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Old 12-13-2012, 10:20 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Well, it's official...

I'm on the team but Hector isn't. Our team gives a 6-month prospective member period, at the end of which the dog's and handler's progress are evaluated and it's decided whether they'll become full members. I'm doing well apparently , but Hector's progress just hasn't been steady enough.

It's a little frustrating for me because I feel like he's finally hitting his stride and starting to progress consistently (it's just too little too late). I also feel like most of his early faltering was my fault, because of my inexperience in SAR. I don't know if that's quite fair to me because he would be a more difficult dog to train anyway because of his lack of early socialization (rescue dog), but I know I wasn't helping him.

At the same time, it's a totally reasonable decision and one that I completely expected. He's still going to be my hiking and camping buddy, and I'm looking into sports to do with him.

I'm also still going to remain active on the team. My plan is to stay on in a support role for 6 months to a year, then start to look for a puppy specifically for SAR work. Speaking of which, I know this is a GSD forum, but any of you guys know of Australian Cattle Dogs working in SAR? I've met a lot of Border Collies who do well. Anyway, ACDs are my breed of choice (as a look at the dogs in my signature might suggest ) and I'd love to get another one of them. Otherwise, I will probably opt for another shepherd-type dog.

Anyway, that's a ways off. I want to learn as much as I can first and try to do it right this time around...I only have so many chances before my boyfriend puts his foot down and says, "No more dogs!" LOL Plus, my team is very much in need of field support for the dog handlers so it is a very necessary role, and one I really enjoy.

So yeah, I know I haven't been posting here very long, but I'd made a couple of threads about my dog so I figured I'd let y'all know. Plus, I don't have too many people (other than team members) to talk to about it, who can really understand it. Either they're like, "so what?" or they think it's some completely devastating thing (which I guess it might be for some people, but I'm a professional horse trainer so I'm actually very realistic about even my personal animals and am very aware that not all animals are suited for all work), so I wanted to process it a bit I guess.

Also, I'm still going to be following this forum and probably asking questions periodically so don't think you've gotten rid of me that easily.
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The rowdy dogs:
Hector-2 y/o GSD (mix?) rescue
Scooter-12 y/o ACD/Border Collie mix
Bandit-8 y/o ACD
Wooby-14 y/o ACD
Abutiu "Abi"-ACD puppy and hopeful future SAR dog!
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Old 12-13-2012, 10:27 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Actually, as I was writing about my plans, it occurs to me...assuming most good breeders have a waiting list of at least 6 months to a year, possibly more, should I start looking for a puppy sooner? I'm not in a huge hurry, but I would like to get one sooner than 2-3 years from now.

My other thought was adopting a young dog specifically for SAR, after a thorough evaluation of course. I know that opens me up to some risks of a repeat, but over the summer we worked with a clinician who has had great success adopting shelter dogs and turning them into successful search dogs (obviously after thoroughly evaluating them and being very picky). I actually handled one of her shelter dogs and he was amazing. I'm very committed to rescue and I keep thinking about going that route, but I'm also afraid of getting another unsuitable dog. But realistically I know that can happen with a puppy, too, even one that comes from working lines and that passes a puppy evaluation.

Anyway, these are all just very early musings...nothing's going to happen until at least a few months have passed and I've talked it over with my teammates and done a lot of research, but you guys are pretty knowledgeable and I'd like your thoughts.
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The rowdy dogs:
Hector-2 y/o GSD (mix?) rescue
Scooter-12 y/o ACD/Border Collie mix
Bandit-8 y/o ACD
Wooby-14 y/o ACD
Abutiu "Abi"-ACD puppy and hopeful future SAR dog!
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Old 12-13-2012, 11:16 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I PM'd you with a SAR contact who does cadaver work with Australian Cattle Dogs. IF they have what it takes for cadaver work, they will have what it takes for SAR if you get the right one.

And congratulations. Sorry it did not work out for Hector but if they think he doesnt have what he needs it is better than to let you toy along with him for a long time!

A lot of folks use rescued dogs in SAR. - The info I can sent you may help you in that regard as well. Good luck! Yes puppies are always a gamble. I got Grim who became my first cadaver dog as he was not working out in a two intact male dog home with his previous owner - and - he was a bit small and not high in fight drive for dual purpose work. He was great for me. So far so good with Beau who I got bred for this but we do hip, elbow and back x-rays in July. No problems but sometimes you just don't know. Any young dog I would not take without a solid health check and x-rays.
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Old 12-13-2012, 11:52 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thank you for that information, I got your PM and I will reach out to the people you mentioned. Really, I think any dog is a gamble. I'm very lucky that my team has some very experienced and supportive people on it who have evaluated a lot of dogs, so I won't be going it alone. I just like to do all the research I can.
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The rowdy dogs:
Hector-2 y/o GSD (mix?) rescue
Scooter-12 y/o ACD/Border Collie mix
Bandit-8 y/o ACD
Wooby-14 y/o ACD
Abutiu "Abi"-ACD puppy and hopeful future SAR dog!
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Old 12-14-2012, 11:32 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I'm sorry that Hector didn't make it. I'm sure it's very disappointing after putting so much work into it. It's very admirable that you decided to stick with it and possibly get another dog to continue on. Good luck!
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Old 12-14-2012, 12:17 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Congrats to you, and AWWW for Hector :-(

It's certainly disappointing to have something not work out, especially when you work so hard! Hector will still have loads of fun with all the other things ... sounds like he has a great life already!!!

Good luck with you and the SAR work
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Old 12-14-2012, 01:01 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks guys.

I gotta stay away from looking at adoptable dogs for the time being (which is something I usually do for fun and because I know a lot of people who might not be looking actively but would be interested in certain breeds/types if they show up)...this morning a local shelter just listed a gorgeous ACD/GSD cross up for adoption, 11 months old and described as "outgoing, high drive, high energy and TOY CRAZY!!!" I just have to keep telling myself no, I really need to not have a SAR dog right now and instead focus on getting my own training skills up to par. LOL
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The rowdy dogs:
Hector-2 y/o GSD (mix?) rescue
Scooter-12 y/o ACD/Border Collie mix
Bandit-8 y/o ACD
Wooby-14 y/o ACD
Abutiu "Abi"-ACD puppy and hopeful future SAR dog!
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Old 12-16-2012, 09:44 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RowdyDogs View Post
I'm also still going to remain active on the team. My plan is to stay on in a support role for 6 months to a year, then start to look for a puppy specifically for SAR work. Speaking of which, I know this is a GSD forum, but any of you guys know of Australian Cattle Dogs working in SAR? I've met a lot of Border Collies who do well. Anyway, ACDs are my breed of choice (as a look at the dogs in my signature might suggest ) and I'd love to get another one of them. Otherwise, I will probably opt for another shepherd-type dog.
Yes, there is a ACD on our team. He is a very intense dog, and works well with an experienced handler. You can see him at the end of this video:


Something to think about is that if you choose a breed that other handlers on your team have, you will benefit more from their breed-specific experience.
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Old 12-16-2012, 09:56 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dog27 View Post
Something to think about is that if you choose a breed that other handlers on your team have, you will benefit more from their breed-specific experience.
That is very very very true.
Nice slide show! Small world. Carlos is Beau's uncle.
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Old 12-17-2012, 01:17 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Agreed, thanks for sharing that slide show! The first picture of the ACD cracked me up...I know that face well.

I have definitely considered getting a breed that other team members have, but part of the problem is that our team is very diverse breed-wise (everything from Rhodesian Ridgebacks to coonhounds to retrieving breeds and terriers). I do think that part of my struggle with Hector was not understanding the breed completely--even though there is some question as to his breeding, every GSD person I meet says that he is very typical of the breed personality-wise. That said, I do have about 10 years of experience with ACDs in working situations (herding though, so a bit different) so I'm very comfortable with the breed.

On my team, we have quite a mix of breeds and about the only ones I'd really consider are Border Collies and another GSD. BCs, I love the way they work, but I've lived with them for years (had a roommate for about 5 years who had working BCs--so we had a house full of working BCs and ACDs, it was wild LOL) and I just don't like them as pets. Another GSD is still definitely a consideration for me, although the GSD's handler isn't that experienced (though definitely more experienced than I am). However, we do get a lot of clinicians and trainers in who have GSD experience.

Working ability is my primary focus, but I definitely want to be sure I get a dog I enjoy living with too.

I have decided to take up sport nosework with Hector, because he does need a job and he really enjoys detection and is very good at it--the reason he washed out is because he's just too inconsistent if conditions are anything but perfect, but who cares about that if we're just in it for fun? I'm also going to play around with it with 2 of my heelers, one of whom I often think would make an awesome SAR candidate if he were just about 7 years younger. It seems like the training is more or less the same in general (just some more restrictions on what the dog can do), so I'm hoping that will also help me gain some clarity about what kind of dog I want.
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The rowdy dogs:
Hector-2 y/o GSD (mix?) rescue
Scooter-12 y/o ACD/Border Collie mix
Bandit-8 y/o ACD
Wooby-14 y/o ACD
Abutiu "Abi"-ACD puppy and hopeful future SAR dog!

Last edited by RowdyDogs; 12-17-2012 at 01:23 PM.
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