These Blogs always seem to go along the same sort of lines, however the interaction 'Bandit' got on Twitter during the short time he was with us was really heart warming. The number of people who came up to see him whilst he was at Crufts was crazy! And in true Bandit style he managed to be the talk of the Police Dog demo after managing to slip out of his harness.
|Bandit managing to stay IN his harness at Crufts|
It really was typical Bandit behaviour!
It's always a great feeling knowing that all of the hard work (& tears) you go through in getting the dogs ready for a course has paid off. It's what makes the awful experience of D-Day all worthwhile. I must admit that whenever we hear that our pups are now licensed Police Dogs it does bring a little tear of joy into our eyes.
I know there's a few puppy walkers who've experienced D-Day for the first time recently & it really is a horrible day. I always try & tell people that they really don't realise just how bad D-Day is, honestly you just can't put into words how you will feel. Even after doing what we've done for so long, let me assure you, D-Day doesn't get any easier - and anyone who say's anything different is lying!
Bandit was a completely different project for us, having taken him on when he was around 5 months old. It was the first time we'd not had a dog from 6 weeks old, so it was a nice challenge to take on a 'difficult' dog who'd come back into the kennels from a puppy walker.
|Bandit with 'his' door mat he liked to sit on|
At the time Sear went back, because it was unexpected, we hadn't got anything lined up for our next puppy and because of our trip out to the Far East we weren't in a position to take on another baby puppy. We'd only got 11 weeks before we flew out to Thailand, so we took a trip upto the kennels to see what we could work with & this is where Bandit stood out.
From the very first time I saw Bandit, the one thing he had in abundance was 'character' & throughout all of the time we had him his character was always shining through. He was a little bugger & without doubt the noisiest dog we've ever had! Thankfully we have extremely understanding neighbours & to be fair the only time he ever barked was when he heard or saw something.
|Bandit with the inspirational Ben Parkinson MBE|
What has made it rewarding for us was that in just a short space of time we took Bandit on and quickly instilled the foundations to help get him through a course. From day 1, Bandit had the desire to chase & play with a ball, which made life a lot easier.
By the time he left us, we felt Bandit had enough about him to work with in order to get him through a course.It was really rewarding to take him on & put enough time & work into him to give him a solid foundation & platform to get through a course.
It's been 9 months since we penned our 'Bandit Bye-Byes' Blog, but it's been great that he's been able to mature & spend some time with his handler without having to go straight out onto the streets as a young dog.
A lot of the work to get Bandit through his course has come from his handler. Whilst we'd laid the foundations he was nowhere near upto a Sear or Izzy standard, so a lot of credit has to go to Bandit's handler for putting the time into him. At the end of the day it is the handler who goes on the course with him & works day in, day out with the pups to get them licensed.
People often label us a 'Police Dog Trainers' however I'm always quick to try to play down that label. I've seen lots of comments around the internet about what we do & we're often described as Police Dog Trainers, however for me, there's only 1 person who can ever train a dog to become a 'Police Dog' and that's his handler.
So much is made of dogs passing a licensing course & being given the license to become an operational Police Dog, however there's so much more to becoming a Police Dog than passing a licensing course.
All of the hard work that goes into the puppies, followed by the training they do during an initial course means very little when the dog is out on there on the streets. It's absolutely impossible to recreate real life. We saw in the last few weeks the story of Police Dog Fuzz being beaten with a metal baton during an incident, Police Dog Gino fighting with a criminal intent on strangling him to death and a few years ago Police Dog Stig who was stabbed in the face with a pair of scissors.
|Life working the streets is a lot different to puppyhood|
This is the harsh reality of what our puppies go out and do, & whilst all of the foundation work we do & all of the training they do on an initial course prepares them for operational duties, it is the handlers who really have to teach them to be Police Dogs.
You just can't create the sort of scenarios, the adrenaline etc in training. It's like footballer's practicing taking penalties - you just cannot recreate the tension of taking a potential tournament winning penalty. It's exactly the same in Police Dog training.
|The view of a future criminal|
Someone could get Izzy through a licensing course now but she's nowhere near being a Police Dog - so whilst we're delighted & proud that Bandit & his handler have maintained our proud & longstanding 100% record of developing Police Dog puppies, there's a long way to go to him becoming a valuable & consistent performer in the dog section.
He is of course named after the Pilgrim Bandits & therefore we have no doubts that he will go "Always a little further" to protect & serve the community of the West Midlands well.
|Police Dog Bandit!|
For all of those Tweeps who followed Bandit on Twitter, you will know that we heavily support the Pilgrim Bandits charity. Next year Breed Scheme Manager Terry Arnett will be taking part in the WOLF RUN on 27th April 2014 in aid of the Pilgrim Bandits Charity. Please feel free to donate to the Pilgrim Bandits in honour of PD Bandit via Terry's Just Giving page. Here is Terry pictured below with future PD 'Pilgrim' & of course fully fledged Police Dog 'Bandit'
|Puppy Pilgrim & PD Bandit|
"Always a little further"