Friday 29 November 2019

The F litter enjoy their day out in Exeter and our January 2020 initial police course dogs meet their future dog handlers

The F litter enjoy their day out in Exeter City Centre and they are all progressing well in their training

Since our last blog all of the F litter pups have undergone environmental training in Exeter city centre. Pictured above are TPD Flo, TPD Flint and TPD Fendi. 

With regard to their training they are all doing really well and had a very successful training session last Sunday. 

Over a 2 week period I took all of the pups either individually or in pairs into Exeter city centre to see how their socialisation was going and to give guidance on how to introduce the pups to the hustle and bustle of a busy city centre.

Before setting off into Exeter each day from HQ we took the pups into the clothing stores to see what they made of the steep stairs and the open metal floors.

Here is TPD Fendi making it all look very easy

I was surprised at just how unconcerned all the pups were walking over the see through metallic grid floor. You can see from this video of TPD Franky that it is an unusual floor for a dog to walk over.

Before going into Exeter we also did a short tracking session with each pup. I like to do a tracking session on all of our training days because it is such an important exercise for an operational Police dog.

Here is TPD Floyd already showing that he fully understands how to follow a trail left by a person.

After the tracking we then made our way into Exeter city centre.

Here are Jeanette and TPD Freya sitting quietly watching the world go by and then confidently tackling the shiny marble stairs and shiny floors in the shopping precinct.

Here are Simon and TPD Floyd going down the same stairs which are not easy for a young dog to negotiate. In the past we have had several dogs very unhappy with these stairs.
Whilst these sessions are primarily about development they also give me an insight into their individual characters, their general confidence and how resilient they are.
Their puppy tests at 7 weeks had already identified that they had all started out as confident pups and so any instances of caution or uncertainty during the visit would indicate not enough socialisation had taken place and needed addressing.

TPD Freddy and TPD Franky pictured here with Rod and Rich didn’t find the day at all stressful.

The pups are not rushed and we spend several hours giving them time to take it all in at their own pace.
Here are Colin and TPD Finni taking in the sights and sounds.

Here is TPD Floyd in the car park very sensibly and confidently weighing up the automatic doors opening and a shopping trolley coming his way.

Here are Simon and TPD Floyd paying their respects to the statue of one of Exeter’s illustrious sons

Richard Hooker 1554 -1600 writer and Theologian.

Richard Hooker has witnessed many of our pups being photographed on his famous steps. Here is Lyn with TPD Flo and me with TPD Fozzy.
They were greeted enthusiastically by the workers putting up the Xmas market.

Talking about paying our respects TPD Freddy and TPD Franky met these very fine gentlemen who made a fuss of all of the pups during our visits.
All the pups without exception strolled around Exeter city centre as if they had been there countless times. Here are Sarah (C) with TPD Flint and Sarah (B) with TPD Fendi making their way down the high street.

Here they are meeting some new friends.

It certainly wasn’t cheap buying all of my puppy walkers a Latte each but it was worth every penny just to see how well they all did.
Meanwhile the chill out twins TPD Freddy and TPD Franky weren’t in a hurry to do very much.

Then Rod said something about popping into Debenhams to get a new cravat.
I have to say I think the pups were an excellent advertisement for our puppy program and I was very proud of them all.
I was particularly pleased with TPD Finni who had not been so confident having recently changed puppy walkers but she has really come on in leaps and bounds with Colin and Mitzi.

I will leave the last word to the terrible twins TPD Freddy and TPD Franky who ended up completely tyred out.

The F litter training on Sunday 24 Nov

From left to right at the morning session were TPD Fozzy, TPD Freya, TPD Finni and TPD Freddy. 
From left to right in the afternoon session were TPD Flo, TPD Franky, TPD Freya, TPD Flint and TPD Floyd.

The f litter have just turned 5 months old and look a lot different than they did when they were 5 weeks old.
Generally the F litter all seem to have lovely temperaments. There are a couple of the litter who are reactive to seeing other dogs and a number of the puppy walkers are having issues with their pups pulling on the lead. 
Over the coming weeks and months I will be conducting individual training sessions to address these issues. The litter have inherited very strong working drives from their parents and so pulling on lead does unfortunately come with the territory.

We started our training sessions with tracking work as we always do. Now that the pups are much bigger I introduced them to wearing a tracking harness. Here is Rich tracking with TPD Franky.
For the uninitiated tracking is following the trail of person. As the dog follows the trail a line is attached to the dog so that the handler can remain with the dog. The tracks ( Trails) can go on for miles sometimes and so a line attached to the collar would choke the dog.
For this reason we attach a harness which fits around the dog with a ring attached to the dogs back to make it more comfortable pulling forward as demonstrated here by TPD Flo.

On this next track I didn’t transfer the lead from TPD Floyds collar to the harness and you can see how much harder it was for TPD Floyd pulling on lead. I could lie and say that I did it for demonstration purposes but Im afraid I just forgot.

I don’t want to tempt fate but I think this litter have special working qualities and I’m very excited to see just what level we could reach with these dogs.

After tracking we did some searching for an article in bushes and undergrowth.

Here is TPD Flint eager to get going.

Here is TPD Floyd  who having worked so hard to find this glove isn’t about to give it up.
We then went into a building to do some work on sit and down stays and focus work.
Here is Karen working with TPD Freddy on his sit stay.
These exercises are vitally important because they build a bond and focus between dog and handler which will help with overall control and lots of other exercises.
Here is Ian working with TPD Fozzy on his down stay.
Look at TPD Floyd here, every fibre in his body is saying I adore you and I just want interact to and be with you.

The key is little and often and most important of all finishing the session with the dog saying I want to carry on and do some more. Talk to your dog with lots of quiet praise when your dog is doing what you require.
Be spontaneous and suddenly break off for a game of tug or just play like a complete fool for no particular reason other than keeping your dog’s spirits high. Here is Rich doing some puppy heelwork.
Considering this was their first time working in a building and with all the smells and stains on the carpet from all the hundreds of previous dogs that have worked in there I thought their focus was amazing.
Add to that the puppy walkers would have felt under pressure working individually in front of me and the other walkers.

This is testament to the work these marvellous puppy walkers have put in. Here are TPD Freya, TPD Flo and TPD Fendi showing amazing focus.

Well done to you all.

Our January intial course dogs meet their future handlers

From left to right are Puppy walker Stewart with TPD Jay and behind them TPD Jay’s new handler Ed Harris with his wife Charlette and Stewart’s wife Alison. Centre is puppy walker Jill with Rebel and behind Danni Howett who will be TPD Rebel’s new handler. Right is TPD Arnie with puppy walker Andy & new handler Dean Barker.
This was effectively our last group training day because the following week  TPD Jay and TPD Arnie were allocated to their future handlers ED Harris and Dean Barker for the January 2020 Initial Police dog course.

It was great for the puppy walkers to meet the handlers who were going to be handling their dogs on the course in January. We were also joined by the course Instructor for the January course Phil Wilson.

This was the third training day that Phil had taken the time to come out and see the dogs with their puppy walkers and it was very much appreciated.

We started with our tracking work and here is Andy quite rightly proud of the standard he has achieved with his dog TPD Arnie.

We then did some work on searching for hidden criminals and getting the dogs to bark indicating to their handler that they have located someone. Danni clearly enjoyed working with TPD Rebel.

Danni had previously handled and looked after TPD Rebel on her 3 day handler assessment to get onto the dog section.

TPD Rebel certainly enjoyed this game indicating me up in a tree.
I don’t think anyone is going to argue with TPD Jay but then again I don’t think they would argue with Stewart either.
I set the puppy walkers a test to demonstrate the control they had over their dogs. They had to leave their dog in a down stay then go and hide their toy in the woods before returning and releasing them to find it. No problem.
We finished with some criminal work for the dogs and Phil acted as the criminal. The dogs weren’t at all worried or affected by a different criminal.
TPD Arnie certainly wasn’t messing about.

Getting the sleeve off when TPD Jay has got hold of you is easier said than done.

Good luck to Danni and TPD Rebel.
Good luck to Dean and TPD Arnie.

Good luck to Ed and TPD Jay pictured here on handover day.

A painful goodbye to Dino

I brought TPD Dino home from his breeder aged 8 weeks. In the month I had him I took him to the
Devon county show and I taught him to track.

It was obvious to me that he was always going to need an experienced handler and he eventually went to live with Scott Perkins and his family. He has been with Scott for the last 5 months and the plan was for TPD Dino to be his next working GP dog once his Police dog Max retired.

Scott and his family adored him and seeing him on training days I saw nothing to concern me, quite the opposite.

At just over 8 months I was asked to take him for a few days to assess his suitability to continue as a potential general purpose dog.

Sadly my assessment was that he probably possessed too much fighting drive  (ie the will to win) and sharpness to be a general purpose Police dog in this force.

As a result I had to return Dino to his breeder who I know intends to train him and will have no trouble finding a suitable working home for him. My thoughts are with Scott and his family who are devastated. Scott will now work Max until September and who knows may end up with one of our F litter.

From Ella and I bye for now.