From puppies to police dogs - a trainer's diary (Week four)
Date published: 20 April 2009
Have you ever wondered how police dogs get to be so highly trained? Rochdale Online has teamed up with one of Rochdale's best known dog trainers, who works as an outside trainer for Greater Manchester Police, and can reveal the grueling journey from a cuddly puppy into a strictly trained criminal catcher.
This is the time when you really do have to mind where you tread. It either squeals or smells!
The pups seem to have mapped out the kitchen and know where to look for food, where to find mum and where to toilet. We have added two more sleeping areas and interestingly the most popular place with all litters seems to be a small space between the dresser and the cupboards where a small but comfortable bed fits snugly. Sometimes this area is piled high with sleeping puppy bodies whilst the huge whelping bed is empty.
Round about the middle of the week we had yet another scare when mum started with sickness and diarrhoea. A few hours later and two pups were showing similar symptoms. We tipexed those pups we positively identified as having caught the bug and took them along with mother to the vets. Fortunately they were not running a temperature and the pups had not had any sickness.
After two days of scrubbing everything, administering medicine and cleaning up after poorly tummies everything settled down and the pups were back to their lively selves. At this point they were introduced to their new play mat. It was a real hit with puppies pulling on the dangly toys and jumping on the soft mattress. After half an hour of vigorous play they fell asleep on the play mat, confirming it was now their most prized possession.
From now on the pups will be introduced to new experiences every couple of days or so and if the weather remains warm they will be spending more and more time outside where there are larger areas to explore.
Their brains are developing very quickly and stimulation through novel experiences facilitates the process. With little or no stimulation the pups will entertain themselves play fighting which can become out of control or obsessive.
This is also the time when pups should be socializing with humans and fortunately we have plenty of volunteers to come and play with them.
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