Choosing a puppy for SAR? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-08-2009, 05:11 AM Thread Starter
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Choosing a puppy for SAR?

I would like to do SAR with my next Shepherd. I would with Bianca but she is too old to start training for it.

I was wondering what people look for when choosing a puppy for SAR? What do you look for in the breederm, the parents, and the puppy?


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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-08-2009, 06:23 AM
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Re: Choosing a puppy for SAR?

The best advice I can give you is get on a team if you are not already, make sure SAR is for you after you have done it for awhile, and when the time comes take some teammates with you to help pick out the puppy.

Nancy



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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-08-2009, 06:51 AM
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Re: Choosing a puppy for SAR?

I know Akbar's breeder, vom banach, knows exactly what to look for in a SAR pup, she was in it for many many years and one of her sons is in it with his dog. I've never done SAR so I wouldn't know what to tell you but I would definitely ask her if you're serious about starting in SAR, she's the master at it and picking puppies for SAR.

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-08-2009, 08:06 AM
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Re: Choosing a puppy for SAR?

you could also talk to wanda (kleinen hain) she has a couple of SAR dogs, and I would say look for a good nose )))

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-08-2009, 08:50 AM
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Re: Choosing a puppy for SAR?

I agree with Nancy, get on a team first, make sure you want to be involved with SAR, then get a puppy later. SAR can take up a lot of time and money... much like schutzhund...but more importantly, it's something that has to be done for the right reasons.

I think most of the people who are involved in SAR for any length of time are in it for the victims and their families...not because they wanted something fun to do with their dog. I would encourage you to explore SAR and why you want to be involved with it before you get a puppy.

~Emily~

Bella — 4 year old black Lab mix
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-08-2009, 09:19 AM
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Re: Choosing a puppy for SAR?

I agree with Emily and Nancy, get on a team and experience what it is like to go walk in the woods and sit and wait for a couple of hours. I would recommend:

1) Volunteering with a team for 3-6 months
2) Join the team without a dog for an additional 3-6 months (year total) before even thinking about getting a puppy/young adult dog. During this time work on the certification requirements for yourself and learn first hand by watching the other handlers/dogs and seeing what works and doesn't work for them. You will slowly piece together what you need/want in a working dog.
3) I believe Bianca is what 3 or 4 (I could be mistaken)? She is not the optimum age to start but if she has the health, nerve and drive to become a SAR dog she is not too old.

Contrary to popular belief a "good nose" is not the most important thing to look for in a SAR dog. You want hunt drive and you want a LOT of it. A dog that will look all day and night for a toy. You want a dog that is bidable but one that can think for themselves too. A dog that will "disobey" in certain circumstances. Similar to the guide dog being commanded to move forward on the edge of a cliff but refusing to go forward because he knows it will jeopardize himself, and more importantly, his handler. Another thing many people do not consider is the size of the dog. You want a dog on the smaller side of the standard. Keep in mind what you would do if you are 2 miles deep into the woods and your dog is injured and you have to hike back out carrying your dog. If he/she is too large are you willing to leave him/her behind because you can't carry him/her to safety?

There are many MANY things that make for a good SAR dog. Even more to make a GREAT SAR dog. If you put in the "grunt time" as a volunteer then a member for a year or so you will have a taste of what all it takes from YOU to be involved in SAR. People simply don't get lost at convenient times. The dogs get called in a 2 AM in driving rain storms or blizzards. Not at 9 AM on a beautiful 70 degree day.


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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-08-2009, 09:25 AM
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Re: Choosing a puppy for SAR?

I do know that Keyzah has VERY intense hunt drive at only 11 weeks. She reminds me a lot of Rayne, KC and Phoenix who showed that desire and intensity at such a young age. Tika had to grow into her SAR dog role a little but some of that was I wasn't allowing her to work HER way naturally. Once I let her do her thing she rocked!


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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-08-2009, 02:02 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Choosing a puppy for SAR?

Thanks for the tips! It's going to be a year or more before I get a GSD puppy most likely so I definitely would have time to get on a team and everything.
It's not that I want something fun to do with my dog so much as I want to do something with my dog to help people. I volunteered in animal-assisted therapy for 8+ years with my last dog Ginger and I always wanted to do SAR with her but she had sponylosis and DJD so that was not an option. Another thing I was considered is a crisis response therapy dog (Ginger would probably have been perfect for that since she was so calm and laid-back, nothing fazed her and she loved being hugged) but I have no idea how you get into that.

Bianca is 5 but I was told that it takes a long time to train for SAR and that by the time she was trained she would be too old? She's on the larger side though-- at least, she's over standard for females. She's 70 lbs.
I'm not sure whether I could carry her over a distance but I can pick her up and I could carry Ginger who was about 62-65 lbs.


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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-08-2009, 03:19 PM
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Re: Choosing a puppy for SAR?

Definitely get on a team first. It's a huge investment in time and money, much more even than therapy service dogs. Become a good searcher before even trying to be a handler. Learn what to watch for in a SAR dog. After you have worked with the teams for a while you will get an idea of what to look for in a dog and give you good traits to look for in a puppy. The people in these forums have given me a lot as far as good resources and help on so many subjects. This is a great place to start. Once you are on a team find out what they looked for in their puppies, but overall balanced drives are pretty universal- pack drive, play drive, prey/hunt drive are a good base, a solid food drive is good for training but a play drive will win out most of the time. Good Luck!!!

Taylor

Dogs have a lot to communicate to a person who is willing to listen- Susan Butcher
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-12-2009, 02:07 AM
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Re: Choosing a puppy for SAR?

I haven't read this, but it looks like it could be helpful to you:

Pick of the Pack (Selecting Your Canine SAR Partner)

In full color, 110 pages by eleven NSDA Education Committee contributing authors

Jonathan & Benny

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