Thursday 23 January 2020

In todays blog: - An update on the development and progress of the f litter

Today’s blog is all about the F litter with an update on just what they have been doing during December and January this year. Pictured above are TPD Finni, TPD Franky and TPD Flint on one of our fortnightly training sessions.

December and January has been a busy couple of months for our F litter puppy walking teams.
In addition to our fortnightly development group sessions we have also conducted individual loose lead walking sessions, held our Xmas puppy day and introduced criminal work and person searching into our training.

For those of you who are new to our blog the F litter were born on the 21st of June 2019. There were 9 pups in the litter and we have retained all of them for our Police puppy program.

Here are the teams.

TPD Finni with puppy walkers Mitzi and Colin.

TPD Fendi with puppy walker Sarah.

TPD Freya with puppy walkers Phil and Jeanette.

TPD Flo with mum Ella at our house.

From the moment the F litter was born I  decided to run on one of the pups TPD Flo and that she would live with me and Ella.  There were two reasons I decided to do this. One was that I just enjoy training a young pup. The other was that I could then use TPD Flo to demonstrate to the other puppy walkers what we were trying to achieve.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to fully achieve this because in my role as the Canine development officer I regularly have dogs living with me on assessment and I haven’t always been able to give TPD Flo the time and socialisation she needed.

As a compromise I asked Chris Walter a regular helper and puppy walker to look after TPD Flo for me for short periods when I had dogs to assess and look after. Chris would have loved to take TPD Flo full time but with his 7 month old son William to look after that would have been too much.

Here is Chris with TPD Flo and his young son William.

I should also mention Chris’s older son Henry who has also helped out with TPD Flo and many other pups on training days. Here is a slightly younger TPD Flo with Chris and Henry.

TPD Franky with puppy walker Rich.

TPD Flint with puppy walkers Sarah and Dave.

TPD Fozzy with puppy walkers Lyn and John.

TPD Floyd with puppy walker Simon and daughter Krista.

TPD Freddy with puppy walker Rod.

Our puppies are allocated to our volunteer puppy walking families at 8 weeks. They then live with the family whose primary objective is to socialise and introduce them to as many different situations and circumstances as possible until they are between 12 and 18 months when they leave the family to go to their Police dog handler.

Here they all are with mum Ella and dad PD Drake and their new puppy walkers at our house where they were born and bred aged 8 weeks.
We recognise that our pups are extremely energetic and highly driven pups who need much more physical and mental stimulation than the average pet puppy.

To help the puppy walkers we run voluntary fortnightly puppy development classes where we show our puppy walkers how to channel that energy through play and also start to develop some of the core exercises that they will undertake as operational Police dogs.

Since they started training classes at 11 weeks of age their training has included Focus exercises like the recall, retrieve, the sit & down stay, letting go of a possession on command, searching for a toy and also tracking or following a trail. Here they all are on their first training day.

Their parents PD Drake and Ella are both excellent working dogs with particular ability in tracking or trailing.

Here is TPD Freya patiently waiting for her turn to track and already showing natural ability to follow a track on a training day in December.

I always try to include a tracking session on all of our developmental training days because all Police dog handlers require an excellent tracking dog to locate criminals and vulnerable missing persons.

Here is Ian with TPD Fozzy already showing the intense concentration needed to be a top tracking dog which seems natural to all of the litter.

In December the pups were 6 months old and almost adult size which necessitated additional individual training to make sure that the puppy walkers are able to walk their dogs on a lead without being pulled all over the place.

TPD Floyd and Simon showing here perfect environmental heelwork where the dog is fully under the handlers control walking on a loose lead.

Simon was also able to demonstrate that he can pick TPD Floyd up with him remaining relaxed and fully accepting of constriction.

Up until now the pups have been allowed to meet lots of people and other dogs in the socialisation process. But now that they are nearly fully grown and no longer cute puppies we have to bring in more control. Here is TPD Freddy with Rod walking beautifully.

The dogs now have to learn that they must pass other dogs and ignore them and that they shouldn’t pull over to every person that they meet on their walks.

Here is TPD Franky with Rich, TPD Fendi with Sarah and TPD Freya with Jeanette all working on walking with their dogs under control.

When in areas such as parks or beaches we school the dogs to walk on a long line using our foot as a brake to stop the dogs trying to charge over to other dogs and distractions. Here I am demonstrating the technique with TPD Freya.

This type of training needs to be done individually and is carried out in addition to our group classes. It is ongoing and will be repeated again in early February.

On the 22nd of December we had our Xmas puppy class at Caddihoe scout camp for all the pups and their puppy walkers.

The Xmas challenge was for all of the puppy walkers to lay a trail for their own pup and they then had to go and get their dog to run the track. Although it was a straightforward 50 metre straight line the fact that all the puppy walkers set off at the same time was a challenge in itself.

There was the reward of a pig’s ear for the successful completion of the track. I’m happy to say that all of the pups successfully completed their track and gratefully accepted their pigs ear.

Each team had two further challenges. One was to complete a 100 metre recall and a 30 metre retrieve of their toy. Each handler had to get their pup to return with the toy and to release it on command.

TPD Floyd was the overall winner of the combined 3 challenges. But then TPD Floyd does like to be in the driving seat.

My thanks to everyone who brought Xmas drinks, cakes and mince pies for us all to enjoy in between training exercises.

After a very enjoyable and successful Xmas training session here we all are making our way for our group photo.

After Xmas our first training session in 2020 was again up at Caddihoe scout camp where as always we concentrated on our tracking training. We changed the training from tracking for food on the track to having a toy hidden at the end of the track.

Here I am explaining to Simon the new routine with TPD Floyd becoming bored and frustrated because he just wants to get going.

Once he does get going note the intense concentration and focus.

It will take a few more sessions until the dogs realise they are tracking for their toy instead of food. We then did some article searching in the woods which all the dogs loved.

I then gave a demonstration with TPD Flo of focus work, heelwork and the stay exercises for the other walkers to practise between sessions.

Our most recent training day last week took place at Mamhead house which is a beautiful setting. The weather was absolutely atrocious on the first day for TPD Flint and TPD Freya with gail force winds and driving rain.

TPD Flint didn’t worry about that and made it very clear as soon as he arrived it was time to get started.

Despite the conditions both dogs completed excellent tracks but I was unable to film them because the camera would have been waterlogged.

On this series of training sessions I introduced the start of criminal work and also the start of searching for hidden persons in a building. TPD Flint was well up for the introduction of criminal work.

Here is Sarah practising her down stay with TPD Flint.

TPD Fozzy’s puppy walkers Lyn and John couldn’t make this training session as they were away for 10 days. Terry and Jill pictured here on the left have volunteered to look after him while they are away.  TPD Fendi with Sarah are centre and TPD Flo with Chris on the right.

I was really pleased with the tracking performance of all of the dogs who attended the latest training session because the area we used had recently had a herd of deer pass over it and it was impossible to see the track meaning the handlers had to have total trust in their dogs.

Here is Sarah with TPD Fendi showing excellent concentration whilst tracking.

I would like to give a special mention to Terry and Jill both in their mid-seventies who have only just finished puppy walking TPD Rebel who is on the current Initial Police dog course.

Terry had a heart attack just before Xmas but I’m happy to say that he is now on the mend. Volunteering to help out with TPD Fozzy is just so typical of the incredible commitment of Terry and Jill over many years to our puppy program.

TD Rebel will be the 12th puppy that they have puppy walked.

Here is TPD Fozzy tracking with Terry.

The pups are now 7 months old and are over their teething issues. They are physically much stronger and are now at an age where we can progress and develop their training further. Having started their criminal work and person searching the sessions will become more and more exciting over the coming months.

TPD Fozzy was extremely determined on his first introduction to the puppy bite bar.

TPD Floyd is pictured here on the introduction to Person searching where we train the dogs to bark to alert their handlers that they have located someone.
( Show Pic 34)

Here are the double act TPD Floyd with Simon and TPD Franky with Rich practising their sit and focus.

Here are TPD Franky with Rich and TPD Floyd with Simon practising their down stay.

I have included a  video of TPD Franky with Rich who made a difficult track with 3 deviations included look very easy.

I would like to thank all of our puppy walkers for their dedication and hard work preparing the F litter. Potentially there are a lot of handlers needing dogs for the September 2020 Initial Police dog course and so we are going to be busy getting the F litter ready over the coming months.

TPD Freddy has to move on to new puppy walkers

TPD Freddy has been puppy walked by Karen and Rod. ( Show Pic 38) Sadly Rod is having some health issues and is unable to give TPD Freddy the exercise and time he needs. Karen and Rod are devastated to give him up.

They successfully puppy walked PD Nico who graduated on our last Police dog course in December and wanted to see it through with TPD Freddy. I would like to thank them both for all of their hard work and some great memories raising both dogs.

TPD Freddy has gone to Andy Parsons and his family in Plymouth. Andy successfully puppy walked

TPD  Arnie who is on the current Initial Police dog course with handler Dean Barker.

Here is TPD Freddy having already settled in with Andy and his family.

I know that Andy will keep in touch with Karen and Rod about TPD Freddy’s progress and so will I.

TPD Ace is still waiting for a handler

I reported in my last blog that TPD Ace who has been kindly donated to the force by the Kurn family in Liskeard would be staying with me until a handler could be identified for him. He is a wonderful dog and I have no doubt he has all the qualities to make an outstanding Police dog.

He gets on well with my dog Ella and has settled well into the house.

But he is a dog who needs to be stimulated both mentally and physically and more importantly should have his own handler full time. The current Initial Police dog course is in week 3 with all 3 dogs doing well.

Hopefully that will continue but that will mean that we may have to find TPD Ace a suitable handler in another Police force. It would be a big loss to our Alliance but we must do what is right for TPD Ace.

My next blog will be an update on how TPD Rebel, TPD Arnie and TPD Jay are getting on with their Initial Police dog course. I also hope to be able to report that TPD Rana and TPD Ernie have qualified as operational Police dogs after completing a short finalisation course.

From Ella and me bye for now. 

Tuesday 14 January 2020

First blog of 2020, Initial Dog Course, update and a meet!

In this blog

  • TPD Jay, TPD Rebel and TDP Arnie start their 13 week initial police dog course
  • An update on TDP Ernie and TDP Rana
  • Meet TDP Ace
TPD Jay, TPD Rebel and TDP Arnie start their 13 week initial police dog course

The 2020 January General purpose Initial Police dog course started on January 6th and will run for 13 weeks. On the course from left to right are Ed Harris with TPD Jay, course Instructor Phil Wilson, Danni Howett with TPD Rebel and TPD Arnie with Dean Barker.

The boys certainly looked very different when they first arrived.




Meet the teams

TPD Jay and PC Ed Harris.  Ed is a first time handler and on successful completion of the 13 week course they will be posted to Plymouth.

TPD Jay (Obi) and his brother TPD Arnie (Oscar) were born on the 19th August 2018 and were bred by Bernard Horton of Kazzardsway German shepherds in Manchester.

I remember bringing the two boys back from Manchester and letting them have a leg stretch in our garden before taking them to HQ for allocation to their puppy walkers. They were very confident and self-assured exploring the whole garden.

TPD Jay has been puppy walked by Stewart and Alison Fleming. Here they are collecting TPD Jay from the dog training school aged 8 weeks.

TPD Rebel and PC Dani Howett. Dani is a first time handler and on successful completion of the course will be posted to Ferndown dog centre in Dorset.

TPD Rebel was born on the 5th of August 2018 and was supplied to us by Ian Morgan of Lorockmor working dogs in Shropshire.

TPD Rebel has been puppy walked by experienced puppy walkers Terry and Jill Hodge who are pictured here collecting him from my house aged 8 weeks.

TPD Arnie and PC Dean Barker. Dean is also a first time handler and on successful completion of the course will be posted to Plymouth dog centre in Plymouth.

TPD Arnie as already mentioned is the brother of TPD Jay bred by Bernard Horton of Kazzardsway German shepherds.

TPD Arnie has been puppy walked by Andy Parsons and his family pictured here at their home aged 10 weeks.

Last but not least is our course Instructor Phil Wilson who will be Instructing on his first Initial course and we wish him luck. 


Our puppy program has been running very successfully for over 30 years. Initially we acquired puppies from established breeders and placed them with puppy walking families who socialised and looked after them until allocation to a Police dog handler.

This has evolved to a situation where we still acquire puppies from established breeders but we also now breed our own puppies and our puppy walkers are much more involved in the actual training of the puppies.

Here are TPD Jay, TPD Arnie and TPD Rebel on their first training/development day.

Here is TPD Rebel in the early stages of his sit stay.

Here is TPD Arnie in the early stages of his down stay.

Here is TPD Jay doing some work on the ramps.

By the time the pups have become adults and before they are allocated  to their handlers our pups have already reached a very  impressive level of performance on many of the core exercises such as general control, tracking, person searching, article searching and use of force exercises such as the straight chase.

This means the dogs are already at a very good level when they start their Initial Police dog course which in turn means when they start operational deployment they are much better prepared going forward.

Here is Andy with TPD Arnie showing excellent tracking potential with his impressive concentration and obvious enjoyment of this exercise.

Here is Stewart with a very young TPD Jay already showing determination and boldness on the chase and detain exercise.

Here are TPD Rebel and TPD Arnie showing that they are not backward in coming forward either when it comes to criminal work.

They were very impressive at the Devon county show last year aged only 9 months and were a credit to their puppy walkers and the Alliance.

Whenever we start a new Initial Police dog course I like to do a blog introducing the dog teams and showing the work the puppy walkers have done to get the dogs this far.

I always find it very emotional going back over the photos and seeing all the good times we had together on our puppy classes. I know just how much commitment our puppy walkers put into their pups and how much heartache there is for the puppy walkers whose pups don’t make it.

The 3 dogs and their puppy walkers had their last training day together in November last year and I was really thrilled to see the 3 new prospective handlers Ed, Dean and Dani and course Instructor

Phil all turn up to see the dogs perform and to meet the puppy walkers.

Once the course started  I went out with the course several times during their first week to see how they had all settled in and to be on hand if any of the handlers or Instructor Phil had any questions or queries.

Here is TPD Jay searching and locating a hidden person to his handler Ed.
Here is TPD Rebel doing some focus work with handler Danni.
Unfortunately TPD Rebel cut his pad the week before the course which required stitches and so we had to restrict a lot of his work until the stitches are removed this Monday.

We were able to do some work with TPD Rebel wearing a boot. Here he is just about to be introduced to a wood search.
He was also able to perform the tracking exercise on the soft grass.
Here is TPD Arnie doing some focus work with handler Dean.
The 13 week General purpose Initial Police dog course is without doubt the most demanding dog training course there is. The reason the course is so demanding is because of the wide range of skills, disciplines and diversity of different tasks that a General purpose Police dog has to master.

The dogs will be conditioned to follow tracks or trails of criminals who have left a crime scene or of vulnerable missing persons across all types of terrain.  Here is Ed  with  TPD Jay and Dean with TPD Arnie in the early stages of this exercise.

They will learn to search for outstanding criminals and vulnerable missing persons using air scent and to indicate to their handler when they have found them by barking.

They will learn to deal with violent volatile crowds and to defend their handler against attack. They will learn to chase and detain a fleeing criminal and to disarm a criminal who is armed with a weapon.

Here are TPD Jay and TPD Arnie both extremely committed dogs performing a straight chase.

Here is Ed and TPD Jay completing the early stages of the long jump together. Fortunately as the long jump increases in length only the dog has to jump over it which is just as well because I think it might have been a problem for Ed in those tight trousers.

So far so good and I hope to do a full update on their progress around half way through the course.




For those of you who follow the blog you will be aware that TPD Rana only completed 9 weeks of last year’s Initial Police dog course before picking up a severe gastrointestinal illness and although
TPD Ernie completed most of the course we were unable to find a handler for TPD Ernie until the end of the course.

TPD Rana now appears fully recovered and will be doing a 4 week catch up course in Dorset with her handler Jenna Bushby and Instructor Chris Burridge.

TPD Ernie has started a 4 week finalisation course in force with his new handler Racheal Prescott and Instructor Steve Dutton.

Hopefully both will successfully complete their courses.  Jenna and TPD Rana will be posted to Ferndown in Dorset and Rachael will be posted to Ashburton with TPD Ernie.

I’m hoping that both teams will join the passing out parade of TPD’S Rebel, Arnie and Jay so that their families and puppy walkers can share in the success of their pups.


TPD Ace has been donated to the force by Angie Kurn and her family in Liskeard . They rescued him aged 6 months but now aged around 18 months he has so much drive, energy and enthusiasm that the family are unable to give him the exercise that he needs. 

They would not accept any money for Ace and just want him to have a good home where he will be happy. Having had him living with me for the last week I can vouch for the fact that he does not belong in a pet home.

Here he is enjoying charging around the garden with my female Ella.
I think he has all the qualities to be a Police dog and although we do not have a place for him on the current Police dog course he is enjoying living with us until a vacancy materialises.
I hope to do a blog half way through the current Initial Police dog course to update everyone on how the teams are doing.

From Ella and I bye for now.