Volunteer - Dog Section Support (Puppy Socialiser)

Citizens in Policing
As and when required

Location: Home based

As the second largest Dog Section in the country, we have our own Puppy Development Programme which aims to ensure that we are continually developing the next generation of crime fighting canines.  In order to do so, we require the invaluable support of our Volunteer Puppy Socialisers, who play a vital role in helping to develop the Police Dogs of the future.

Full Time Puppy Socialiser Volunteer Role

The main role of our Full Time Volunteer Puppy Socialisers is to assist in the overall development of our potential Police Dogs. The puppies are matched with a Full Time Volunteer Puppy Socialiser from the age of 6-8 weeks old and will remain in their care until the dog has reached 12-18 months old.  Although the role is a volunteer role, becoming a Full Time Puppy Socialiser is a hugely time consuming role and one which impacts on the whole family's lives.  It is essential that all puppies are confident and comfortable in any kind of situation it may find itself in as an Operational Police Dog. Therefore, we need our Full Time Puppy Socialisers to expose the puppy to things like train stations, dark rooms, places with odd floor surfaces and different types of stair cases.  As well as taking the puppy to as many places as possible, it is also a necessity for the puppy to have a huge desire to play with a toy and wanting to interact with people.  The overall role of a Full Time Volunteer Puppy Socialiser is to hand over a young dog who is well balanced, social, and confident, whilst having a huge desire to play with a toy.  It is a hugely challenging but extremely rewarding role.

Essential Criteria

If the role of a Full Time Volunteer Puppy Socialiser appeals to you, we would need potential volunteers to be able to answer "yes" to the following essential criteria:-

•Do you have experience or a very keen interest in training dogs?

•Are you and your family able to live with a large, strong and energetic young dog for around12 months?

•Are you physically capable of walking and controlling a large, strong and energetic dog on a lead?

•Do you have access to a suitable vehicle for safe transportation of the dog?

•Do you have a suitable home environment to allow a large dog crate to be housed?

•Are you able to provide a fully fenced and secure garden area for the dog?

•Are you able to attend regular training sessions with the dog?

•Do you have plenty of spare time to introduce the dog to as many new environments and experiences as possible?

•Are you at home to ensure that the dog is not left for more than 3-4 hours at any time?

It is vital that young puppies are supervised at all times and not left in their crate for any more than 3-4 hours at a time (other than overnight).

The Puppies

The JOU Dog Section has a large variety of different breeds working as Operation Police Dogs. The Puppy Development Programme is no different and we have a mix of different breeds within the programme.  We don't exclusively look for one particular breed, as we are more interested and focused on the characteristics of the puppies we bring into the programme.  When looking for potential new recruits for the programme, we look for puppies who are energetic, bold, confident and enthusiastic. All of our puppies within the Puppy Development Programme need to have these key attributes, whether they are destined to become General Purpose Dogs or Specialist Search Dogs.  The type of puppies we bring into our scheme are not "normal pet dogs", they are energetic, lively, strong and grow very quickly.  The puppies need lots of attention and plenty of structured stimulation to keep them out of mischief. They are not the type of puppy's who will be lap dogs and sleep all day.

Puppy Development Programme

We have a structured Puppy Development Programme for all of our puppies, which all Full Time Volunteer Puppy Socialisers are expected and supported to follow.  Full Time Volunteer Puppy Socialisers are expected to bring their puppies to regular training sessions, which are held during the day, normally between Monday to Thursday. These sessions are held at various locations across the Hampshire and Thames Valley area.  During these sessions, the Puppy Development Manager will be providing instruction and demonstrating various exercises in order to help Full Time Puppy Socialisers manage their puppies on a day to day basis. These exercises, include general obedience, loose lead walking, tracking games and searching games.

Support for Full Time Volunteer Puppy Socialisers

Under the close supervision and guidance of the Puppy Development Manager, all Volunteer Puppy Socialisers receive the highest levels of support and guidance to help make developing our future Police Dogs a fun experience.  When taking on a puppy, all basic costs associated with owning a puppy are taken care of by the JOU Dog Section. 

All of the following are provided to Volunteer Puppy Socialisers when they have ownership of a JOU Dog Section puppy:-


•Veterinary treatment


•Training equipment


•Poo bags

•Flea/worming treatment

The basic equipment and costs of owning a puppy are covered by the JOU Dog Section and therefore the only cost to a Full Time Volunteer Puppy Socialiser is their time.

Next Steps

If you have been able to answer YES to all of the Essential Criteria, you can apply for a role as a Full Time Volunteer Puppy Socialiser.  If however, you are unsure whether the Full Time Volunteer Puppy Socialiser role is suitable, please feel free to contact the Puppy Development Manager, please email puppydevelopment@thamesvalley.pnn.police.ukProviding you pass all of the necessary application stages and pass the vetting process, you will then be placed on the Volunteer Puppy Socialiser waiting list.  Once you are on the Volunteer Puppy Socialisers waiting list, you will be kept up to date as to when puppies are arriving and be ready to take on a young potential Police Dog.

If you can commit to caring for a puppy, please complete the online application form.  For any queries about Volunteering and the process, please contact 01865 542060.  If you have any queries on completing the application form, please contact People Services Recruitment Department on 0845 2 66 66 77, quoting reference 12952.

Thames Valley Police serves diverse communities. To enable us to truly reflect the communities we serve, we are keen to recruit people from Black, Asian and other minority backgrounds. You will need a wide range of skills and experiences which will enhance the services we deliver to the public including an understanding of cultural issues. If this is you, we want you to apply to join us.


Police Officers and Police Staff have access to a fantastic range of benefits, dependant on role, location and length of service. To view a full list of our benefits please click here


All posts require a level of Police Vetting as per the National Vetting Code of Practice. The residency requirement is necessary to enable all applicants to be checked in an equitable manner. Thames Valley Police will allow applicants to apply who do not necessarily reach the criteria as long as they have proven UK residency and supporting evidence where necessary. Applications will be considered on a case by case basis.

Thames Valley Police serves diverse communities; to truly reflect this, we are keen to recruit people from Black, Asian and other minority backgrounds. We value the knowledge and experiences that individuals bring from different cultures and welcome any contributions that can enhance the services we deliver to the public.

We believe in investing in all of our people, and run tailored Positive Action Initiatives to support our colleagues from underrepresented backgrounds in their personal and professional development, ensuring everyone has a level playing field to succeed, progress and feel fulfilled in their careers.

This opportunity is closed to applications.