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Old 03-18-2014, 06:40 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default 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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Old 03-18-2014, 07:52 PM   #2 (permalink)
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It is like anyone else who has multiple dogs. Some things you can double up on like exercise. Others you need one on one like obedience. The first dog does usually not get as much time, especially with so much focus on the 2nd. It was not so much a big deal for me because my husband kind of adopted the first dog. Two dogs in a tacoma? Have fun. Sell it to someone to use as a boy toy for mudding and get a Tundra. You will find the fuel economy is really NOT all that different on the highway ( it is in town) and the insurance will probably be CHEAPER because the Tacoma is often the truck of choice for young male offroad enthusiasts.
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Old 03-21-2014, 09:06 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I can fit 3 dogs in my tacoma. One 500 crate on a platform and a 400 next to it in the bed. Full cab so another 400 crate in the back seat. If you had a another small dog or crate something else could fit in front of the crates in the bed too. There is enough room around the crates to store training equipment and luggage if needed.
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Old 03-21-2014, 10:27 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I've got 3 dogs, with a 4th one coming soon (a week or so)! I have no problem with them at all. Look into bikejoring if you wanted to exercise them both together. I take my pack out daily for about 6-10 miles and it takes an average of 1 hour. Then they run around and play and wrestle the rest of the day for bonus exercise. It's great exercise for them because they get to run, and sometimes sprint if they want to, and pull me on the bike at the same time. I normally don't pedal at all unless they are tiring up a hill and need some assistance until it flattens out again. Two of my dogs are huskies, so they always need tons of exercise so they don't get destructive. Our bikejoring runs seem to be enough to take the edge off and keep them calm and obedient all day.

Nara is my older gal and was a SAR dog in training until my job hours took over and I didn't have enough time to train and work with her. I think she's lost her spunk for SAR now that she's approaching 7 years old. I'm in the process of adopting a 2-year old GSD pup that's going to be my new focus for SAR certification, and I have a new job that doesn't have the crazy hours of my last job. So I'm kinda in the same boat as you, but I know I can make it work with multiple dogs, one being a "retired" SAR dog and one being locked in his puppy phase because he's never really had much training. He's just a big, spazzy ball of energy who needs a job to be satisfied and happy! SAR is perfect for him.
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Old 03-21-2014, 10:39 AM   #5 (permalink)
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So I was in the process of getting Titan certified and took a break for a little while. We did train for 2 years though. I had another dog for about 6 months during his training and watched many others. I too work full time, rent, and am always moving around. Managing Titan on an at home lifestyle, was a little challenging for me personally at first but we got into routines and it worked well. Titan is a pet at home though we still do nose work and I run/exercise him frequently.. same as my other girl when I had her. Though, we do a lot more OB and nose work and stuff now that we are on a break, just because I don't exactly know if he's done for good or just for a season.

BUT my point was that, he would still be getting all this attention and exercise if we didn't do SAR.. and having another dog didn't make that difficult at all. It was fun having another one to play and train with too even if she didn't get certified. I also don't see why you couldn't get another one as long as you plan for it and your schedule permits!
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Old 03-21-2014, 11:29 AM   #6 (permalink)
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The platform is a good point and I think the Tacoma even has recesses to accommodate 2x4s to support one!

Clear the wheel wells and you have more crate room. I have a platform in my Tundra under which I have drawers that pull out and are used to store gear. My crates are secured to the tie downs. Everything is under a camper shell.
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