Rocky. We still need a new home for Roz and we will be advertising for a new home for her as soon as possible.

Our breeder Alfons in Germany has been breeding for 35 years and has never had hip issues. He has given an undertaking to replace all 3 pups in his breeding program this year. I am sure he will honour his commitment but that doesn’t help to nullify all the heartache and disappointment to the puppy walkers who have given so much in both time and emotions.


The pups pictured above Bob, Bevin and Bernie are now 5 and a half months old and are all doing extremely well. We have been preparing them for the Devon County show this week. They will be appearing with Billy and Jacque each day before the full Police dog display.

Here are a few photo’s of them practising their agility and their sit and down’s.

I have also included a picture and a short video of them recently enjoying a training day down by the river.


This Sunday we set up a fun competition to assess how our September 2016 Initial course dogs are progressing. My wife Di laid on a superb buffet and cream tea during the break and the fine weather made for a great day.

TEST 1 Safety and Control. The teams had to demonstrate the ability to keep their dogs in their vehicle while they put on the lead without them trying to jump out until they were given the release command.

TEST 2 Retrieving.  Demonstration of their dogs ability to chase a ball and retrieve it back to them without their dog trying to run off with it or not bring it back.

TEST 3 Bark on Command. The dog had to bark at the helper for a toy reward. This is in preparation for the person searching exercise where the dog barks when he/she locates a missing person.

TEST 4 Searching and determination. Firstly the dog was encouraged to play with a car tyre which was then rolled down a steep bank into undergrowth. The owner then called the dog to see if it had the determination to retrieve the tyre back up the bank.

The dog then saw a small tugger toy thrown down the bank into the thick undergrowth and was then released to search for it. The toy was a particular colour that blended in with the terrain so that the dog had to search using his/her nose rather than using eyesight to find it.

TEST 5 Tracking. This involved assessing the dogs ability to follow the trail walked by a person for 60 metres. There were 4 food drops on the trail for the dog to locate. This exercise is without doubt the most important for an operational Police dog because they spend the majority of their time tracking criminals and missing persons.

TEST 6 Down stay.  This exercise is the bedrock of so many disciplines for a working dog and is useful for all dog owners. The handler had to leave his/her dog in a down position then walk away for 5 paces before returning to their dogs. They then could either stand next to their dogs or kneel down and then pause before releasing them.

TEST 7 & 8 Tenacity to play tug of war and reaction to gunfire. This exercise assessed the dogs desire to fight and win which is important if a dog is going to deal with a violent or fleeing criminal.)

Once the dog was engaged in tugging with the helper a 38 revolver was fired from close range to see if the dog was adversely affected by the loud noise. All of the dogs reacted very confidently to the gun.

We all enjoyed the day with all the teams doing really well. Anyone watching couldn’t fail to be impressed by the standards achieved by the dogs and their puppy walkers.

Our overall winner was Cato with Susannah seen here riding to victory.

Dexter was a close second making it a clean sweep for the Mali crosses. However the tracking was won by Billy followed closely by Flynn. Jacque won the retrieve exercise.

We are all pictured here at the end of a very enjoyable day

Next is the County show which I will report on next week.
Bye for now from Lenny, Sasha and Me.

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