Reckless Dogs? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-04-2013, 10:55 PM Thread Starter
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Reckless Dogs?

I believe I have a reckless dog.

I think we all remember the moment when Indra jumped out of that building



Today she jumped off a cliff and that was even more dangerous because she could have hit a boulder. Like with the building, there was an alternative way, the same way she came up, a pathway, but she chose to jump off and this time she injured her left leg. It's pretty swollen and hot. Nothing broken, thank god.

I'm thinking about pulling her from SAR due to her recklessness. It's the second time she's been jumping off a height that could have cost her more than just swelling and bruising. The first time, we were darn lucky that she didn't get hurt. This time she got hurt. One day, she might kill herself and what if she's out of sight, jumps off something and I can't get to her? What if she does jump into her death?

Have you seen reckless dogs in SAR? Have they continued? Would you pull?

She is an awesome Search Dog... great worker, amazing work ethic, if she wasn't that reckless...
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-04-2013, 11:02 PM
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A dog that has no sense of self preservation is a liability. To herself.

It really depends on your goals with her. Her lack of care may be more suited to HRD, where they generally don't work at such a distance away from you.

You can also work on not having her range as far. That way she us always in sight. Might make large area searches harder though.

She should also have a solid " down" at a distance. So you can drop her in an emergency.

Personally I love a brave dog. But not a "stupid" one. I am not calling your girl stupid. But I don't want a dog to jump off a cliff for a toy, or out of a second story window. I want a dog that gets where they need to in the safest way possible.

I hope she is okay!!


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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-04-2013, 11:10 PM Thread Starter
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Usually she has an emergency down, except in this case. She can be across the street, car runs by and she'll drop into a down. When she's about to jump, she'll ignore any command which is why I was wondering if it might be time to utilize an e-collar. In her case, I would love Lou Castle's input on it.

She won't chase deer, she won't chase any game but she will jump off a cliff. She is generally a very smart dog but in this case, yeah, she's stupid and she doesn't just do it for toys, she does it out of sheer enjoyment.


I was thinking about switching her to HRD but she's been on drugs, back in Texas. So HRD is out of question, basically. The E-collar is the last hope but then again, you just don't know if she'll do it out of sight.

She's definitely out of commission for the rest of the month.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-05-2013, 12:18 AM
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Some dogs have crappy depth perception. Might think its fruity but I have taught some of my dogs "edge"...take her up to a drop off, make her stop, drop, LOOK and tell her EDGE. Use that boat dock... anything to teach her its a change in her environment. Sorry she got hurt!! Cat
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-05-2013, 12:33 AM
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Indra sounds like those people who do crazy stuff for the adrenaline rush. I am glad it is not broken. Do you think she learned her lesson? I am not sure she can link hurt leg to jump off cliff, but I hope she does.


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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-05-2013, 12:42 PM Thread Starter
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Only this time, she got really hurt.

She's got painkiller, something for inflammation and cooling, cooling and more cooling. Breaks my heart to see her in pain. She stays in her kennel but as soon as I get up to go out, she picks up her ball and wants to join into the action. So I keep her close, tethered to me or crated.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-05-2013, 12:55 PM
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IMHO, I'd pull. There's brave and fearless, but there's a very thin line between fearless and reckless. If Finn ever became reckless and "careless", I'd pull him or do something where I could have manual control like HRD or T/T.

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-05-2013, 01:10 PM
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Grim's nickname was "kamikaze dog" and I have the vet bills to prove it. And once I almost lost him when he caught odor in a raging river. Knocked out teeth, broken toes, injured back, torn skin. Put him on a pallet pile and the pallets went flying. He didn't care. [for those who don't know Grim was a certified/operational cadaver dog]

HRD is not one bit better, even if you discounted the past narcotics exposure. You also have higher likelihood of scavengers around your "victim". Manual control of HRD dogs? We always work ours offlead. Obedience to odor. If it is a large source they will go out of sight.

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-05-2013, 01:14 PM Thread Starter
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My friend just told me that her dog is the same. Guess, it's not that uncommon to have dogs in SAR that will hurt themselves in order to get the Job done. Question is, can I live with it that she hurts herself in the process.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-13-2013, 11:40 PM
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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.

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Last edited by RowdyDogs; 06-13-2013 at 11:44 PM.
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