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Anyone here do SAR?

October 22nd, 2006, 08:33 PM
Mildly curious if anyone here has trained their dog in search and rescue.. had dogs in the past who did it, or if you've contemplated it?

All the sites I read have mildly conflicting info, some of it bugs me.. like your SAR dog should be a working dog, not a pet ever so it can not lounge on the couch with you, that's not what it's there for. I've met many dogs with jobs that were pets off the job, and hard workers on it so kinda bugs me..

Was wondering since I haven't read all that many articles on avalanche SAR if there's anything different about the characteristics or breeds one might choose...

Looking at potentially trying to up my ski level.. and maybe wander westward in future. I'm attracted to SAR.. but never thought of avalanche SAR till recently.

October 22nd, 2006, 09:41 PM
I think SAR dogs have to be completely devoted to their job and completely obedient to their handler, which is why they don't want them to be pets.
Other dogs may do well at their job and be pets also, but is someones life on the line if they happen to not be completely focused on their handler? Perhaps that's why the rules with SAR dogs are more strict. Just a guess.

October 22nd, 2006, 09:45 PM
I know several people in SAR,all their dogs are regular pets when not on the job

October 22nd, 2006, 09:54 PM
LL1, does it vary depending on country? We had people with various service dogs speak at my schools several times a year, and as I understood it none of them were actually considered pets. Or maybe that just has to do with the particular ones that chose to come speak.

(:sorry: if I'm threadjacking, I was just curious)

October 22nd, 2006, 10:03 PM
You aren't jacking, it's fine. I started the thread to ask Qs. :shrug:

Thought most police dogs were family members in their handlers home.. and just assumed it would be the same for any working dog that made it through training and passed..

Found this group earlier and was a little sketched at dogs being for work purposes only though..

Lots of conflicting stuff from group to group like there being a max cut off of 2 to have a pretty much trained dog.. Some places won't even look at certifying after that..
Groups advocating shelter dogs because you might have a better idea what a 1 year old is capable of rather tan an 8 week old pup you chose as a SAR dog to have it fall apart at 8 months for the ideal traits..

Lissa's trainer does SAR.. I'd liek to talk to her.. it isn't a pressing need answers now, but I'm curious.

October 22nd, 2006, 10:06 PM
I've done a lot of research into SAR and actually got our last pup with that in mind. She's too young for formal training yet but I've started to work on some exercises that the group I'm interrested in has recommended. This group is a civilian group that works with the RCMP. Basically the dogs need to be very well socialized to all types and ages of people as well as all types of situations you can think of. You can't discipline for the pup 'finding' (and therefore chewing up) human scent items (ie socks, shoes, underwear). The dog shouldn't think finding human scent items is a no-no. Other than careful training with these things (and others but I'm tired and having a hard time thinking) the dogs used with this group are really just pets. One of the biggest things, though, is that the dog has to be totally bonded with one person - the handler. My pup will behave for other family members but not if I give her an oposing command. She knows I am her person - not the rest of the family. I walk her, feed her, train her. Everyone plays with her. Hope that makes things a little clearer. I did research other groups and each one seems to have their own 'rules' but I went with this one because their philosophy matched mine and they are well respected with the RCMP so I know what they do works. My advice, if you are interrested in persuing this is to talk to everyone you can find that is involved and then make the decision that feels best to you.

October 22nd, 2006, 10:11 PM
In poking around I saw that group dakar.. Was one of the ones I liked the rules of the most. Wish that due to the name being 'canadian' that they were more than just alberta though..

October 22nd, 2006, 11:26 PM
I got interested and did a search after I read this thread and found an FBI search and rescue dog that's a pet . . . Also, she started out as a stray hit by a car!

I guess it just depends!

October 22nd, 2006, 11:27 PM
TY. That rocks to read!

October 23rd, 2006, 12:16 AM
I think it would be a good idea for you to find a local group or local volunteer who has some experience with SAR training.
I also think that getting Cider involved in tracking would give you a glimpse into the basics of that world. It is very intense and a high-calibre, high maintenance sport/job so getting involved with Cider could be a useful experience!

With regards to them being working dogs and not pets - I think its definately possible for them to be both. I think it depends on the dog's personality and drive more than the handler, the dog will certainly indicate if they can transition from working dog to pet in a heartbeat. I think most dogs need the release of being "the pet" when they are trained/tested at such challenging levels but I am sure there's plenty of drivey dogs that are too intense to adapt to a companion animal life.

Also, resources will tell you it usually takes 2 years to train a SAR dog before they are operational. But what you have to consider beforehand is that you might look at or start training dozens of dogs before you find "the one" that has the potential to be a SAR dog. You may have to retire numerous of these potential SAR dogs (usually to other homes!) before the right dog comes along. I think that's why so many places stress that it is a working dog and not pet. You have to be willing and committed to trainining a new working dog if the current one is not suited for SAR - and sadly you oftentimes don't know this until you've trained with them for a while.

I personally hope that the "working dogs can't be pets" attitude changes. I think it is slowly, especially since so many assistance dogs are coming from shelters at a year old when you can judge their potential more accurately.

Also, I partially read this book: Search and rescue dogs: Training the K-9 Hero byt the American Rescue Dog Association. It was very informative but also very paticular on the kind of dogs that should and shouldn't be used for SAR. It's still worth the read but I found it a little overbearing.

October 23rd, 2006, 09:00 AM
Mybird,I think it is probably more defined by group rather than location.Different groups have different policies.The people I know are in both the US and Canada.

October 23rd, 2006, 09:39 AM
If you are interrested at all, try calling or e-mailing some of the groups just for info. I found them very helpful and friendly. They were able to point me in the direction of a lady who has done SAR for years and now handles only explosive scent dogs (that sounds wrong but you know what I mean) anyway, on the side she does obedience and agility training for the general public. I was able to get into her class and she was so helpful an training Brie. Also, before I got Brie I was in touch with her and she helped me know what to look for in a pup to better my chances of a dog suited to SAR. There are no guarantees, though. I went in knowing that she may not be suited to the work but then I'll give up on doing SAR before I give up on her. Putting you dog into tracking is a wonderful way to find out if both of you are suited to the work!

October 23rd, 2006, 10:06 AM
Thanks everyone. Awesome info. Cider isn't suited to an avalanche SAR dog.. But I could work with her and learn more like tracking. It's definitely a future endeavour, but one that really seems to excite me :)

October 23rd, 2006, 11:37 AM
Tron was a certified SAR dog.But because he was a Police Dog,he had all the training needed for one.His SchH training had the obedience and tracking part already,and the Police training had the searching.

Just so you know,MANY of the SAR's use bigger dogs.

Here is some reading for you.It's from the Search and Rescue Volunteer Assocition.It's in Orillia.

October 23rd, 2006, 11:41 AM
LOL I wasn't suggesting that Cider be a SAR dog, I just think getting invovled in tracking with Cider will show you some of the basics!!!:D

October 23rd, 2006, 12:06 PM
I wasn't thinking of a cocker sized dog for SAR.. I was thinking more GSD sized, even if it didn't end up being a GSD, but something more obscure to the general public.. And for avalanche SAR, generally it needs to be a double coated breed for warmth and protection..

I know that wasn't what you meant Lissa.. Just other people mentioned getting involved with her too.. Never know, might help her come out of her scared shell doing more activities.

Thanks for the link. I saw that site, but hadn't seen that page.

October 23rd, 2006, 01:15 PM
Thanks LL1 and Lissa :) .
I'm guessing the people who came to my school either belonged to the same groups or they just happened to have similar views.
I also haven't been in school for 5 years, so maybe a lot of them do consider their dogs pets now - from what Lissa said it sounds like people are starting to realize they can be both.

October 23rd, 2006, 06:45 PM
This is a cool site because it's not your typical SAR dogs:

October 26th, 2006, 09:32 AM
I'm very interested in SAR too. I have done some tracking with my dog and I can tell you it is a great experience. The lady that I take dog training with is certified to teach Search and Rescue and has said that my dog would be excellent for search and rescue. My dog is a 6 1/2 year old GSD rescue. I was surprised that my dog would be considerred a good candidate because of her age but I was told age is not really an issue. I am seriously thinking of doing the training I have total confidence in my dog it's me that I'm unsure of. I'm not sure that I have the time that it takes. I also handle security dogs they live in a kennel but we are encouraged to take them home and make them part of our families.