Living with a SAR dog
I am in the process of getting myself certified and learning to be a flanker. Our team is small, and a pretty tight-knit group, so things are going well. I have been encouraged to consider looking at breeders when I am ready to start training my own dog. This is all great, but then I thought to myself, "Even if I can train a SAR dog with the help of my teammates, can I live with and care for a SAR dog?"
I currently work full-time and don't own my own property. We are planning on purchasing a house before adding more animals. I currently have a middle-aged female GSD who is active and playful, but needs careful supervision around other animals (she can be left alone with the cat but never outside, and needs a "proper" introduction to other dogs, plus she resource-guards food). One positive is that my work is flexible about bringing pets into the office, and I am allowed to go home pretty much whenever I need to if I have to take care of an emergency, or take the afternoon off to care for a sick puppy. But I realize that it may not be enough.
Usually I spend about two hours each day exercising and training my dog. I will cut that short if the weather is really terrible or I'm not feeling well. She's pretty laid back for a GSD and doesn't seem to mind a lot of down time. I am not sure how having two dogs would work out, especially if one needs special training. I don't want to create a bad situation where my current dog gets neglected and feels left out. On the other hand, I know other people have two dogs at a time, and my dog is very good at waiting her turn in the truck during trainings (that's something else I have to figure out- how to fit two dogs in my Tacoma).
So, I guess my question is, outside of the training you do for SAR, what other care and exercise does your dog/dogs get? How do you manage having a pet dog and a dog for SAR? Is it completely unreasonable to get a puppy with my current schedule (if I brought it to work once crate-trained?)
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