Walking the police puppy: dog unit looks for volunteers to help with young canine recruits
The Tri-Force Dog unit wants volunteers to help develop and train potential police dogs of the future. The unit, which is made up of Wiltshire, Gloucester and Avon & Somerset dog handlers, is looking for people to foster puppies.
Sometimes, they may also need assistance in homing one of the potential specialist search dogs before it goes on a training course. These dogs would be aged between six and 18 months and normally be a Spaniel or Labrador breed.
Volunteers to provide weekend and holiday cover for puppy walkers will also be needed.
Police Dog Instructor Gary Isom said: "As a puppy fosterer, the puppy would live with you at home from seven weeks old. Under normal circumstances, the puppy would remain with you for at least six months and would then be allocated to a handler between six and 12 months old."
"Obviously the puppies are incredibly cute when they are very young and I am sure there will be thousands of people that would love to give them a home, but you must be able to answer 'yes' to a set of questions, and only serious applicants with experience in training dogs will be considered."
"The early months in the development of these puppies are the most crucial and can bring a real challenge - it will require a great deal of commitment and time from yourself and your family."
"The puppies are highly driven and are not the type of dogs that are happy to sleep all day. They therefore need lots of regular training, exercise and stimulation and cannot be left alone for excessive periods of time. Ideally, they need someone who is at home, or works from home to give them 24/7 supervision in the early weeks.”
To become a puppy walker, you need to answer YES to the following questions:
* Do you have experience or a very keen interest in training dogs?
* Are you able to live with a large, strong dog for at least 12 months?
* Are you physically capable of walking and controlling a large, energetic dog on a lead?
* Do you have access to a vehicle for safe transportation of the dog?
* Do you have a suitable home environment to allow a dog crate to be allocated?
* Are you able to provide a secure garden area?
* Are you able to attend regular training sessions?
* Do you have lots of spare time to introduce the dog to as many new environments & experiences as possible?
* Are you able to ensure that someone would be at home with the puppy 24/7 in the early weeks?
They should - please - include examples of their previous experience in training dogs.