Thursday 23 May 2019

The Devon County Show 2019

An enjoyable day out for our pups and puppy walkers at the Devon County Show

This year The Devon County show took place from Thursday 16th to Saturday 18th May 2019 at the Devon county showground in Exeter.

Throughout the year Westpoint kindly allow our Police dog teams to train on their site and so every year to thank them for their generosity The Police dog section put on a Police dog display for the public on all 3 days of the show.

Our puppy walkers and their pups are also invited to the Devon county show and we put on our own short display prior to the main Police dog display.

We have been bringing the pups to the Devon county show for a number of years now and in addition to supporting the Police dog display we also use the day as a socialisation and development day for the pups.

Pictured here on Thursday are puppy walkers Rod & Karen with TPD Nico, Stewart & Alison with TPD Jay, Me with TPD Dino, Henry, Chris, Lindsay, baby William & TPD Nico.

Pictured here at Fridays show are puppy walkers Lyn, John & Ian with TPD Rogue, Andy with TPD Arnie and Terry & Jill with TPD Rebel.

Pictured here at Saturdays show are puppy walkers Colin & Mitzi with TPD Rana, Marian, Keith, their children Ellie & James with TPD Ginny, my wife Diane, puppy walker Margaret with TPD

Nicki, regular helper Angie and me with that little man TPD Dino again.

Taking the pups around the Devon county show site gives me an ideal opportunity to assess how confident the pups are in what is a very challenging environment for young dogs.  

The pups will encounter huge crowds, large numbers of different animals and dogs, a very noisy fairground and a wide range of different circumstances. Here is Ginny looking very relaxed and taking it all in her stride.

Here are brothers TPD Rebel and TPD Rogue confidently watching people in giant balloons in a large splash pool. I think had they not been on a lead they would have joined them.


Here is TPD Nero meeting Devon and Cornwall Police mascots Juliet and Bravo for the first time.

Here is TPD Jay making a new friend.

Over the 3 days we had 10 pups at the show. Five of those pups were bred by Bernard Horton of Kazzardsway German shepherds. He is very passionate about his dogs and came all the way down from Manchester to see his pups over the 3 days.

Here is Bernard with 3 of his pups TPD Nico, TP Nero and TPD Jay on Thursday.

I was extremely pleased and proud of all of our pups and their puppy walkers throughout the 3 days. I don’t recall a single incident of any of our pups showing any nervousness or aggression to another dog, animal or person on site.

Here is the ever friendly TPD Jay showing his excellent temperament as he calmly introduces himself to an equally calm donkey at the Donkey sanctuary stand.

Here is TPD Ginny with her puppy walking family making new friends and happy to be approached and petted. This is how it should be because owning a German shepherd or any dog for that matter should be a pleasure.


The fairground is an ideal place for an assessment of our pups. It is very noisy and there are lots of unusual things going on.

Pictured here are TPD Ginny, TPD Nicki and TPD Rana who not particularly bothered by the dodgem cars crashing behind them.

TPD Rebel, TPD Arnie and TPD Rogue were equally unfazed by the Whirling Wurlitzer.

Pictured here are TPD Jay, TPD Nero and TPD Nico on the Hulk ride. TPD Nico on the right did have a slight uncertain reaction to walking up onto the aluminium skirting on this ride.

However with some careful handling by puppy walker Rod TPD Nico soon got his confidence and it wasn’t a problem after that.

When we are assessing potential Police dogs one of the primary qualities we are looking for is resilience. In other words if something unpleasant or difficult happens can the dog improve and recover.

Here is TPD Nico encountering quite an extreme situation with the Twister but he coped extremely well. His nerves are clearly solid but he is a thinker and has a slight sensitivity in his nature. We have established he has resilience and so with lots of socialisation environmentally he will be fine.

You will often hear dog owners say my dog is not afraid of anything. All dogs will have something that frightens them but it is not a problem if they have the resilience to overcome and recover from it.

Here are TPD Nico, TPD Jay and TPD Nero taking in the dodgems.  TPD Nero wasn’t jumping on a stranger in the dodgem cars it was Chris’s son Henry and father in law.

All of the pups were extremely confident with everything they encountered both walking around the site and at the fairground.

Here are brothers TPD Rogue and TPD Rebel bred by Ian Morgan of Lorokmor working dogs aged  9 months and TPD Arnie aged 8 months bred by Bernard Horton of Kazzardsway showing a completely relaxed attitude.

Over the years we have had several dogs that have frozen and will not go onto some of the aluminium floors at the fairground. These dogs didn’t go on to make operational Police dogs.

No such problems for TPD Arnie, TPD Rogue and TPD Rebel as they confidently make their way over to one of the rides.

Here are brothers TPD Jay and TPD Arnie doing some environmental work on the various floors.

I am often asked why some of the dogs are wearing head collars. This is because when the dogs get to 7 or 8 months they are extremely strong and powerful.

Despite having done lots of puppy heelwork when the pups were smaller they will still try to get to certain distractions and that can be dangerous for the puppy walker and the dog. Here is TPD Rana completely under the control of puppy walker Mitzi because of the head collar.

I am not a fan of head collars unless they are used properly ie the lead is loose and the head collar is not cutting into the dogs muzzle or worse still pulling up and twisting into their eyes. 

Here are TPD Rana and TPD Ginny wearing head collars. They have all clearly spotted something of interest. TPD Nicki is on the right.


Although the pups are not part of the main Police dog display we like our puppy walkers and their pups to be part of the occasion and so we put on our own short puppy display before the main
Operational Police dog display.

All of our operational Police dogs come from our puppy development program and so without our puppy walkers the dog section wouldn’t have as many outstanding operational Police dogs as it has.

He we all are making our way to the display arena to support the main Police dog display.
As in previous years PC Graham Attwood from the Police dog training school organised the main Police dog display and was the commentator for the whole event. I thought he was excellent and made it the success it was.
We started with 3 of our puppy walking teams entering the arena and being introduced to the crowd.

Here is Karen with TPD Nico entering the arena.

We like to explain and show the work that our puppy walkers do and to explain about our puppy development program.

The puppy teams then demonstrated some basic control positions. Here is Stewart demonstrating the down stay with TPD Jay.
Each team then demonstrated one of the many training and development exercises that we do on our fortnightly training sessions. Here is TPD Jay demonstrating going over the A frame.

Here is Chris and TPD Nero demonstrating the hold and bark exercise. This is the start of person searching where the dog is taught to bark to indicate to his/her handler that he has found a missing person or outstanding criminal.

Here is Ian with TPD Rogue demonstrating that at 9 months of age and 8 months before he starts his Initial Police dog course he is already quite advanced on his chase and attack exercise.

Here is TPD Rebel with puppy walker Terry going over the A frame.

Here is TPD Rana with puppy walker Mitzi performing the chase and attack exercise.

Here are 3 videos of the 3 individual exercises that the pups demonstrated in our puppy display.

Video 4 shows Terry and Jill with TPD Rebel completing the A frame and tunnel.

Video 5 shows Ian with TPD Rogue demonstrating the early puppy stages of the chase and attack exercise.

Video 6 shows Andy and TPD Arnie demonstrating the early stages of the hold and bark search exercise.

When you consider these are young inexperienced pups being handled by civilian puppy walkers who have only trained in their familiar training locations and have never been in front of a crowd You have to say that they were a credit to themselves and the Police force.

Our puppy walkers and pups then left the arena while I brought on our latest recruit TPD Dino into the arena.


The star of the show was our latest addition to the program 10 week old TPD Dino a Malinois
Belgian shepherd bred by Ian Morgan from Lorokmor working dogs.

I have had him for 2 weeks and like most Malinois he has endless enthusiasm and energy which needs to go somewhere. I have already started him on puppy tracks and have been preparing him for the show by doing the walkway and tunnel with him most days using food titbits.

While he does the walkway he wears a harness so that he can’t slip or fall off.

Here he is going through the tunnel.

He has only had one of his inoculations and so I carry him when we are in areas where there could be a risk.

You will see from the video he certainly didn’t find being a part of the show in anyway stressful and that is probably because he has met so many people in the short time that I have had him.

My intention was to raise TPD Dino until he eventually goes to his handler. I am already very attached to this incredible little character but I have a slight complication that my female Ella might be pregnant.

I will find out tomorrow. IF Ella is pregnant it will not be a good idea if TPD Dino is with me as she approaches whelping. That is because Ella and I have such a close bond and she has such high work drive that I worry seeing me pay attention to TPD Dino could mean that she does not concentrate fully on her litter.

If she is pregnant I am looking for an experienced puppy walker or Police dog handler who could take him for me for a couple of months. At the time of writing this blog no one has yet come forward to assist.

After TPD Dino completed his part of the display all of the puppy walkers and pups joined us to go around the arena to meet and greet the crowd.

We then left the arena and the actual Police dog display took place. It was an excellent display show casing our detection dogs, our general purpose dogs and an amusing finale involving several members of the public. You can see the whole display on our force website.

TPD Nero, TPD Nico and TPD Jay were captivated watching the experienced Police dogs performing their display and would have happily joined in if they could.

I would like to thank all of our puppy walkers for all of their hard work preparing for the Devon county show and giving up their day to attend. This photo of Ian and TPD Rogue sums up what a great time we all had and what puppy walking is all about.

From Ella, Dino and me bye for now.

Thursday 2 May 2019

Progress report on the pups on our September 2019 initial police dog course and an update on childhood sweethearts PD drake and the lovely Ella

TPD Ernie invites you to see how the September 2019 initial police dog pups are getting on with their training


The September 2019 initial police dog course pups

From left to right are TPD Errol, TPD Echo and TPD Ernie from our E litter. The E litter were born on the 23rd of February 2018. I am happy to report that all of these pups are doing extremely well and are now ready for allocation to their handlers.

Their litter brother PD Eyke pictured here with his handler Tom Bond and his puppy walking family has already graduated as a Police dog in April this year.

All of the E litter have lovely temperaments and are good looking well-constructed dogs. They all have extremely high energy levels with strong working drives and in some circumstances can be quite excitable.

They will thrive when allocated to their handlers but have been a real challenge for their puppy walkers.


TPD Errol

Errol pictured here with puppy walkers Sue and Andy is probably the most improved pup in our program. In the early months he wasn’t the boldest pup in the litter and not the most determined but now that he has matured he has developed a confidence and determination that wasn’t there before.

You can see that determination here in his criminal work.

Errol is now very accomplished in all of his work which includes his tracking, searching, criminal work and control exercises.

Here is Errol in the early stages of being introduced to person searching.

We start this by getting the dog to bark at a helper who then rewards the dog with a toy. We progress this to the dog then finding the helper round the corner and barking for the toy held by the helper.

This is then extended to the helper hiding in various hiding places and the dog having to search and find the person. Upon finding the person the dog then barks to let his/her handler know that they have found the person.

You can now see a real intensity in Errol’s work and it always gives me great satisfaction to see a puppy develop and improve in confidence as Errol has done. It once again shows the tremendous value of a development program and the importance of our puppy walkers.


TPD Echo

Everyone knows when TPD Echo pictured here with puppy walkers Paul and Michelle arrives for training because her excitement borders on manic. However once she switches into her work her determination, drive and enthusiasm are completely focused onto the task in hand.

Her tracking drive is exceptional and provided we consolidate and are not tempted to push on too quickly I am excited at just what an exceptional tracking dog she could become.

I have had my doubts about her suitability to be an operational Police dog purely because of her small size but her feisty determined character, her tracking ability, her boldness, her stamina and her tenacity have convinced me that she has the potential to be one of the most productive dogs in the Alliance.

PC Andi Darbey from Exeter dog section whose Police dog Sally recently retired has been taking TPD Echo out on a regular basis to get to know her and to start preparing her for the September Police dog course.

Here she is training with Andi on the early stages of person searching. As you can see she is extremely intimidating and assertive.


TPD Ernie

I have always felt that there was something very special about Ernie pictured here with puppy walker Dave.  He has always had a quiet confidence about him and has a real presence.
I remember when we had the E litter seeing the way that Ernie would always try to climb on top of the many visitors we had.

He is still the same now once he takes ownership of something it is his. Here he is taking possession of my garden fork when he came to stay with me for a few days.  Obviously I needed urgently to get it off him but he had other ideas.

He was completely unfazed on the boldness tests when the man in the mask suddenly appeared from behind a tree. He was also completely bomb proof when I banged hard on some metal lockers to assess his sensitivity to sound.

Like all of his littermates he is extremely bright and a quick learner. This is him doing only his second session of person searching.

All of the dogs on the September 2019 course enjoy the criminal work exercises and Ernie is no exception pictured here with puppy walker Dave.

I shouldn’t have favourites but I have always had a soft spot for Ernie because for no fault of his own he had 3 puppy walkers in his first 2 months.

His current puppy walkers Dave and Viv have given him the stability he needed and no one comes between him and his pal Jack their grandson who lives with them.

All of the E litter have natural tracking ability but Ernie’s over enthusiastic drive has meant that he was a little erratic once we tried to switch him from following a track for food to tracking for his toy.

He has now got the idea and is tracking with drive, accuracy and focus.


The Kazzardsway gang

The Kazzardsway gang from left to right are Nero, Nico and Nicki. They were bred by Bernard Horton of Kazzardsway German shepherds in Manchester and were born on the 10th June 2018.
Again all of these pups have excellent temperaments with strong working drives. They do not have the extreme drive that the E litter pups have but they have a steadiness that I like and given time to mature and develop I think they will become very reliable good Police dogs.



TPD Nero pictured here with puppy walker Chris and his son Henry has progressed very nicely since recovering from Juvenile Cellulitis ( A pustular skin disorder) as a young pup which certainly held him back in the early months.

Other than some mild scarring on his muzzle he now seems fine.

He is very steady and determined in all of his work and particularly enjoys his criminal work just like all the Kazzardsway dogs seem to do.

We have been preparing all of our pups for the upcoming Devon county show. Here is Nero getting used to walking steadily over the walkway and up and down the A frame

All of our pups are trained to track using food drops which are initially placed in every footstep. Once the pup gets the idea the food drops are placed at ever increasing distances.

Before they start their Initial course we stop using the food and substitute it with their favourite toy at the end of the track which builds more drive and intensity.

Nero is now tracking with a nice level of concentration and intensity which will stand him in good stead once he starts his Initial Police dog course.

We recently assessed Nero, Nico and Nicki on their boldness, reaction to gunfire and reaction to shiny floor surfaces and sensitivity to sound. They were all extremely good on all.
Here is Nero on one of the boldness assessments reacting to a stranger wearing a mask jumping out and taking him by surprise on a normal walk.

This test is not to see if we can terrify a dog but to assess his/her recovery after coming across an unpleasant or unusual experience. Some dogs are so badly affected that they cannot recover and therefore do not have the level of resilience required of a Police dog.

We also have to take into account that Nero at 10 months is still very much a puppy and will not mature until he is around 2.

Congratulations to Chris and his partner Lyndsay who had a baby boy William on the 3rd of April. Here is Nero after our last training day taking a well-earned nap alongside William.


TPD Nico

TPD Nico pictured here with puppy walkers Karen and Rod at 42 kilo’s is a big powerful dog just like his brother Nero. He is a little more laid back than his brother but he is progressing nice and steadily in all of his work exercises.

At 10 months these boys have undergone an awful lot of growth in a short time and probably will not muscle up and grow into their frames until they are 18 months when you will see the best of them.

Here is Nico having just realised we are going to play the criminal work game and Rod is going to have to hang on tight to the training line. Just in case you were wondering Rod didn’t turn up for training looking like this.

TPD Nico certainly enjoys his tracking work and Karen has certainly got her work cut out holding onto him.

Because TPD Nico is so strong and gets so excited on his criminal work it is becoming too difficult for Rod and Karen to hold him and so we need to use a helper.

Tina Green a Traffic Sgt in Cornwall who is hoping to become a dog Sgt handler helped us on this training day.

Tina has been trying to join the dog section for some time now and has attended a number of our puppy training classes. We are always glad of the help and wish her luck on her forthcoming assessment centre.


TPD Nicki

TPD Nicki pictured here with puppy walker Margaret has been progressing really well in all of her exercises from day 1.

Here is Nicki with her brothers Nico and Nero working on their stay exercises on a recent training day. Although they are now at an age where we can do all types of exciting training it is still important to maintain control work because it underpins all of our exercises.

Several months ago Margaret had a nasty fall from a ladder whilst clearing the gutter on her garage which resulted in her dislocating her shoulder quite badly. Margaret was unable to look after Nicki and it looked like she would not be able to puppy walk for a very long time.

Fortunately we found a great family in Exeter to continue with Nicki’s care and development.

Pictured here are Mum Sara, Dad Simon, Issi and Marc.

They did a great job with Nicki getting her out and about and Sara continued with her developmental training sessions.

Margaret’s rehabilitation has gone better than expected and so Nicki is now back with Margaret.
I am really grateful to Sara and her family and although I know Issi and Marc were upset about Nicki leaving them they have made a big contribution to her success and development.

I am hoping that Sara and her family will continue helping with our program and maybe start with one of our 8 week old pups in the near future.

Margaret is managing really well with Nicki but we are being careful not to expect her to handle

Nicki on the exercises where she can get over excited.

I can certainly vouch for the fact that Nicki hasn’t lost any of her tenacity or attitude.

On our last training day Sgt Tina Green helped several of our puppy walkers by handling their dogs on some of the more physical demanding exercises. Here she is handling Nicki on a very difficult track which went very close to the agility section where I know there were cross tracks making it doubly difficult.

Thanks to all of the hard work and commitment of our puppy walkers all of the September 2019 pups are already at an advanced level. This means less stress on the Instructor, handlers and the dogs on what is an intense, hard but enjoyable course ahead of them.

Well done all.


Fingers crossed that we will be having Ella and PD Drake pups in late June

Now that Ella is now 27 months old we decided to breed from her and so when she came into season over Easter it made sense to use PD Drake as the stud dog for a number of reasons.

Firstly they both grew up together at our house before PD Drake ( Previously Larry) left us to become a Police dog with his handler Mark in January this year.

Secondly they both have exceptional working qualities, both have lovely temperaments and both have excellent hip and elbow scores from the BVA system.

As luck would have it Mark was on leave during the Easter period and so PD Drake came to stay with us for the week. Here they are being re-united at our house.

They had several successful mating’s and so now we must wait until late May to see if the mating was successful when Ella will have a scan.  Here they are enjoying their bones together when she had finished her season at the end of the week.

In my next blog I will be giving an update on how our January 2020 pups are getting on with their development training.

From Ella and me bye for now.