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Operation #PuP2PD is go!

nelly and pups.jpg

They've arrived! The wait is over as Nelly the German Shepherd Dog has given birth to a litter of seven puppies (three boys and four girls). Two of the pups, one dog and one bitch, will become Staffordshire Police trainee police dogs when they reach eight weeks old.

Nelly will be the pups' sole source of food and comfort for the next few weeks while they grow and develop into trainee police dogs. They will be blind and deaf for the first two weeks of life with their eyes and ears sealed shut. From week three onwards, their world will open up as they begin to see and hear. They get their milk teeth and start to take their first tottering steps around this time, too.

From around week four, Nelly's milk production will start to slow down and the puppies will start to be weaned onto solid food. This is when they will also begin forming attachments and bonds with the people around them. This age marks the start of a really important period where puppies need to be socialised. The better they are socialised by meeting new people, exploring the world and other pets (as long as they've had their vaccinations) the better chance they will have of turning into well-adjusted dogs.

From week seven their co-ordination and muscle control is good enough for them to start house (toilet) training ready for when they can leave Nelly and go to their new homes at eight weeks. When they've settled in to their new homes their new owners can start basic obedience training at nine weeks of age. From then on, they continue to grow until they become the height of an adult dog at about 12 months. However, they're still developing and maturing up to about the age of two.

One of the officers who will be taking on Staffordshire Police's bitch puppy, PC John Maunders said: "Puppies have a lot of developing and growing to get through in nine weeks. They are tiny at the moment (between 750g and 950g), but by four weeks they'll be 3.3kg and 4.2kg and by the time they're ready to leave Nelly they should weigh between 7.5kg and 9kg, which is very a rapid rate of growth.

"Once they get to nine weeks, they really are completely different from newborns and are ready to learn a lot of basic commands. 'Sit,' 'stay' and 'down' can be taught quite quickly at this age. You can teach an old dog new tricks, but it gets harder as they get older. As we're taking responsibility for training these pups right from the beginning, we can monitor their progress and hopefully, keep them on the right track."

None of the puppies have names yet. Quite often litters will have a theme for the names such as all name starting with the same letter of the alphabet; cartoon characters or characters from TV programmes or films. K9 Core will name most of the puppies but one of the puppies allocated to Staffordshire Police will be named by you. In a few weeks' time, there will be an invitation for Staffordshire Police followers to make suggestions as to what they should be called.

In the meantime, we'll keep you up-to-date with regular posts on the puppies' progress.

10 Jun 2019 16:18:30 BST
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