Littlest police dog's big ambitions
Timaru police have a new recruit, and he is adorable.
Gil, the new member of the team, is a 10-week-old german shepherd.
He is now part of the family of Constable Tim Roy, and the police dog handler is investing hours of care and training in the puppy he hopes will some day become his next police dog.
Gil was bred for the role at a facility in Trentham, Upper Hutt.
At the moment, his life is about chewing on everything within reach. In terms of his development, it is about socialisation and learning to be comfortable in his surroundings.
The closest Gil gets to the action at this stage is riding along with Mr Roy in the dog handler's vehicle, in the company of working police dogs.
But when he is a little older, about seven to eight months, he will start his own training.
It is the first dog Mr Roy, who has been a police dog handler for two years, has trained from such a young age.
Senior Constable Kevin McGartland, who's been a dog handler for six years, said training a puppy is something constables do to improve their skills as dog handlers.
There is no guarantee that Gil will make the cut - some dogs do not have the right personality or qualities necessary for the job.
But if his training goes well, he will go into service when he is about 18 months to two years old.
The Timaru Herald