Frequently Asked Questions
We get asked a lot of questions when we’re visiting schools. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions.
Do you take the dogs home with you?
Our dogs are cherished members of the family. The stronger the bond between the dog and handler, the better the working partnership. At the end of a long day not only do our dogs come home with us but they can often be found curled up on a blanket beside the couch.
Are the dogs addicted to drugs?
A surprising amount of people think this. The dogs are trained purely on scent. From the very first day of their training, things are controlled to make sure that they never come in to contact with our training samples. The dogs indication is developed over time to make sure that they keep a safe distance between them and the source their indicating on. When we’re searching houses, we will always enter the property first to make sure there is nothing inside that could hurt our dogs. We’ll always put ourselves in harms way before our dogs.
How do you know if a dog will be suitable?
Les Davidson from Berwickshire had bred all our dogs. He is a trusted friend of the charity and raises small numbers of working dogs of the highest quality whose bloodlines can be traced back many generations.
When selecting a puppy from Les, we will always pick a high drive dog. One which is bold, boisterous and full of energy. With careful training, we can channel this energy into a search drive that will make for an excellent working dog.
As anyone who works with animals will tell you, there are no guarantees. Should a dog not be suitable, they are rehomed with a carefully selected, loving family and the process will start again. Thankfully, with a lot of help from Les, this doesn’t happen often.
What happens to the dogs once they stop working?
Once we feel it’s the right time for our dogs to enjoy their retirement, they will live out the rest of their days with their handler. Because they love working so much, you’ll often find that retired dogs will still get to come out with the handler to enjoy the many walks needed in the working day. They will even occasionally get to have a run out on a training day too, to help remind the young dogs that there’s no shortcut to experience.
Do you ever use female dogs?
Some of the best working dogs that we have seen on the mainland are female. The temperament of a female dog even has some advantages over a male. That being said, our experience of working dogs has been exclusively with males and our training reflects this. If the charity’s first working dog had been female, things could have been much different.
What do you think is the best way to cut down on Shetland’s drugs problem?
We believe education is the key. By delivering honest and up to date information backed up by our real life experiences, Shetland’s youth is better informed to make safer choices in their futures.
If you have any questions you’d like to ask us, then feel free to contact us and we’ll be happy to get back to you.