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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My wife wants to join a SAR group but I don't know much about it. The only two capable dogs we have are very drivey and have bitework training. Of course the Mal pup hasn't had too much training in anything. Can dogs do protection sports and SAR? What kind of dogs are best for this kind of work? My Rottweiler and Mal are both clear and socal dogs. I think the Mal would be best suit for this training as he is only 7mo but he's a complete spaz in general. The rottie is calm, social and obedient but has had lots of bite work.

I have a call into two local SAR groups but haven't heard back yet. What should I look for in such a group? Questions I should ask?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I can imagine my rott finding some crazy lost dude in the woods who is then afraid of my dog and tries to run him off with a stick. Then I'd have a hell of a time trying to explain how "I found him like that" and he must have been a victim of a mtn lion attack. :-o
 

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I don't have an issue with dogs that have had bitework training coming into our group.

Some groups do, so you just have to talk with them and see what their views are.

IMHO, the Mal would be a better choice, especially if he is social and bitework is only a game to him up until now.

Best advice, get with your local groups, maybe go and meet with them and train a few times (without your dogs the first couple of times, or take them if they invite you to) and see what their thoughts are.

My three pointy ears have either had some bitework training or come from lines that are sport, LEO or PPD. So the ability to learn bitework in any one of those capacities is there.

I kept and keep mine social and happy to interact with live find work.

The other thing you can look at is human remains detection if you have a dog that will do that work but is not a highly social dog. Or if they are really civil.

As long as you, or your wife, has good control, I would not see a problem with it at all.

Have not seen a Rott yet that is really willing to go be a social happy dog with other people. Tolerant, yes, but the "bite" seems to always be lurking a little bit (just my experiences with them). Not sure if they would have issues with stamina or scenting ability with the shapes of their muzzles (like the bulldogs).....doubtful, they probably would do just fine (like the Bostons).
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I think the Mal would be the best prospect too but he's my favorite dog and I got him to compete in protection sports. My suggestion was to get rid of our two other pets, she can have the Mal and I would get a nice female dutchie from Mike Suttle. :D But she loves the worthless dogs more than the ones she can actually have fun with.:(
 

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we all kmow malis arent a patch on springers for search work ;)

My human remains spaniel has immense drive & will bite sleeves & pillows haha, its just conditioning for the indication & the reward
 

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Seen some great spaniels in the SAR field.....and yes, they do have a slight edge to them...LOL

Any good retriever would work well too.

Just get a Dutchie Chris...you know you want to....:D

And of course, I will always support the use of hounds.
 

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After much deliberation, our team decided against it, even though we have a team officer who does schutzhund with his non SAR dog. And other team members who have participated in schtuzhund. So it is not for lack of understanding of the sport.

Each team is going to have its own perspective.

I think many US&R groups are not as proscriptive but their dogs are working in closer and do B&H

Multiple considerations:

The SAR dog has ONE job, no confusion about what that job is.

Insurance, press, and the possible ramifications if some accident *did* occur with a bite trained dog

The uncertainty of what an offlead would do if a victim took off running and the hander was out of visual range.

Sport tracking would be ruined for the schutzhund dog

B&H not usually something *most* wilderness people want to do - seriously - hard to locate the dog based on sound in hilly terrain and lost hunter has a gun. Do you really want that dog going off on him?

I would really consider the Mal. The lack of too much training would be a good start. Too much obedience can result in a SAR dog that won't range out. You have to think, too, does she want to do Wilderness or Disaster? Whole different world and group of people for the most part.
 

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on a slightly different token, i cant see by the field dogs, due to their endurance. We are getting used more often with missing persons where it is believed it is a body recovery job , the amount of terrain you have to cover is vast and for me imo herders just dont have the ability to last compared to spaniels labs etc

just my over view, probably slightly different in the US
 

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I don't think it's appropriate for a first-time handler to train a dog for both live-find/wilderness SAR and protection work at the same time. There is a skill to training a dog to do well in both protection and SAR and not many people have that skill - talking about both the decoy and handler here.

Also, I would recommend a social, high drive Labrador for most first time handlers, although certainly I'm aware of many first time handlers who have had success with other breeds.

Above all, I second Carol's recommendation to check out a few of the local groups first. Find out what is required, then think about getting a dog for the work (or whether your current dogs are appropriate). Stick with folks who have the attitude of being searchers who happen to use dogs as a tool (among other tools) to find people. Steer clear of the folks who are looking for something fun to do with their house pets.

As an aside, I have never seen a good working Springer here in the US. I've seen 4 field line Springers who were supposedly SAR dogs and I wouldn't have trusted any of them to find their own dinner in their food bowl. Not enough drive and poor nerves. I've heard they are very popular SAR/detection dogs overseas, so good ones must obviously exist. I'd love to see a good one work. Barrie - do you have video of your Springer doing detection work?
 

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Sport tracking would be ruined for the schutzhund dog
Not necessarily true. My USAR training mentor cross-trains her dogs for SchH and SAR (USAR and wilderness/HR). They have no problem with sport tracking. In fact, one of her dogs was both FEMA Advanced certified, wilderness live find certified and SchH 3.

Like I said above though, there's a lot of skill involved in keeping these things clear in the dog's head. My mentor is a very skilled trainer, plus she has an incredibly knowledgeable/skilled national level SchH trainer/decoy and very clear-headed dogs.
 

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Konnie, does her dog do trailing? Or is it air scent only? Just curious. It would take someone extremely talented I would think to do continue to do sport tracking after starting SAR trailing.

And yes, the labs seem to do a good job and it is easy to find a nutso over the top field lab that has been dumped in a shelter. And you are right about the pet thing. People need to understand the dog can get killed doing this and be prepared to let them range well out of sight. Meanest dog we ever had was an ESS. And the thing about the dogs only being one of many tools.
 

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Have not seen a Rott yet that is really willing to go be a social happy dog with other people. Tolerant, yes, but the "bite" seems to always be lurking a little bit (just my experiences with them). Not sure if they would have issues with stamina or scenting ability with the shapes of their muzzles (like the bulldogs).....doubtful, they probably would do just fine (like the Bostons).
The first FEMA USAR dog certified in the State of Indiana was a Rottweiler. He was a solid working dog with decent drive. However, I always felt a large portion of the reason he worked was out of obedience to his handler. He passed the basic FEMA test, but never passed the Advanced level test. He was a decent wilderness dog too, but the heat definitely bothered him. I spent dozens of hours hiding for that dog both in the wilderness and rubble. He was a social dog and I never noticed any defense or aggression in him at all. His scenting abilities were the same as any other dog.

I've only seen one other Rottie as a SAR dog - also a FEMA dog. I don't think he ever made the Advanced level either, but I'm not positive about that. He was a solid dog as well - social and enough drive to pass the basic test. Not flashy, but got the job done.
 

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Konnie, does her dog do trailing? Or is it air scent only? Just curious. It would take someone extremely talented I would think to do continue to do sport tracking after starting SAR trailing.
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Air scent. Yes, I agree that trying to train a dog for trailing and sport tracking would require an extremely talented trainer.

And, I absolutely and completely agree that these two things are very important for anybody who is thinking of cross-training to consider:
nancy jocoy said:
The SAR dog has ONE job, no confusion about what that job is.

Insurance, press, and the possible ramifications if some accident *did* occur with a bite trained dog
 

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i think its fair to say we are spoiled for ESS in the UK the best lines are here. I dont have any video of him working, dont get me wrong we go through alot of dogs to fine ones that are suitable, individual dogs are more important than the breed as a whole

there are very few human remains dogs in the UK
 

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I trained in both SAR and Schutzhund with my older dog. I completely trusted my dog and his training but wouldn't advise it for less then an expierienced person.
Most SAR teams will not allow it. For HRD only I wouldn't see a problem with it. AGAIN, with an expierienced handler/trainer.
As for the tracking
I had trained in trailing and air scent first but it was a lot of work getting my dog to keep his nose down for sport tracking. The first thing a airscent/trailing dog will do when it looses a FST is to raise it's head and search for air scent. That may be the next track over and that doesn't make people happy if a track has to be layed over for their dog.......Trust me! :oops:
I don't see the same problem if the sport tracking is done first as a foundation for scent work but you better have a good understanding of scent work.
 

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I really believe sport tracking first provides an excellent foundation for trailing.

Another good thing for trailing is to get a kid on the end of a tracking line and get him to go running through the woods with you on the other end. Learning how to keep up communication with the line while it is being wrapped around trees and under stuff an adult has to duck to get under and keeping up at a good clip is good practice for line handling.
 

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It would take a person that had a great deal of time to become good at both. As well as a special clear headed dog. I think the big question is how good a handler is your wife? Can see train in both? Like most things even if she finds a good group. There will be tons that she will be doing on her own. Thats why in sar you find so many dogs that never reach their potential.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
It would take a person that had a great deal of time to become good at both. As well as a special clear headed dog. I think the big question is how good a handler is your wife? Can see train in both? Like most things even if she finds a good group. There will be tons that she will be doing on her own. Thats why in sar you find so many dogs that never reach their potential.

The wife is not a good handler at all. A girl she works with was just accepted to the local SAR group and now my wife wants to do it too. I know the Mali could do it but he's kinda my dog so at least the question of have the right dog is out of the way. Wifey is also in very good shape and likes that outdoorsy stuff and has her EMT basic so it would be good for her and I would like to see her take a more active role with the dogs.

Since the Mal is only 7mo old and doesn't have any bite training other than prey work with tugs and one session with a puppy sleeve, he would be fine. I also haven't done much OB other than sit, platz and bring. I've done quit a bit of schH style tracking with him too.

I concede that I would have to give up the mal to my wife if she were to do that especially since there would be overlapping training days.
 

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Chris, your wife (or both of you) could always help a team and learn without working a dog, and then start training a dog later. I'm about to be helping and learning in a friend's search team.

I had planned to try HRD with my Rott who I lost a few months ago (the little 80 pounder to the left, under my name). We certified as a civilian narcotic detection team about 6 months after I got him from the shelter. He was dicey with unknown people (not saying yours is, at all) and so cadaver work was going to be fine for his personality...

Anyway, your wife could always help by "getting lost" in the woods, with the friend's SAR team. Just an idea...
 
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