Police appeal for extra puppy walkers

Help puppies like these become the police dogs of the future

Police are appealing for members of the public to volunteer to become puppy walkers.

The growing success of Devon and Cornwall police’s puppy scheme has led to an increase in demand for willing walkers.

The force is looking to recruit 10 further puppies into the training school by the end of the year, with the first two being recruited this week.

Led by a team of dog trainers based at Middlemoor, Exeter, the police dog school trains puppies from 12 months of age alongside their police dog handlers. Once fully trained the German shepherd dogs will be able to assist tracking missing people, locate stolen property, chase and detain suspects, and keep order in crowd control situations.

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Before reaching this stage the pups are reared in homes until they have reached their first birthday - when they embark on an intensive 13-week training course.

Due to the scheme’s growing success more puppy walkers are now needed and for the first time the trainers are casting their net beyond Devon.

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Sergeant Paul Glennon said: “In the past we have kept our puppy walkers fairly local to Middlemoor but now we are expanding the scheme and in order to find the best people to look after our dogs we are looking for homes in Cornwall as well as 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.”

“All puppy walkers must have a settled family background, a secure garden and are willing to undertake daily exercise, grooming and care with the dog.”

The puppies are placed with the puppy walker at eight weeks of age and it is the responsibility of the walker to expose the dog to a variety of situations such as a bustling town centre, busy roadside and rough terrain.

Throughout the year the puppy walkers receive training and socialisation advice from the dog training school and can attend weekly puppy classes.

The force also pays for any food and veterinary bills during the year.

If you are interested in becoming a puppy walker, and meet the qualities needed, call the dog training school on (01392) 452410.

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