Sheffield police pups make good progress

Loxley the police pup gets a bath following his training pre-assessment
Loxley the police pup gets a bath following his training pre-assessment

Courageous police pups have been put through their doggy paces as part of their strenuous training programme.

Loxley, a nine-month-old German Shepherd, was one of seven ‘L’ litter pups, born in March as part of South Yorkshire Police’s puppy breeding scheme, who returned to officers’ dog training school in Sheffield to have his training pre-assessment.

Cute Loxley and his seven brothers and sisters - Leo, Lima, Lexi, Luna, Layla, Lenny and Logan - left their volunteer puppy walkers for a week to complete their pre-assessment.

Dog Handler Sergeant John Hardwick, said: “The pre-assessment is a good indicator as to how the pups are progressing.

“The dogs can stay with their puppy walkers until they are 18-months-old, however some of them are ready to start their actual police dog training at 12 months.

“Some of the pups are already quite mature and only a few months off starting their training, however some of them do still act quite young, as you would expect from a nine-month-old pup, and can be a little cheeky and playful, stealing towels or fetching a tennis ball and then refusing to drop it.”

The pups trotted out to Thorpe Hesley woods with police dog trainers to undergo their pre-assessment.

This included tracking, where the dog has to locate a person within the woods using scent and open searching and alert the handler to their presence.

They were also tested on searching buildings for suspects and being tested under the sound of gun fire, as well as coming into contact with people acting suspiciously.

Sergeant Hardwick added: “The pre-assessment training went really well and the pups are making really good progress, which is a testament to the puppy walkers and their foster families who are raising and caring for them.”

Following the pre-assessment, the pups were given a bath and returned to their fosterers. They will be back at the dog training centre at Niagara in Hillsborough in the Spring.