Call for local carers to give temporary homes to police puppies
Are you a dog lover who could give a puppy a safe and loving
home for a few months? The West Midlands Police and Crime
Commissioner is urging local people to get in touch with West
Midlands Police, as they urgently need more puppy walkers.
Police and Crime Commissioner, David Jamieson said: "The puppy
walking programme relies upon caring volunteers giving a temporary
home to young pups, which have been specially bred to become future
police dogs. But we need more kind hearted people to get in touch
and help support this scheme."
Police 'puppy walkers' are expected to do more than simply walk
their young foster pups. Volunteers need to devote plenty of
free time to play with the puppy and allow it to become used to
everyday noises such as the washing machine, vacuum cleaner or TV.
Socialising the puppy with other people is very important, as is
introducing it to the sights and sounds of traffic as well as other
On average, puppies stay with their foster carers for up to twelve
months before being handed back to West Midlands Police to begin
their training as police dogs. The type of training they undergo
differs, depending on whether they are destined to become general
purpose police dogs, or will enter specialist service as drugs or
explosives detection dogs, or as search and rescue animals.
Most will enter service between the ages of one or two years old
and will be on active duty until around the age of eight. During
this time, each police dog lives with its handler and the pair
develop an extremely close working partnership. When the time comes
for a police dog to 'put its paws up' and retire, it usually
remains with the handler as a family pet.
The West Midlands force is highly unusual, as it is one of only
several UK forces which has its own breeding programme. Many of the
police dogs seen patrolling the streets of the West Midlands, have
been specially bred and have graduated through this puppy walking
The German Shepherd puppies, which are bred by West Midlands
Police, are so highly regarded that they are also supplied to other
UK and European police forces as well as to the RAF and the
David Jamieson, who paid a visit to WM Police Dog Training Centre
in Balsall Common, continued: "The dogs bred here in the West
Midlands are the envy of every other police force throughout
Europe. They are specially bred to have the right temperament for
police work. They need to be fearless but at the same time even
tempered and able to take commands from their handlers.
"Being a police puppy walker involves responsibility but it's also
a joy to see the puppies maturing into young dogs who will go on to
hopefully have many years' loyal, active service as police dogs,
protecting members of the public and helping to combat
Anyone over the age of 18 can apply to be a police puppy walker.
The main requirement is that they have the time to devote to their
young foster puppy. Ideally applicants should be at home for most
of the day. The role is unpaid but all equipment, food and
veterinary care is paid for by West Midlands Police. To find out
more, or to request an application form, contact WMP Police Dog
Training Centre on 0121 626 8202.