Wednesday 26 June 2019

A Head to Head, 9 Healthy Pups and a Holiday!






TPD’s Ginny, Arnie, Rana, Rogue, Rebel and Jay are the pups for our January 2020 Initial Police dog course. They have another 7 months before their course starts but they are already very advanced in terms of the training standards that they have reached.

This week I set up a light hearted training competition to assess the standard that they are at and to help with any training needs that they may have.  Here are the puppy walkers and their pups who took part.
Left to right are TPD Ginny, TPD Arnie and TPD Rana with their puppy walkers.

Left to right are TPD Rogue, TPD Rebel and TPD Jay with their puppy walkers.

The main role of our puppy walkers is to raise and socialise their pup so that when their pup is eventually allocated to their handler at around 12 to 14 months of age the puppy is confident in meeting every conceivable environmental circumstance or situation that they encounter.

This makes for a much better-rounded and balanced future Police dog. Here is TPD Ginny confidently meeting crowds and animals at the Devon County show.

Here is puppy walker Stewart doing one of the regular visits he makes to the Haywards primary School in Crediton with TPD Jay

The type of puppy selected for the Police puppy program are nearly always very determined, confident high energy individuals.  Very often just going for walks, socialising and playing isn’t enough for some of the pups.

TPD Ginny pictured here with young Ellie is typical of the type of pup that I am talking about never running out of energy no matter how long you play with her.

It was for this reason that I started voluntary fortnightly training and development sessions to give the puppy walkers the opportunity to do something extra with their pups. This involves training the pups to do some of the early stages of Police dog training.

Our puppy walkers rarely miss a training session and it shows in the standards that they achieve. All of this extra training means the pups start their Initial Police dog course already part trained in some exercises.  Here are TPD Ginny, TPD Jay and TPD Rebel at 7 months doing a group sit stay.

This helps our Initial Police dog trainers and the handlers to reach an even higher standard on our Initial Police dog courses than they otherwise would.

TPD Rana pictured here with puppy walkers Colin and Mitzi is an extremely high drive dog and so basic control exercises make her a much more manageable and pleasant dog to live with.

For our competition I set 7 tests.

TEST 1  (TRACKING)  Each dog had to locate the start of a 75 metre track/trail and follow it to locate a toy hidden at the end. The dogs were not allowed to see the track being laid and were awarded marks for determination, accuracy and focus.

All of the dogs performed well on this exercise. Here are TPD Rana, TPD Arnie and TPD Ginny all showing those qualities.

TEST 2  (RETRIEVE A TOY) After recovering and playing with the toy at the end of the track the toy was taken from the dog and thrown 30 metres. The dog was then sent to retrieve the toy back to the handler. Marks were awarded for enthusiasm and speed of return to the handler.

Again all the dogs performed well on this exercise but the top scorers were TPD’s Ginny, Jay and Rebel.  Here are TPD Jay and TPD Rebel both performing excellent retrieves.

TEST 3 ( RELEASING A TOY ON COMMAND) The handler was required to engage in a tug of war game with their dog and the handler had to demonstrate he/she could get the dog to release the toy then pause before allowing the dog to continue the tug game.

Again everyone was able to demonstrate this important requirement with TPD Rebel and TPD Rogue scoring joint highest. Here is Lyn demonstrating a perfect tug and leave.

TEST 4   ( RECALL TO HANDLER )  I held the handlers dog while the handler walked away for 50 metres before turning and recalling their dog. Marks were awarded for the enthusiasm and actions of the handler in obtaining a fast direct return.

Again everyone scored highly with TPD Rogue and TPD Arnie both scoring a perfect 10.

Here are Marian and Jill recalling TPD Ginny & TPD Rebel demonstrating the enthusiastic non-threatening posture I was looking for ie open arms, lowered body posture and moving backwards inviting play.

TEST 5  (THE DOWN STAY ) The handler had to put their dog in the down position, tell them to stay, walk away 10 paces then return to their dog and release them.

This was never going to be easy after having just performed lots of exciting exercises but TPD Arnie,

TPD Rebel and TPD Jay all gave perfect performances. Here is Jill and Andy demonstrating this important exercise with TPD Rebel and TPD Arnie.

TEST 6   Getting the dog to bark at a person. Marks were obtained for speed of response and strength of bark. This exercise is the foundation of the person search exercise.

All of the dogs excelled at this exercise and TPD Rana was particularly impressive.

But I was really pleased with TPD Ginny because we have been doing some extra work with her on her bark, criminal work and article search which has really paid off.

TEST 7   Chase and detain a criminal wearing a large uncovered sleeve. Marks were awarded for speed and determination of attack.

All of the dogs love this exercise and it is an exercise our Initial Police dog course Instructors will do at the end of a long hard training day because it really lifts a dog spirit and leaves the dogs finishing the day on a high.

TPD Jay and TPD Rana were particularly impressive on their chase and attacks.


I was delighted with all of the teams and everyone scored at least one maximum score. However Andy and TPD Arnie performed consistently well on every section and deservedly won our mini competition. ( Show Pic 22)

Congratulations to Andy and Arnie on their moment of deserved glory and their prize a doggie treat pouch to be presented on our next training day.

Everyone will get their chance for revenge on our 2nd  mini competition when we will be assessing  person searching, article searching and some focus exercises. Well done all.


Ella had 9 healthy German shepherd puppies on Friday 21st of June. She had shown signs on Thursday evening and at 1215 on Friday lunchtime she delivered her first puppy. She then tried for over an hour to deliver a second pup and I suspected all was not well.
I contacted our vets and was advised to bring Ella and her pup in for further investigation. Our vet
Nick established there was a pup blocking proceedings and administered an Oxytocin injection to help Ella with contractions to help the puppy on its way.

Had this not worked a Caesarean would have been required. I expected the puppy to be born dead but that was not the case and within 15 minutes we had 3 more pups born in the consultation room. Nick confirmed by scan that there were more pups to come and so we made a dash for home with Ella and her 4 pups.

She had a fifth pup in the back of my dog van as we travelled home bringing the total to 5 pups. We were soon back home and Ella settled remarkably quickly with her 5 healthy pups.

She then had 2 more pups at 6.30pm and 7pm bringing the total to 7 pups. For the next 2 hours she was having further contractions but was becoming exhausted and so I decided to contact the vets again to assist her.

Clive the head vet came to our house gave her another Oxytocin injection and within minutes we had 2 more arrivals.

I was astonished at how fresh she looked after delivering her 9 pups.

It was then time for her to have a bath and some supper before getting back to her pups for the night.

I stayed with her overnight and saw first-hand how hard mum works through the night constantly feeding and cleaning the pups.

Cleanliness is paramount and so the whelping box needs to be cleaned regularly and bedding changed.

This is a simple matter of putting the pups in a small box cuddled up together while the work is done. It also helps when you have a strong confident female who trusts you with her pups.

Ella is a very fit athletic female with a very strong character and she just seemed to take it all in her stride.

As much as she wants to be with her pups it is important for her welfare that she has lots of breaks, time to relax and a daily wash and groom. We are lucky to have such a large garden that we can give her that freedom without having to go to areas where she could bring back an infection to the pups.

One question I always get asked is why do you have the wooden rails around the inside of the whelping box. They are to prevent mum from crushing any of the pups. The rails are mainly used for night time when we are asleep and not supervising the pups.

For the first 3 or 4 days I will sleep on the sofa next to the whelping box just to keep an eye on things.

With the warmer days we don’t use a heat lamp and as the pups cannot regulate their temperatures for several weeks it is important that mum is with them to keep them warm.

Once the pups are more able to regulate their temperatures and become more demanding the Sofa is an excellent place that Ella can go for some respite from the pups but can still be able to monitor them.

We don’t encourage visitors for a few weeks because as social as she is to all visitors if she hears a noise or vehicle she doesn’t recognise she will leap out of the whelping box in her guarding mode and risks trampling on a pup in the process.

Ella is my own female who was born in Germany on the 10th of February 2017 and imported by me when she was 15 weeks old.

The father of the pups is PD Drake pictured here with Ella.

I imported Drake from the Teikerhook kennels in Holland when he was 4 months old. He lived with us and Ella until he was 13 months old before graduating as a Police dog with his handler Mark Stevens in April this year.

They know each other very well and could be described as childhood sweethearts. PD Drake came to stay with us for a week when Ella was in season and they obviously successfully renewed their acquaintance.

We will be placing the pups in their coloured collars tomorrow and naming them. I will be doing a weekly blog showing their progress.


Those of you who read my last blog or follow twitter will know that I have been looking after and training TPD Dino since I collected him from Lorokmor working dogs when he was 8 weeks old.

He is a bit of a celebrity on twitter and was definitely the star at the Devon County show. By 12 weeks of age he was tracking 15 minute old tracks with multiple changes of direction. I was really excited as to what level we could achieve.

With the arrival of Ella’s litter I had to find a temporary puppy walker for a few months because TPD

Dino would have been neglected and he would no doubt have pestered Ella.

Our friends Eamon and Karen Rogers agreed to look after TPD Dino for us. Eamon and Karen are experienced puppy walkers and Eamon is a retired Devon and Cornwall Police dog handler.

He has settled in well and this week Karen and Eamon took him on holiday with them on their canal barge.

Today the weather wasn’t so good which meant that TPD Dino had to settle for playing cards with Eamon.

I really miss this little character.
However I know that Eamon and Karen have fallen in love with him and it wouldn’t surprise me if his stay with them is extended.
In my next blog I will give an update on Ella’s pups which I hope to do on a weekly basis. There will also be an update on Nicki and Nero who have both failed their hip X rays which sadly means they have had to retire from the program and we are in the process of finding them new forever homes.
An update on how our pups PD Bill and TPD Brock are doing with their new handlers in South Yorkshire and West Mercia.

There will also be an update on the dogs who all being well will be on the September 2019 Initial Police dog course ie TPD Echo, TPD Ernie, TPD Errol and TPD Nico.

For those of you rushing around constantly on your phones finding life a little stressful take some advice from Ella and our pups ‘Relax a little’

See you next time.

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