Screening test for SAR prospects - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-27-2012, 09:20 PM Thread Starter
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Screening test for SAR prospects

So what do folks use when evaluating team dogs.

We have been putting all new young adult prospects through the test at http://www.disasterdog.org/pdf/train.../Screening.pdf


and puppies through a preliminary PAWS type evaluation and just general observation with the understanding a more formal evaluation when it is fully grown...

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We also do some more nerve tests...slick floors, different surfaces, loud noises,

We do not require x-rays of team dogs though I encourage it - explaining how I spent good time on training Cyra only to discover she had HD and wash her and now I have had a high drive crazy pet on my hand for 9 years.

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Last edited by NancyJ; 01-27-2012 at 09:24 PM.
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-08-2012, 09:52 AM
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Is it recommended for a dog with HD to not do SAR? Or required for that matter? I'm very new so just curious.
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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-08-2012, 10:01 AM Thread Starter
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I would not knowingly EVER start a dog with HD in SAR and I washed one who developed HD even though it did not "appear" to be bothering her but I decided I would never be able to live with myself if the dog *missed* because she was working through pain.

I think if a dog has mild HD and no symptoms and is well on their way in training, I might consider continuing on but there would be a lot of monitoring with someone else who could be completely objective about the dog saying go/no go.

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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-08-2012, 01:29 PM
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We don't really have a screening like that. It's really unofficial. The prospect is just invited to bring their dog. Our lead will observe on puppy runs and see how the dogs responds and all that to it. They talk about their behaviors and habits and determine whether to continue. We have one or 2 dogs that will never certify but are out there training every day and the owners know this but still want them to be active in something and have talked to our Team lead about it.

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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-08-2012, 03:04 PM Thread Starter
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We wound up doing it because it is very hard to tell someone who has poured their heart and soul into training a dog that it just doesn't have what it takes to make the cut.

It is pretty easy to tell someone "you have not been to team training, you have not been training outside of team training" etc. but some dogs just don't have it and take sooo much more time than the ones that have a solid chance of being operational--we need to put the time and energy into those that do.

Some people don't have it in all areas either but, unlike the dogs, you can FIND the right place for a person with a good heart, committment, and desire to do right. {one important member of our team mans the base radio and keeps up with the folks who are out during a search because of a physical impairment}

EDIT-and we still are monitoring every step of the way and have sequential objectives before certification.

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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-08-2012, 03:34 PM
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I agree it would make for a better selection and it is easier in the beginning to say hey sorry you have to pass this eval before being on a team; they know up front if they don't pass, no team.

I do kind of like the way it's done here, though George has no issue saying "hey your dog won't cut it, I'm really sorry." Maybe we can include a few small evaluations like nerves, surfaces, distractions, sort of thing.

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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-08-2012, 04:03 PM Thread Starter
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There is some room for "go back and work on these things" and come back later but it gives folks an up front idea of what we look for.

We had one dog who was adopted and just did not KNOW the retrieve game so we gave him some help in bringing out the dogs latent drives and boom he actually IS a hunting machine.

It also depends on a team where everyone is at the moment. Right now we are simply not taking on ANY new dog handlers because we need to get all the current dogs op operational and we have several who are not there yet.

If we are going to ask folks to train on their own 2-3 days a week we need to be able to give them LOTs of attnetion on the team training days.

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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-08-2012, 04:20 PM
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This is true. What kinds of "on your own" training do you do? And is it exactly that? just you and your dog?

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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-08-2012, 06:55 PM
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We do evaluations for potential incoming dogs after the potential handler has been out a few times and feels they could be committed. Then we will look at the dog. We use a PAWS type evaluation for pups. Dogs are evaluated for surface sensitivity, ability to navigate through the woods, agility (as in the dogs ability to maneuver), dark buildings, noise sensitivity, dog aggression, people aggression, attention to handler, ability to focus and desire to work. They also need a strong willingness to want to play, and keep playing.

We do not use the FEMA criteria, but I understand why a lot of teams do. Frankly if one of my patrol dogs walks away with a total stranger, I need a new dog!!

I have rehabed more dogs than I care to think about, and two of our teammates do a lot of GSD puppy socialization work, so if we have a dog that comes in we think might need a little work but shows a lot of promise, we are willing to try and work them through it.
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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-08-2012, 07:05 PM
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I should have clarified we don't do that all at once. Generally it is over several training sessions unless we get to a point that the dog just isn't getting past. I think it takes a bit of time in many cases to really evaluate a dogs potential. Anyone can have an off day. Pups that do well though are started in training as soon as the handler desires (provided they are team members, on their way to being so, or have passed their SARTECH.
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