Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Albuquerque, NM
That would worry me, just from a general working perspective. I've only been involved in SAR for 18 months or so (so nothing LOL), but I have 10+ years of experience with herding dogs, often in mountainous terrain.
Best dogs I have had were fearless when it came to work, but had a sense of self-preservation. Even in high drive I've seen dogs slow down to pay attention to their footing when they get on high or steep slopes. IMO, I want my dog's self-preservation instinct to ultimately overwhelm his drive. Maybe that's not right for a bomb dog or a police K9 or whatever, but that's not what we do.
My current SAR dog is pretty dumb when it comes to survival. She's a true cattle dog who responds to getting kicked in the face by a full-grown steer by going after him that much harder. And she'll run through tunnels or jump gaps like a pro...but she'll at least pause if the jump is large, and often will find another route if it is dangerously large.
I want to be clear that I'm not speaking from the perspective of an experienced SAR handler, but that video and your description of her recent injury would worry me very much. I have seen so many dogs working in steep, treacherous canyons and they all had a survival instinct that kicked in when they got in too-high places. It's one thing for it to happen once, as a man-made building has different lines and dogs have trouble with depth perception. But I'd worry if this is becoming a pattern.
edit: I think it depends on where you typically search, too. My region is notorious for cliff and sharp drop-offs; I also spent a lot of time in some areas with more rolling hills and might not worry so much if I still lived there because there's just less opportunity for the situation to arise.
The rowdy dogs:
Hector-2 y/o GSD (mix?) rescue
Scooter-12 y/o ACD/Border Collie mix
Bandit-8 y/o ACD
Wooby-14 y/o ACD
Abutiu "Abi"-ACD puppy and hopeful future SAR dog!
Last edited by RowdyDogs; 06-13-2013 at 11:44 PM.