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.

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