Wednesday, 4 March 2020

Progress Report on the F Litter and New Recruits Jazzman and Jessiejames will be arriving from Austria at the end of March

In this blog

Progress Report on the F Litter and New Recruits Jazzman and Jessiejames will be arriving from Austria at the end of March

Progress Report on the F Litter

The F litter now 8 months are all progressing really well with their environmental training but I do have my concerns regarding one, possibly 2 of the dogs regarding some elements of their  development training.

Here they are individually with their puppy walkers on a recent training day.

TPD Freddy  with puppy walker Andy

TPD Floyd  with puppy walker Simon

TPD Franky  with puppy walkers Leah and Rich

TPD Fozzy  with puppy walker Lyn

TPD Flint  with puppy walkers Sarah and David

TPD Freya  with puppy walkers Jeanette and Phil

TPD Fendi with puppy walker Sarah

TPD Flo with puppy walkers Jill and Terry

TPD Finni  with puppy walker Colin

Now that they all have their adult teeth I have introduced them to the start of criminal work exercises. This is an exercise all working Police dogs should enjoy. Looking at TPD Fozzy here on only his second session he is going to be a very committed dog on this exercise.

TPD Floyd is equally committed on this exercise.

I have also started the dogs on the person search exercise where they are trained to search and locate outstanding criminals or missing persons and to bark to alert their handler that they have located someone.

Here is TPD Freddy with his puppy walker Andy in the early stages of this exercise which we start on a lead.

TPD Freddy has only been with Andy for a short while because he was originally puppy walked by Karen and Rod. Sadly Rod’s health took a turn for the worst and Rod had to call it a day because he wasn’t able to give him the exercise he needed.

I am grateful to Karen and Rod who have already successfully puppy walked PD Nico and tried so hard to make it work for TPD Freddy. You more than played your part and as you will see in this video TPD Freddy is loving life as a trainee Police dog.

Probably our most important and widely used exercise is tracking where we teach the dogs to follow the track or trail of a criminal or vulnerable missing person. Here is Sarah (B) and TPD Fendi showing a tracking intensity and natural ability which is quite exceptional.

Natural tracking ability seems to be a feature of the whole litter. This is TPD Flo tracking in a  heavily fouled field which had just had a herd of deer running around over it before I laid the track.

I taught TPD Flo to track at around 4 months of age and I have no doubt that she is going to be a very special Police tracking dog.

Here is TPD Freddy doing a track with 90 degree turns for the first time and as you can see it is not a problem to him at all. His puppy walker Andy is a serving Police officer with aspirations to become a Police dog handler.

I have been impressed with Andy’s handling skills with TPD Freddy. Andy also puppy walked TPD Arnie who is on the current Initial Police dog course with his new handler Dean Barker. For a first time puppy walker I thought Andy did a great job with TPD Arnie.

Here is TPD Franky tracking with puppy walker Rich a recently retired Police Inspector who from what I have seen with the way he handles and trains TPD Franky could have been a half decent Police dog handler had he not gone in a different career direction in the Police force.

Another superb tracking dog is TPD Floyd with Simon. Unfortunately I didn’t get him on video with my camera to show you just how good he is.

Simon and TPD Floyd are pretty much together 24/7 and their close bond and time spent working together has resulted in an incredibly impressive training and development standard.

Here is TPD Floyd doing some water work with Simon.

In addition to the tracking, criminal work and person searching we have also progressed with our control and focus work. All of the teams are able to do a solid down stay which we will aim to progress to 2 minutes before they start their Initial course in 7 months’ time.

The down stay is the bedrock of so much of our work. Here is TPD Flint with puppy walker Sarah.

Here is TPD Franky with Rich who has an excellent down stay with TPD Franky.

Here is Andy with TPD Freddy working on focus work which not only builds that all important bond it promotes an attentiveness and willingness so essential in any working dog.

Here we are with TPD Floyd, TPD Franky and TPD Flo starting to work in a group which is not always easy with sibling rivalry but so important to be able to work Police dogs in close proximity of each other.

Here is Rich working with TPD Franky in the early stages of formal heelwork.

We train every 2 weeks but with 9 pups I break them down into groups of 3 to make sure everyone gets as much individual tuition as possible.

I have no doubt that some puppy walkers find me constantly taking photo’s somewhat tiresome but it gives me a record and memories of the pups coming through the program and gets the dogs used to being in close contact of each other.

We will soon start preparing the pups for the Devon county show. I am also running individual one on one sessions with the puppy walkers who need extra help. Some of the walkers are finding that at 8 months they are becoming very powerful and they struggle to hold them on a lead.

Here is a good example on our last training day puppy walker John was able to hold onto a very excited TPD Fozzy at the start of the track.

But once TPD Fozzy got into the track he is such a determined dog he pulled John over. Not that TPD Fozzy was worried and he carried on tracking anyway. No bones broken and John is a seasoned veteran who is used to a few tumbles along the way.

Because Sarah (B) had missed our last training session and had requested some help with walking TPD Fendi  I did an individual session for them last week. We did some tracking, some puppy bite work and an introduction to the A frame.

We then went into Exeter city centre where we worked on walking TPD Fendi on a loose lead and I also assessed her reaction to walking on different floor surfaces in Debenhams. TPD Fendi was exceptional and I was very impressed with Sarah’s handling of her.

At the beginning of the blog I mentioned that I had concerns about two of the pups in terms of their working ability. TPD Finni and TPD Freya are both confident environmentally and both are tracking very well.

But neither have been particularly tenacious in terms of their tugging and play. TPD Finni has certainly improved in that area and on her last training day was much better. TPD Freya however is very weak in terms of her determination to play and I will be assessing her further over the coming weeks.

It’s that time of year when the dogs start shedding their coat for the spring and our puppy walkers will need to be extra busy with their grooming kits. Here is TPD Franky’s contribution after just one grooming session.

But doesn’t he look all the better for it.

I get lots of pictures and videos from the puppy walkers which I retweet and use in the blog. One of my favourites is TPD Flint with his puppy walker’s 2 year old grandson Ben.

I often get asked why don’t you purchase the dogs you need as adults to save money and time with raising puppies.

Well for me the picture of young Ben and TPD Flint answers that question at a stroke. We know the history, character, temperament and trustworthiness of our pups having watched them grow with their families.

Here is another excellent example of good temperament where TPD Floyd comes across what he thinks is a woman sitting down in the wood. Note the calm friendly approach from TPD Floyd.

I can well imagine an adult dog raised in kennels having had lots of bite work training and little socialisation growling with hackles up ready to take flight or bite in such circumstances.

Well there you have it a full update on the F litter and so from TPD Franky and his littermates see you next time.

Meet our new recruits Jazzman and Jessiejames who will be arriving from Austria on March 24



Our planned puppies from Lorockmor working dogs for our January 2021 course didn’t materialise as the mating didn’t take. Although the F litter will be able to fill a couple of vacancies for that course I still needed at least 2 more puppies.

Because I couldn’t find any suitable pups in the UK at such short notice I made contact with Michael Stesi an Austrian German shepherd family breeder who had bred a very nice litter of pups. He only breeds a litter each year and has provided dogs previously to Police forces.

I have been in close contact with Michael who has sent me many videos and photographs. Looking at the pictures and video’s It is very clear how healthy and well reared these pups are.

Hopefully they will go on to become our first qualified Police dogs from Austria. Here they are playing with their littermates

TPD Ace still waiting for his chance

TPD Ace was donated to the force in early January this year and has been on standby as the spare dog for the current initial Police dog course.

TPD Rebel, TPD Jay and TPD Arnie are now in week 9 of their 13 week long Initial Police dog course and are all doing really well which means TPD Ace will not now be needed as back up for the dogs on the course.

He has been with me and Ella since I collected him and I have enjoyed having him. He is a real handful and I think he will make an excellent Police dog. I intend to run him on with Ella until a handler can be identified.

My next blog will be a report on the current Initial Police dog course as they prepare for their licensing assessments in 3 weeks’ time.

From Ella and me bye for now. 

Thursday, 20 February 2020

Sasha‘S Boys PD Eyke, PD Ernie and PD Errol Graduate as Operational Police Dogs

Mum Sasha pictured here with her E litter in April 2018  is now the proud mum of 3 operational Police dogs.

Those of you who follow the blog will know that PD Eyke graduated in April 2019, PD Tank ( Previously Errol) graduated in December 2019 and now PD Ernie has just successfully graduated with handler Rachael.

From left to right are brothers PD Eyke with handler Tom Bond, PD Ernie with handler Rachael Prescott and PD Tank ( Formerly Errol) with handler Elizabeth Porcher.

PD Ernie started the September 2019 Initial Police dog course as the spare dog because we didn’t have a handler for him. He completed over 10 weeks of training with the course and in December 2019 he was allocated his own handler Rachael.

Although PD Ernie had already completed a large chunk of his training Rachael still needed to get to know him and so she completed an extra 4 weeks of training in January with Police dog trainer Steve Dutton.

For those of you wondering why PD Ernie didn’t have his own handler on the September course it was because all of the handlers were inexperienced 1st time handlers and PD Ernie is a very strong willed, determined, powerful fast dog who needed an experienced handler.

Here he is showing his excellent tracking skills with Rachael.

At the end of their 4 week training period  Rachael and PD Ernie were independently assessed by Police dog Instructor Justin Andrews from Avon and Somerset Police dog section and passed with flying colours.

Our thanks to Justin and good luck to Rachael and PD Ernie who Im sure will have an excellent future ahead of them. My thanks also to our Instructor Steve pictured here with Rachael and PD Ernie.

Steve has been the trainer of all 3 brothers PD EYKE, PD Ernie and PD Tank ( Errol)

I would like to give a special mention to PD Ernie’s puppy walking family Dave, Viv and their grandson Jack for the significant part that they have played in PD Ernie’s development. Here they are with a very young PD Ernie.
It had been a very emotional time for Racheal because at the end of last year Rachael tragically lost her Police dog Buddy to severe Furunculosis at the age of 6.

PD Buddy had been a very successful Police dog and was Rachael’s first dog from our B litter. Only
Police dog handlers can appreciate how devastating it is to lose your operational best mate and PD Buddy had looked after Rachael through thick and thin.

PD Buddy was one of my favourite dogs and I will never forget even as early as 6 weeks old the way he would look at me with that confident steely gaze which confirmed to me that he was going to be a strong special dog.

Here he is with puppy walkers Lyndsay and Anthony collecting him aged 8 weeks.

You can see it in him here pictured with Rachael and his puppy walkers Anthony and Lindsay at his passing out parade that self-assured inner confidence.

PD Buddy’s life may have been too short but he would have loved every day doing what he was born to do alongside his beloved handler Rachael. RIP Buddy.

 PD Buddy will be a hard act to follow but I can confidently say that PD Ernie is cut from the same cloth. He is a tough nut who does not have a bad bone in his body but woe betide anyone looking for trouble because he is not a dog to back down.

It’s really nice to see Rachael with a smile on her face and a sparkle in her eye again.

What now for Sasha and her E litter?

We are rightly proud that Sasha’s 3 boys have qualified as operational Police dogs and we will follow their journey but what happens now for Sasha and her other 3 pups Elsie, Echo and Ernie.

The E litter were born on the 23rd of February 2018 in our conservatory which is where all of our litters have been born. There were 6 pups which consisted of 4 boys and 2 girls. 

The father of the pups was a dog called Xato vom Sickinger Moorwerk a German import owned by Lyn Camden of Linern German shepherds in Ipswich.
I selected him because of his excellent working aptitude and most importantly his excellent temperament and social nature. I’m unlikely to forget the mating which took place on Boxing day after a 6 hour drive to Ipswich.

Just as she was with her first litter the D litter Sasha was an excellent mum to the E litter. She always had access to her pups from the moment they were born to the day they left with their puppy walkers.

They were a very adventurous litter and always seemed to find a way to escape from whatever barriers I put in place. The worst offender was Errol who would climb any barrier to go off in search of food.

Six pups was an ideal number for Sasha to manage. They were a close knit group and they all got along together without any major dust ups.

Sasha was a very diligent mum always wanting to know where her pups were and she had a presence which meant she rarely had to discipline her pups because a stern stare from her was usually sufficient.

We always provided Sasha with access to her pups 24/7 and an exit so that she could get away from the pups at any time if they became a nuisance.

Here they all are with their puppy walkers about to leave us at 8 weeks. Left to right are Sasha, Elsie,
Errol, Ernie, Echo, Eddie and Eyke.

Elsie was the only pup that didn’t go to a puppy walker. We sold Elsie to Sam who was looking for a companion dog. Sam is very pleased with the way that Elsie has turned out and spends time training her with my friend dog trainer Graham Mabbutt.

Elsie has grown into a lovely looking dog.

The other 5 pups went to their puppy walkers and all thrived showing excellent promise during their development and on their training days.

Here they are at 12 weeks taking part in the Police dog display at the Devon county show.

Here they are on the farm visit at 5 months showing remarkable restraint meeting the livestock. On the right of the Video lying down is PD Ernie once again showing his strength of character and composure.

The training was going remarkably well until they were 7 months old when Eddie began to show sensitivity to certain noises. Up until then Eddie and Alaina were making great progress. His criminal work and tracking were excellent.

He particularly became sensitive to gunfire and loud noises. We monitored this to see if it was a passing phase but once we established it wasn’t I reluctantly had to release him from the program. I was devastated for Alaina who had religiously attended all the training sessions coming up from St Austell.

Alaina decided that she wanted to keep Eddie and he now lives happily with Alaina and her partner Ryan pictured here with Eddie aged 4 months.

The remaining 4 dogs all continued to progress rapidly and I was confident they would all go on to become Police dogs. PD Eyke joined the January 2019 Initial Police dog course aged just 10 months and passed with flying colours.

Echo and Errol were allocated to their handlers for the September 2019 Initial Police dog course and
Ernie also joined the course as the spare dog. Echo then suddenly became very sensitive on certain types of floor surfaces and going into confined spaces.

This was a huge surprise as she had shown no such issues throughout her puppyhood and was outstanding in all of her work. Her tenacity on her tracking and her bite work was exceptional as demonstrated here.

Here she is in the centre pictured with Errol and Ernie on one of her last training days.
Reluctantly we had to release Echo from the program and although her puppy walking family loved her they decided that living in a small house would not have suited Echo long term. Just as with Eddie I was devastated for Paul and Michelle because they had attended every training day with Echo.

Here she is with her puppy walking family shortly before leaving them to go to her new home.

As we always do we took our time making sure we found her the right home for Echo and we placed her with experienced GSD owners Alix and Peter who live near Dartmouth. They are sailing enthusiasts and Echo regularly goes on the boat wearing her life jacket.

So what about mum Sasha. Well after 2 litters we decided that Sasha had more than played her part for the Police family and she is now enjoying retirement with her carers and now owners Les and Julie who live near Bath.

She never gave us any trouble during the time she was living with us and was just a lovely dog to have around. Les and Julie absolutely adore her and will give her a brilliant home for the rest of her life.

Thank you Les and Julie and thank you Sasha for 2 great litters and lots of great memories.

PD Rana recovers from illness and qualifies as an operational Police Dog

I am so happy to report that Jenna and PD Rana have qualified as an operational Police dog team and will be working at Ferndown Dorset.

I am particularly pleased for Jenna who has had some real lows on her journey. She started with Echo who was with her for several months. They had a super bond and were progressing nicely when Echo developed a phobia on certain floor surfaces and had to be retired.

She was allocated PD Rana and they were going great guns up to 8 weeks into the September Initial Police dog course when PD Rana became ill.

PD Rana was diagnosed with intestinal issues and had to leave the course. She lost weight and It was nearly 6 weeks before she recovered. She then continued her training for another 6 weeks with Chris Burridge the Dorset Police dog section environmental trainer.

I went up to see how they were getting on a couple of weeks ago as they prepared for their licensing assessment.

It was an absolute pleasure seeing the very high standard that Jenna and PD Rana had achieved together. Here they are tracking together.

The track they successfully completed was half a mile long with multiple changes of direction and articles hidden on route and over 30 minutes old. I was unable to film it all but I have included the end of the track to demonstrate their relationship and how a dog should be played and interacted with.

They then performed a stand-off exercise where PD Rana was sent on a chase and attack after the running criminal who then stopped running and gave himself up. PD Rana performed the perfect stand-off which is to bark and wait to be joined by her handler.

Jenna and Rana then demonstrated an excellent emergency recall. This is where the dog is sent in pursuit of a fleeing criminal and the handler has to demonstrate that they can instruct their dog to terminate the chase and return to their handler.

Next the team demonstrated a very determined long straight chase and detain and call off.

I was extremely impressed with the wood search that the team conducted to locate a hidden criminal. Jenna and Rana had never searched this location before and the search was performed without any form of stimulation to tune the dog in.

PD Rana ranged off like an experienced dog and when she located the criminal she was required to bark for an extended period of time before getting her reward.

She then performed several short searches for the criminal in various lying and sitting positions.
I know from the quality of her breeding that she is capable of such exceptional work but credit must also go to her trainers and her handler Jenna.
She was bred by Walther Verbruggen in Belgium.

She was puppy walked by Colin and Mitzi Belsher who must also be congratulated for the huge part that they have also played in her development.
I am hoping that PD Ernie and PD Rana will be attending the passing out parade of the dogs on the current Initial Police dog course to receive their certificates and to give their puppy walkers the opportunity to share in their success.
Meanwhile the dogs on the current Initial Police dog course TPD Jay ,TPD Arnie and TPD Rebel have just completed 7 weeks of their training and are all making excellent progress. I went out to see them today and will be doing a blog on their progress next week.

This means that TPD Ace who I have been running on as the spare dog for the course will not now be needed on the current Initial course and so he will be staying with me until a handler is identified. I enjoy having him around and he will make someone a fantastic Police dog.

I will also be including in my next blog individual reports on all of the F litter dogs.
From me and Ella bye for now.