Doggy paddle proves the remedy for police pup Fred

A Devon and Cornwall Police puppy is due to start police dog training following an innovative therapy to treat a canine joint problem.

Six month old German shepherd Fred was diagnosed with hip displacia at an early age which meant he had a lack of mobility in his back legs.

Following a course of hydrotherapy sessions in the pool, the future now looks bright for Fred as he has passed his assessment to begin police dog training in January.

Sergeant Paul Glennon said: “Fred’s police dog career looked like it was over before it had begun but following his hard work in the pool, he is now one of eight puppies about to begin their training as police dogs.

“Fred was literally thrown in at the deep end and has worked hard to ease his stiff joints and build up the muscles in his legs. There is now no reason why he won’t go on to become a successful police dog able to assist tracking missing people, locate stolen property, chase and detain suspects, and keep order in crowd control situations.”

Fred initially joined the force through the Devon and Cornwall police puppy scheme which has been so successful there is now an increase in demand for willing puppy walkers.

Through the scheme, appropriate volunteers look after the puppies until they reach 12 months of age when they embark on an intensive 13-week training course.

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All puppy walkers must have a settled family background, a secure garden and be willing to undertake daily exercise, grooming and care of the dog.

Sgt Glennon said: “In order to find the best people to look after our dogs we are looking for homes in Devon, Cornwall and even Somerset. What is most important is that we find the right people who have the time, patience and determination to give our dogs the best start in life.

“To help us give these dogs to get the best start to their training we need more walkers to come forward. Ideal applicants will have previous experience caring for dogs but what is most important to us is that they share our aim to produce a well-balanced, confident and social dog at the end of the year.”

Walkers are given training and socialisation advice from the force dog training school and can attend weekly puppy classes. The force also pays for any food and veterinary bills.

Anyone interested in becoming a puppy walker can contact the Devon and Cornwall police dog training school on (01392) 452410.

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