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Devon and Cornwall, England devon-cornwall.police.uk

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

In this weeks blog

  1. Garry and Gunner have a great day down at Saundercroft Farm
  2. Two weeks into their 3 month initial police dog course an update on how all the teams are doing
  3. An update on the rest of our pups


I always enjoy visiting the farm with our pups and watching how the pups react to meeting the animals tells me a great deal about their characters.

Before leaving for the farm we did what we always do on all of our training sessions, we carried out a short tracking session at HQ with both pups. Here is Garry doing a short trail where I have laid food drops in my footprints every 3 to 4 steps.

As you can see he is already showing excellent concentration and determination just as his uncle Police dog Lenny did at this age. Tracking/ trailing offenders or missing persons is the most important skill for all Police dogs hence the reason we include it in all training sessions.

On arriving at the farm brothers Garry and Gunner took it all in their stride confidently investigating the animals but in a very calm and measured way.

These two horses were walking by as we arrived and both brothers calmly watched them walk past.

Our first port of call was the sheep and lambs.

It is very important that Police dogs are neutral to meeting all Livestock because they are often going to be working in rural areas and therefore they should be confident and not distracted working near to all types of animals.

With the odd exception our pups are usually confident if not a little excited to start with when meeting the animals but Garry and Gunner were the most relaxed I think I have ever seen pups on a farm visit.

Here are the boys meeting Bella.

Next it was the calves.

Then the boys met Sam.

Then finally the chickens and a couple of roosters who are always very tempting for the dogs but yet again the boys were completely relaxed and calm.

Our thanks to Simon and Andi pictured here with their son Will and also to Andi’s mum for helping and allowing us to use their farm.


Because of all the work put in by our puppy walkers the teams are already at a very advanced level and the dogs are clearly really enjoying the course.

Here are the teams.


Rudy is without doubt the most driven and determined dog on the course.

Here is Steve hanging on for grim death as Rudy tracks with fierce determination across country.

Just as determined on the agility.

His criminal work is going to be very entertaining to watch as we progress to off lead chases and I don’t think many criminals will be able to remain on their feet.

Early last week Rudy injured his toe chasing a ball too vigorously and then on Friday Rudy pulled Steve around on his walking line with a bit too much force twisting Steve’s knee. This means that the team will be staying at home this week as Steve rests his knee.


Kevin and Devon are doing really well together particularly when you consider that Kevin isn’t the biggest of blokes, he is a first time handler and Devon is a very strong powerful dog.

Here they are in the early stages of mastering the agility equipment.

Kevin tells me his dad was a professional jockey which would explain Kevin’s position as they negotiate the hurdle.

Here they are practising their control work with Devon showing excellent focus towards Kevin.

Devon is an all-rounder who is doing well on all of his work. His tracking is coming along very nicely and he is starting to show all the promise of his father Police dog Lenny


Kevin and Danno have an excellent bond and an excellent working relationship.

Here they are performing their control work where their close bond is very apparent.

Danno is a little more sensitive than his brother Devon and he is not as driven but he is enthusiastic, biddable and loves to work.

After a slow start he now starting to understand what is required of him and the fact that he has a calm patient handler in Kevin they are now starting to make excellent progress together.


Ozzie is the baby of the group at 10 months in 5 days’ time. Under normal circumstances we wouldn’t put a dog on an Initial Police dog course before they are 12 months old.

The other 3 dogs on the course are 16 months old which is a good age to start

But Ozzie is not your normal dog pictured here with Graham doing his control work.

Ozzie is a very strong willed dog who is totally fearless. He is perfectly happy as long as he has something to occupy his mind. If not he will make his own entertainment which often includes nipping people in the leg to get the action started.

Now that Graham has got him focussing and concentrating he is having a great time

Because of his strong character he has had to change puppy walkers twice finishing with our most experienced puppy walker Lyn Parlour. Unfortunately Lyn has now gone on holiday to Australia and finding a puppy walker suitable for him for a month was a real challenge.

So Graham the course instructor volunteered to take him to live with his family and to give him some training on the course. He loves the course and whist we are being careful not to push him too hard because of his young growing joints I wouldn’t be surprised if passes the licensing schedule in December.

Here he is in the early stages of his tracking.

In my next blog I will give you a more detailed explanation of all the different exercises and disciplines that our dogs undertake during the course.


ELSA with puppy walkers Maria and Steve

EVA with puppy walkers Billie and Lisa

6 month old Elsa and 7 month old Eva attended puppy class last Sunday and we covered article searching, tracking, bark on command, sit and down stays and getting the dogs walking on a loose lead environmentally.

Both dogs are at an excellent standard.

Here is Eva showing her natural tracking ability with food drops every 5 paces and a directional change with Lisa handling her.

Steve demonstrates a good solid down stay with Elsa.

Lisa demonstrates excellent loose lead walking with Eva around HQ

Unfortunately puppy walker Terri wasn’t feeling too well and so Eric didn’t attend our training session.

TAG with her puppy walkers Gideon and Marina

Tammy with her puppy walker Margaret

Tag and Tammy are now 12 months old and they are both at a very advanced level as they move towards their Initial course in January 2018. On Sunday we covered Tracking, article searching, an introduction to searching for persons in the open, tugging work and control work.

Here is 65 year old Margaret playing tug with Tammy with a vigour that would put some of our younger Police dog handlers to shame.

Tags enjoyed playing hide and seek to find where Marina and I were hiding. He was rewarded with his toy for barking to say he had found us.

Tag and Tammy are developing into fine tracking dogs. Here is Tag hot on the trail with Marina as always right in the thick of the action.

At the end of our session Marina was still keen to do a bit more work with Tag.

We had a really enjoyable session and I am very pleased with their progression.


At the moment I am spending time monitoring the Initial Police dog course to see how the dogs are getting on and as Oscar and Ollie were due some training I invited them both along.

Ozzie now in his 3rd week of the Initial Police dog course was delighted to meet up with his brothers Oscar and Ollie again.

In between watching their brother we worked on some tracking, bite work and an introduction to person searching in woodland with Oscar and Ollie. 

Here is Oscar learning to bark having located a person in the wood.

Here is Ollie tracking across country demonstrating determination and excellent focus.

I think the puppy walkers of Oscar and Ollie were surprised at just how Ozzie has developed since they all last met and they all clearly enjoyed meeting up again.

They really are 3 very impressive males and are a credit to the breeder Richard Evans.


Mary and Dizzy

For me Dizzy has been the most determined and driven of the D litter pups. She has incredible determination to track, search and bite but she also has a mistrust of people in certain situations. This manifested itself in our boldness tests when she was unable to cope with meeting a person in suspicious circumstances.

With time and maturity this could probably be improved but to be a Police dog the ability to deal with stressful situations is very important.

Whilst I have no doubt that Dizzy would be very good as a Police dog in most situations she would also find some situations stressful which would not be good for her health and wellbeing. It is for this reason that I have released her.

I am very grateful to Mary her original puppy walker and to Lindsay and Anthony for the work they have done in trying to improve this area of her character.

Lindsay and Anthony have asked to take Dizzy on as their own dog and I am sure she will be a great dog for them. Here is Dizzy with Lindsay..

We are extremely grateful to Lindsay and Anthony who have previously successfully puppy walked Buddy, Cosmic and Devon for us.

During the next 3 weeks I will be travelling to Belgium and Holland to collect 3 male pups to complete our September 2018 intake.

In my next blog I will introduce them to you and give you a more detailed account of just what is required on the course for our trainee dogs to become Operational Police dogs.

From Ella and me bye for now.

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