The Thin Blue Paw
I am now 13 months old. My training is going very well. Stew says I am changing, I know I am here for a reason – to be a good Police dog.
I love having my nose down on a ‘track’, it could be a fox, badger, dear or rabbits. Stew makes ‘monkey fist’ toys for me, this is me with my favourite one in Shobrooke Park.
I have been on a three day ‘assessment centre’ for potential dog handlers at Devon and Cornwall Police headquarters Exeter, for them, like us, it is pass or fail. The candidates are male and female from Cornwall, Devon and Dorset. The course is to assess future dog handlers for their suitability to join one of the courses run by Devon and Cornwall Police. If they are successful they will be put on a list to join an initial General Purpose Police dog course at a later date.
Stew says my training is becoming more earnest now. More on that later.
As part of my environmental training, Stew took me to the local hospital. As always Stew said, ‘we will only be here about 15 minutes’, never going to happen! Once the staff and patients see me – that’s it! Lots of attention and fuss – I know it’s a hard life, but some dogs have to do it – and that dog has to be me! It was a good experience for me, different floors and smells.
My training is progressing and I am really enjoying it – well, what dog wouldn’t if it involves lots of barking without being told off! The canine development officer is focusing on my ‘bread and butter’ – tracking. I am doing well, when the wind blows the scent off the track my nose makes adjustments for this and I follow the track to a successful find. The sleeve, oh! I love the sleeve! Stew says he feels sorry for the instructor wearing it, they often say, ‘I really felt that!’. And, I won’t let go.
My criminal work is great fun –it’s made that way by the instructors. I really enjoy building searching. An instructor will tease me with a toy, he will run into a building and hide. Stew has to try and keep hold of me, he shouts a warning before I start my search. Obviously I am barking a lot with lots of tail wagging. Stew thinks I sound like a seal! He says it must be the sardines or mackerel I have in my biscuits for breakfast. When I find the ‘bad guy’ I bark even more. Here I am cornering the ‘baddy’, he tried putting me off by banging on metal filing cabinets and shouting – I love it! Doesn’t he look scared!
At the ‘assessment centre’ I was paired with an experienced ex Metropolitan Police dog handler (now with Dorset Police) as I am so strong he was the only one who could handle me. The candidates were closely monitored by the dog school instructors. They were judged on how they cared for the dogs under their charge.
The instructors looked at how they integrated with the dogs, playing, grooming, cleaning up our kennels, (Stew calls them cells – I was in cell six), basic tracking, building search and getting into a vehicle. They also had to work with licensed dogs. Here am I in the cell block in cell six.
When I came home Stew took me for one of my favourite walks which involved several swims in the river. After that I was exhausted – I was so tired I couldn’t eat a juicy marrow bone Stew gave me. I went straight to bed and slept.
Thank you very much Tigger for the gifts, the bandana and snacks. I particularly like the hickory smoked chicken snack – they are yummy!
I have to close now as I have to pack my bedding and my football. Alison and Stew are going away for a week, I am going to stay with the canine development officer and his dog Ella. It should be a fun week.
Until next time – bye for now,