Animal lovers are being sought to help develop and train the next generation of police dogs.
Thames Valley Police and Hampshire Constabulary, which jointly run the dog section under the Joint Operations Unit (JOU), need puppy socialisers to have a puppy live with them from eight weeks of age until 12 months.
Puppy socialisers have to introduce the puppy to as many new environments and experiences as possible, whilst also starting the foundation puppy training.
To become a puppy socialiser, people must:
> Have a keen interest or experience in training dogs;
> Be able to live with a large, strong dog for at least 12 months;
> Be physically capable of walking and controlling a large, energetic dog on a lead;
> Have access to a vehicle for safe transportation of the dog;
> Have a suitable home environment to allow a dog crate to be allocated;
> Be able to provide a secure garden area;
> Be able to attend regular training sessions in Sulhamstead;
> Have lots of spare time to introduce the dog to as many new environments and experiences as possible; and,
> Be able to ensure the puppy will not be left alone for more than four hours at any time (except in extreme circumstances).
All puppy socialisers will be allocated a dedicated police dog training instructor who will be able to instruct, assist and guide them in the development of their puppy over the 12 months.
Anyone answering yes to the criteria and who is interested should email firstname.lastname@example.org. They need to include examples of their previous experiences.
Puppy development manager, Dave Hibbert said: “It is a huge responsibility for people to take a dog into their care for 12 months. The puppies grow from a cute bundle of fluff into a large, strong dog in a very short space of time.
“The puppies we procure are not normal pet dogs. They are keen, enthusiastic and highly motivated, and as such, they are not the type of dog that is happy to lie down all day sleeping. They are going to need lots of regular training, exercise and stimulation. It’s a hugely challenging but an extremely rewarding role.”