Friday 22 June 2018

Latest update on all of our pups part 2


So much has happened in a few weeks that it would be impossible to update you all in 1 blog and so I have split the blog into 2 parts. This is Part 2.

The September 2018 initial police dog pups

Quest ( front left) Merlin (front right) and Henry ( rear) on our training day in Plymouth yesterday.
We had a fantastic training day and to finish we decided on a group photo next to a wood pile. Henry decided he much preferred being on top of the wood pile.

We covered tracking, the down stay, the look, article searching in woodland and person searching in woodland.

Peppe and Elsa are also in this group for the Initial course.


Merlin is pictured here with puppy walker Ian. Merlin is a very highly determined and driven dog who loves his work.

He is pictured here following a 50 metre trail for his ball hidden at the end of it.

He has a lovely nature and is totally non dog aggressive which is quite rare in the modern German shepherd these days.


Quest is pictured here with puppy walker Colin. I was very impressed with Colin’s control with Quest. Quest has ferocious determination, a very strong play drive and is a very powerful dog.

Quest is pictured here having located his toy at the end of his track and Colin demonstrates that he can play vigorously with Quest but can still get him to leave the toy on command and Quest will then wait patiently to continue the game.

I normally introduce the person search exercise with the dog on a lead but Quest is so powerful trying to run with him on lead in woodland would result in a broken ankle. I did the exercise off lead and his intelligence and clear head meant he quickly worked out sitting back and barking got him his toy.

This incredible dog is certainly on my radar as a future Stud dog.


Henry is a very powerful athletic agile dog and like most Dutch herders and Malinois has a strong genetic propensity to bite.

Puppy walker Jill works regularly on his environmental work because he still has difficulty sometimes dealing with new situations and locations.

His food drive is incredibly strong and Jill uses this to develop his focus exercises. Here they are demonstrating the sit and look exercise and also his down stay.

Jill and Terry have done an incredible dog looking after Henry who is a real handful but has no malice in him whatsoever. What is abundantly clear he has the potential to do enormous damage to any criminal foolish enough to take him on.

For that reason the time is now right for him to go to an experienced Instructor or handler to harness his potential. I am looking to progress this in the coming weeks.


Peppe is pictured here with Graham Attwood who is the course Instructor for the September Initial Police dog course. Graham is puppy walking Peppe until a handler becomes available to take him on the September Initial course.

Graham is a very busy man and so doesn’t get the opportunity to attend our puppy classes. Graham assures me that Peppe is a very confident dog with very strong working drives and great potential.

Peppe was originally puppy walked by Chris Walter and his family. He is pictured here on a training day with Chris and his son Henry.

Peppe was transferred to Graham to enable Chris and his family to look after one of our potential breeding females Elsa.


Elsa is pictured here with Chris and his family and the hope was that she would become one of our 3 breeding females. Our other two breeding females are Sasha and Ella.

Elsa had her hips screened when she was10 months and our vet was confident they were very good.

On that basis we decided not to use her as a General Purpose Police dog and place her with Chris as one of our breeding females. She had been previously puppy walked by Steve Pearce and his family.

Here is Steve on a training day with Elsa.

Her hips and elbow x rays were retaken a month ago when she was 14 months old and submitted to the British Veterinary Association to be scored officially. Unfortunately they have come back not quite suitable for breeding but more than suitable to be a working dog.

Elsa will now join the Initial Police dog course in September. I’m really disappointed for Chris and his family who were hoping to keep her for many years to come and have several litters of pups for us.


As I reported in my previous blog I removed Gunnar from his puppy walking family because he had shown aggression towards 11 year old Isabel and also her mother Hannah.

The catalyst had been Isabel going to get his empty food bowl from his crate to prepare his meal. He also growled at Hannah during the same incident.

The family had grown up with Gunnar since he was imported from Germany at 15 weeks of age.

It was particularly upsetting for Isabel as the two of them had been inseparable growing up.

It was clear to me that it had coincided with Gunnar going through his teenage stage and so my objective was to take him home to observe his character close hand and look at his potential to be a Police dog.

There had been several other incidents involving Gunnar behaving unusually towards Isabel which is why I removed him.

I thoroughly enjoyed having and working with Gunnar him and although his working determination was not at the level I would have liked he did improve as the weeks went on.

I took him everywhere including the Devon county show and he was generally very confident but there were odd occasions when he was unhappy with people approaching him on lead and incidents of possessive aggression over a bone and a tugging toy.

My conclusion was that he had many good qualities but that his possessive aggression, excitability and lack of determination in certain exercises meant that we shouldn’t continue to train him as a Police dog.

His outstanding qualities were his tracking and boldness. Here he is following a trail I laid for him around my garden.

I have no doubt an experienced handler could have developed and handled him and he would never have shown aggression to his own handler.

But I was aware that it was unlikely I could find a puppy walker experienced enough to look after him until September and with 4 other pups in our program waiting for handlers we probably wouldn’t have required him anyway. 

I met Mark and Isabel at Plympton police station and it was very emotional seeing them reunited with Gunnar after all the good times they had had together

He was so happy to see them and there was no sign of any issues with Isabel. Witnessing him being reunited it was hard to believe that he could have shown any aggression towards his family but there is no doubt that in different circumstances there is a degree of aggression lurking underneath.

I informed them of my decision and they fully understood. My decision was also influenced by the potential new home on offer for Gunner.

My colleague Chris Burridge a fellow Police dog Instructor in the Alliance had re-homed his own young Trainee Police dog Ace 10 years ago with the Water Bailiff at the Longleat Safari park Nick Robbins.

Nick was now looking for a new young dog because poor old Ace who has served him well is now 12 and going off his back legs and can’t work anymore.

I gave Gunnar a last groom before setting off to Nick’s home.

As soon as I met Nick and his partner and his old dog Ace I knew it was the home for Gunnar. I took a photo of Gunnar and Nick by one of the many lakes he is responsible for.

I drove away knowing that Mark and his family would be very happy with Gunnar’s new home. Nick has said Mark’s family are more than welcome to visit his home or meet at Longleat where Nick has worked for 31 years.

He has certainly settled in well and Nick tells me he does everything but drive the 4x4.


Here is Quini on the left with her brother Quest at my house just after I brought them both back from Belgium.

The bad news is that Quini has failed her hip x rays to be a Police dog. Our vet says she can lead a perfectly normal life as a pet but cannot undertake the rigours of working as a Police dog.
She was due to be allocated to her handler Chris Carter in North Devon.

We are now looking for a good home for Quini and as always we will not be rushed until the right home is found. All of Quini’s relatives have excellent hips and so does her litter brother Quest. I'm afraid the dreaded hip curse strikes yet again.

Nico and Nero were born last week

We have been so impressed with Eric and Elsa from Kazzardsway breeding in Manchester that we have placed orders with Bernard the breeder for further pups.

Nico and Nero are still less than a week old and we hope to collect them in 7 weeks time.


I finally picked up my 6 month old Dutch import Larry from Mary last week. I would like to end by thanking Angie Collins, her husband Graham and Mary for looking after Larry for me until I was ready to take him.

With all the comings and goings and puppy walkers going on holiday puppy walkers Mary and Margaret have been a fantastic help to me and the puppy program by looking after so many pups short term while people have been on holiday or needed their pups looking after.

From me, my new dog 6 month old Larry and Ella bye for now.

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