A PUPPY with rich police heritage has moved to the big city to start specialist guide dog training.

Bobby, a 14-month-old black Labrador, was named by North Wales Police after staff and officers raised more than £3,000 for charity Guide Dogs Cymru to assist with his food, training and veterinary bills.

The pup spent his first year living in the community learning basic skills and on Monday, January 7 he started a new chapter after arriving at Guide Dogs Cymru’s training headquarters in Cardiff.

Bobby the guide dog who is in training thanks to North Wales Police

Bobby aged four months old

Puppy training supervisor for Guide Dogs Cymru, Mel Wharmby, said Bobby has already shown a lot of promise ahead of his career. She said: “He is a cheeky boy whose personality is really starting to develop. He mixes well with other dogs and did well at our regular puppy classes.

“He is confident on public transport and has already learnt some of the skills he will need to become a fully-fledged guide dog.”

Bobby has been assigned to a mobility instructor who will teach him how to avoid obstacles and keep his owner safe.

The training centre is equipped with an obstacle course, dummy crossing boxes and tactile paving to simulate real-life situations.

Bobby's training is part funded by North Wales Police, who have a long-established link with Guide Dogs Cymru after a former police constable was shot and blinded while on duty on August 2, 1961.

The late PC Arthur Rowlands was patrolling the Dyfi Bridge area in Machynlleth, mid-Wales when he was confronted by burglar Robert Boynton who shot and blinded the officer in both eyes.

PC Rowlands spent months in hospital, but despite his disability returned to work as a police switchboard operator with the help of his guide dog.

North Wales Police chief constable Carl Foulkes said: “We are extremely proud to have been able to raise the money for Guide Dogs Cymru and we would like to wish Bobby every success with his training.”

Caroline Abraham, service delivery manager for Guide Dogs Cymru, said Bobby will benefit further from the training course in the Welsh capital. She said: “The dogs learn that training is fun, and they are encouraged to solve problems as they grow in confidence.

“We always reward the behaviour we want, whether that’s with a food treat, praise from the handler or a play with a favourite toy. Each dog is different, so we find out what works for them.”

As Bobby's training progresses, his instructor will seek to match Bobby with a suitable owner, taking into account the size and speed of the dog and the likely workload.

The pair will then train together for several weeks, eventually qualifying as a guide dog partnership.

To find out more about naming a guide dog puppy, visit www.guidedogs.org.uk or email jacquie.hughesjones@guidedogs.org.uk