Invited to train, but concerned - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-12-2011, 07:48 AM Thread Starter
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Invited to train, but concerned

First, let me say that I would LOVE to have the time to be involved in SAR. I just don't have the time. Training wouldn't be a problem (though it would be one *bleep* of a drive), but there is the problem of having a full-time job. I was told that's not a big deal because "people tend to do stupid things on nights and weekends). So my questions are a mix of concerns whether it would be a good idea to train with them and just a couple questions concerning GSDs and body type.


So, question 1 - is that really true? How do you balance "real life" and SAR?

question 2 involves temperament. I saw a few of the k9s and that had me REALLY concerned. One dog was kept crated at the booth and every time another dog walked past (this was at a match), the dog would attack the front of his crate. Once it almost looked like he was going to flip the crate over. Another dog was skittish about being petted by strange people. Not just the typical GSD "why should I be interested in attention from you??" but actively trying to hide behind his owner.

Dog #1, I would be concerned that he would be a problem with integrating new dogs into the team? I don't know how he is out of the crate, but it just seemed like a bad combo? Dog #2, I'm not sure if it would have a big effect on his working ability, I'm just curious. Of course, he is still a pup in training - not quite 1 yr old. A 3rd dog hackled and grumbled from his crate at all the people walking by.

I was more interested talking to his owner about his conformation. He was Amer. pet lines. He was neutered already because "with his great nose he was impossible to work if there was a bitch in heat within 2 miles" I know that there are intact SAR dogs, aren't there? True or training issue? I don't plan on having Singe neutered so that would be an absolute end of story for us.
On his conformation (and this is most curiosity) the dog was cow-hocked. The people attending the show were a mix of people just looking to practice for AKC (the show was ACA, but that isn't relevant to this) and people with pet dogs looking for a "pet line friendly" registry, but even those people were commenting that "there looks like something is wrong with his back end" When he moved, his hocks almost bumped each other and, for lack of a better word, he seemed wobbly. Is that something that would really affect working ability? I would think that he might wear out in a big search area? My daughter was taking pics of all the dogs, but she doesn't have any of him or I'd post it.

OK, off-topic for this section side-note - the "judge" from ACA loved him. Gushed on and on about how beautiful he was and that that was what a GSD was supposed to look like.
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-12-2011, 08:39 AM
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Hopefully Nancy will be able to answer your questions. Did you see these people at a fair of some kind? My understanding is that there are some SAR teams that are serious and respect and there are others that just kind of do it for fun. I would check into the reputation of the team before committing your time and energy.

Jamie

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Kaiser (GSD) - November 2009
Holly (GSD) - March 24, 2011

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-12-2011, 09:56 AM Thread Starter
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the local kennel club in MO had a rally fun match. The SAR team was there to raise awareness.
I'm not sure how to check into the reputation of a team?
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-12-2011, 10:15 AM
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They should have had a team name and you could start with google, talk to other local SAR teams, etc
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-12-2011, 01:18 PM Thread Starter
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I did google, mainly came up with their website which is lacking in information.

I did find a couple of news articles, but that still doesn't really tell me a lot. I guess I'm just curious.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-12-2011, 04:33 PM
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question 2 involves temperament. I saw a few of the k9s and that had me REALLY concerned. One dog was kept crated at the booth and every time another dog walked past (this was at a match), the dog would attack the front of his crate. Once it almost looked like he was going to flip the crate over. Another dog was skittish about being petted by strange people. Not just the typical GSD "why should I be interested in attention from you??" but actively trying to hide behind his owner.

Dog #1, I would be concerned that he would be a problem with integrating new dogs into the team? I don't know how he is out of the crate, but it just seemed like a bad combo? Dog #2, I'm not sure if it would have a big effect on his working ability, I'm just curious. Of course, he is still a pup in training - not quite 1 yr old. A 3rd dog hackled and grumbled from his crate at all the people walking by.

.
Both of those dogs are a wash. Dog aggression is tested for SAR. Cannot be tolerated. The skittish dog is a nerve bag=washout, the dog hackling, nerve bag= washout.
In General, an AKC american line GSD is not going to work. Period. They are not bred for the temperament and drive to work. That is why they are not used in military nor police work. Just the way it is . Different priorities in breeding that the european bred dogs
If a dog will not work around a bitch in heat he does not have the temperament for the job. My males are intact. They work.

A SAR dog muct have rock solid nerves, CANNOT be nervy around people nor a strange enviornment etc.
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-12-2011, 04:59 PM Thread Starter
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sending you a PM...
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-12-2011, 07:44 PM
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I have an intact male and he has had to work side by site with a bitch in heat. I had to tell him to leave it a couple of places where she pee'd and he started sniffing and drooling but other than that he was focused and has worked just fine both in training and on the real thing. We have also had to work with pitts hitting the ends of their chains with an officer with a drawn gun "just in case". The dog has to ignore that kind of thing.

Dog agression and weak nerves should be, as Renee pointed out, a total wash. Dogs in their truck barking when people get too close - I think in general a little of that is tolerated but not dogs slamming up against the crate bars like they are going to attack everything.

Where we are people have not checked with the calendar about when to go missing. Sure some are hikers go missing on weekend and then a search starts when they don't show up for work on Monday. Sure there are some weekend calls. Nursing home walkaways don't check the calendar nor do small kids or despondents . To balance with work. Ungh. Well you work it out with your boss. You use most of your PTO doing SAR related stuff. You miss some searches (my agreement is I won't go if we have a critical meeting and I am an important participant and, because I am salaried I either 'make up' the time on a weekend or use PTO. -- we don't actually clock in or anything but since I telecommute they usually get more than 40 hours anyway. FWIW - People tend to drink and drown on holidays like July 4, Memorial Day etc.

For our cadaver dogs the most frustrating thing for us is trying to schedule them (they usually are scheduled calls unless it is a drowning) for the weekend because then there is overtime for the police department and getting up early in the am is sometimes not really appreciated......but we explain that we have to take time off work and not get paid and spend our own gas money to do this.....

Dog agression vs snarkiness. My female (who was washed for bad hips) was a bit snarky with other dogs but not outright agressive - however - even that I have decided I am just not going to deal with anymore-if I get that behavior I will either fix it or drop the dog. It is not worth it. A SAR dog really has to be dog neutral or you are looking over your shoulder ALL the time.

It is a shame these dogs sounded like such bad ambassadors. When we have demos at tables - all of our dogs are social in that they are either neutral or love people but we like to send the gushy ones out to interact with the public. Not one dog hackles at or withdraws from people or goes whacko about other dogs.

----

Some things you should look for on a SAR team is
**Do they have attendance requirements
**Requirements that K9s and handlers must meet in terms of goals = or similar to the NASAR SAR II body of knowledge (either that or some equivalent)
**Do they have written standards
**Do they ceritfy their dogs, preferably to an external national standard through a national organization
**Do they have insurance
**Do they get calls, what kind of success have they had (fair to ask)
Just some of the things I am thinking about.

Nancy



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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-13-2011, 08:32 AM
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Oh, and do they require a criminal background check for all members?
- We require either an FBI check or a CWP or NCIC depending on what they have.
We do not use our state SLED test because that only covers in state crimes and we want a federal check.

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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-15-2011, 04:20 PM
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I think most of your questions have been answered, but I will throw my 2 cents in.

The dog that was throwing itself on the crate, eh I dont know. I know alot of GSDs are cage agressive but not actually dog aggressive. I would not call him a wash, but I would be concerned about a group who would think that type of behavior was appropriate for a PR event. It would never be tolerated at any PR event I ever took my dog to. But I cant say whether the dog is fit to work or not.

The nervous and growly dogs, most likely should not be worked. My dogs may not want to be around a whole heck of a lot of people, but they dang sure tolerate it.

As for time and work and training. I have done SAR in various forms for over a decade and have always worked a full time job. Gotta buy the dog food and have a home. I found that talking to my supervisor and explaining what I do and how it may affect them has quelled any issues. If you dont think your boss will be receptive to the occasional call-out in the middle of the day, then SAR may not be for you. However, it also depends on how often the team gets a call-out. There were times when I had to tell my team that I was unavailable, but could join them after 5pm. So it is doable.

But SAR takes an enormous amount of energy and dedication and cannot be done as a side hobby, when you find the time. The people you are looking for deserve more than that. So if you are unable to make it to team trainings and then also do training on your own at LEAST 3x a week, I would find something else to do.

Oh and an intact male with correct drive for the work will have little problem doing the job. If something is more important than his job, he is not cut out for the work.

"So that others may live"

Hannah vom Steffenhaus, BH, Wilderness SAR
Eisenhower v.d Polizei "Ike" Wilderness SAR, CGC
B'Lena z. Treuenhanden
Nixon vom Banach, RATN
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