NEW recruits for a Scottish police force are being sized up – despite only being born yesterday.
The five German Shepherd puppies – two boys and three girls – were born to mother Willow, of Durham Constabulary.
Tayside Police will select one of the pups and they will join their father Amstel as a crime fighting force in Tayside.
The new arrival will be looked after by experienced handler Constable Steve Ritchie.
He said: ”I am delighted that mum and her pups are doing well. We will be travelling down to Durham in a few weeks time to test the pups and decide which one we want to bring back to join the team.
”The ideal time to test the puppy is at 49 days of age when the puppy is neurologically complete and it has the brain of an adult dog. With each passing day after the 49th day the responses will be tainted by prior learning.
“Not only do we examine the pups physically, we test them in a number of key areas to see if they show the qualities needed to become a police dog including their willingness to follow a person, if they show restraint or dominance, retrieving, and their overall confidence. We also test their touch, sound and sight sensitivity as we need a dog that isn’t going to be startled or afraid of loud noises or by strange objects.
“The benefits of using German Shepherds are that they are generally very loyal and hard working, as well as being intelligent. From that point of view they are excellent to work with. Our breeding programme has introduced strong working blood lines to the pups being born so we are confident that whichever puppy we pick it will have the qualities that we are looking for.”
The chosen puppy will be trained to become a general purpose working police dog and whilst official training will not start straight away, Steve says conditioning the puppy from day one gives them the best opportunity to prepare them for the jobs they will do in the future.
Members of the public will be able to follow the fortunes of the newest recruit on Facebook, Twitter and the Force’s web-site.