Reality of SAR - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 128 (permalink) Old 11-09-2011, 03:53 PM Thread Starter
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Reality of SAR

It's just not like everybody says it is.

Training once a month, IF you get to train with the team at all. Most of the time you have no guidance whatsoever and how are you supposed to learn if nobody shows you how to do it?
Training that doesn't even last an hour.
No Structure
No search tactics, techniques or anywhere near what is claimed it'd be like.

No Ruckmarches
No Physical Tests

Dogs that shouldn't do it. Dogs with weak nerves. Soft Low Drive Dogs.
No Health Checks
Almost no Map and Compass or GPS training... (if it wasn't for the Grid Search Team you'd probably be on your own)
Last but not least: LOTS AND LOTS OF DRAMA! More Drama than I've ever witnessed before...

To be honest, I'm very dissappointed about the reality of what is going on in quite a few SAR teams.

There is so much talk about how much training SAR takes. How much work it is. The reality is there are just a few good teams out there. Teams that really know what they are doing. The majority, however, seems to have no clue what they are doing. They call themselves a K9 Team but in reality they are far away from being real SAR K9 Handlers.

So if you are looking for a Team. Look closely. Don't make a hasty decision. Visit their training for a couple of months without the dogs. You'll learn about how they deal with each other, if they have a structure or simply meet up, let the dogs run for about five minutes and then leave after an hour or two.
Find out if they have standards and stick to them or if they let anybody in.

Be very selective and if you have a single doubt, chances are your gut is right so don't join. Save yourself the heartache, money and time. Do something else instead or become a Grid Searcher.

Last edited by Mrs.K; 11-09-2011 at 04:01 PM.
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post #2 of 128 (permalink) Old 11-09-2011, 04:22 PM
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Wow... Recently I was put in the position of having to choose between the local Schutzhund club and trying out the local SAR group. By chance I had met a couple at our vet that were both members of LaSAR. They gave me their number and wanted me to come out. Ultimately however, I didn't even go out to meet the SAR team because I liked the SchH club so much.

Sucks it didn't work out for you...

Rob


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post #3 of 128 (permalink) Old 11-09-2011, 04:49 PM
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I think your guidance is well taken and, certainly your experience is real for many teams but I also think there are many more solid teams than you lead folks to believe. And I say that because even in my area we have supported each other on searches and learned from each other and I see a heck of a lot of professionalism.

I feel my team is a good team which pushes its members - to train train train and provides training on all the required skills. Our weekend trainings are usually a minimum of 6 hours twice a month with at least weekly night training among subgroups of the team. We are all expected to train on our own as well and keep training logs.

Are there problems? I would say any team that does not have problems is lying to itself. We can all do better. What makes a team good, I think, is to always ask "what did we do right, what did we do wrong" and adjust.

We actually do require folks to train for 3 months with us before even bringing a dog and the dog only comes in if we have an opening AND if it passes the selection test which is based on the FEMA test for adults and the PAWS test for puppies (or something in between for older pups) and that includes new dogs belonging to long term members. Members have to pass all requirements for ground searchers before being operational and going on any search.

Then there are deadlines to accomplish training goals. Exceptions may be granted but only with concurrence from the officers and are based on situation.

We do not have specific physical requirements to be on the team but we do make hard decisions based on peoples condition and have told some folks that they can only work at base. I opted to work at base but *can* work field and will if the conditions are such that I feel comfortable (for example flanking for an air scent team in moderate terrain - I won't flank for a trailing dog - too brutal). The reality is we have a lot of base work because of how we work with our sherrifs' departments so there is room for everyone willing to do what is needed even if it is not working a dog.

(Of course I do work a cadaver dog so I get to work a dog but most of those calls are separate, small, and without radios, central command, etc)

--------

Some of the folks on LaSAR are highly respected for their contribution to SAR and have helped many on other teams (Lisa Higgins and Dee Wild) though I don't know much about the team as a whole.

Nancy



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Last edited by NancyJ; 11-09-2011 at 04:51 PM.
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post #4 of 128 (permalink) Old 11-09-2011, 05:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jocoyn View Post
--------

Some of the folks on LaSAR are highly respected for their contribution to SAR and have helped many on other teams (Lisa Higgins and Dee Wild) though I don't know much about the team as a whole.
Yeah, they seemed very well put together and professional. However, both clubs train on Saturday...

I really like my SchH club and am very glad to be a part of it (Abbie loves it too). Still, I would like to go out and meet the LaSAR group. If nothing else perhaps I could volunteer some time to be a lost person or something.

Rob


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post #5 of 128 (permalink) Old 11-09-2011, 05:04 PM Thread Starter
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Oh yah, I know that there are solid teams out there. But the reality is that there are quite a few teams out there that have no clue what the heck they are doing and that is something that needs to be talked about as well and people need to know what to look for to avoid these kind of teams.

We can't just sit there and be quiet about these kind of experiences. We don't have to name them but at least say what to look out for and to be cautious.

I'm specifically talking about K9 teams. The Grid Searching Teams, I've seen are very well organized and trained. If some of those K9 teams were half as organized and well trained there wouldn't be the kind of dissappointment I'm feeling. I've been expecting a lot more than that.

Last edited by Mrs.K; 11-09-2011 at 05:08 PM.
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post #6 of 128 (permalink) Old 11-09-2011, 05:05 PM Thread Starter
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Some of the folks on LaSAR are highly respected for their contribution to SAR and have helped many on other teams (Lisa Higgins and Dee Wild) though I don't know much about the team as a whole.
Even I heard about these names before I joined the K9 team, so that means something that their names traveled as far as Germany
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post #7 of 128 (permalink) Old 11-09-2011, 05:28 PM
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Mrs K sorry to hear about your group , especially since you seem to be so enthusiastic. Here is one of my local SAR groups, working under the direction and responsible to our provincial police. Ontario Search and Rescue Volunteer Association
As jocoyn said - there is a long period of activity without a dog and after they make you come out 2 to 3 times a week . This is not a hobby. Dogs must be certified as are the handlers and the team is required to be available and ready at any time.
There are requirements of the handler as far as their physical ability to get around -- one team would not certify because the owner needed to loose weight which slowed her down. She did , passed the physical test and was certified .
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post #8 of 128 (permalink) Old 11-09-2011, 07:12 PM Thread Starter
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Our K9 team needs a LOT of work but we'll get there. We are in the process of getting private lessons from a very knowledgable trainer regarding directionals etc. and two of us will drive to a different team that is really really good at least once or twice a month and work with them to bring back what we can learn. We had no choice but to reach out and ask for help and sometimes that is the only thing you can do is to be honest about what is going on and ask for help to get up on your feet. However it's a couple of teams in general I came across that don't give any guidance to newbies or do not have a structure in general.
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post #9 of 128 (permalink) Old 11-09-2011, 07:30 PM
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We got a lot of money thrpugh the akc car grant program. A lot of work to write and accounting for how theoney is spemt but it allowed us to bring in top notch trainers....though always ask folks to pay in part because they value it more if it costs something

Nancy



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post #10 of 128 (permalink) Old 11-09-2011, 07:47 PM Thread Starter
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yeah, that is what we've done too and will do in the next year too so we can continue to work with the trainer.
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