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Discussion Starter #1
Do you guys think that a WL GSD needs bite work to be happy - to have a fulfilling life? Will he find fulfilment in obedience and tracking only?

I really want to to do SAR with my dog and the groups around me really discourage bite work. I also will have a very active, high drive dog (hopefully since I am getting a champion working bloodline).

Will there be something missing from what my dog needs if I don't do bitework? Will the SAR training, obedience, trailing, tracking be enough to for my dog?
 

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I think he will be fine if he has any sort of job/training.

I have a very high drive pup, he is all energy and crazy strong grip. Also comes from IPO3 parents, but I don't plan on doing this with him. I actually want to do flyball, agility or raley.

Hope this helps. Have fun with a high drive pup! they keep you on your toes.
 

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They are good with a job to do. Whether its bite work or something else. There are several who are just active companions that have never seen or been on a bite sleeve. So no, they don't NEED bite work. They simply need a job to work their minds and body. SAR is a pretty solid job for that. Get in touch with Mrs. K. She has working line dogs. Some have done bite work but Indra was being trained for SAR.
 

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Delgado comes from ScH 3 bloodlines, he hasn't done any bite work and is perfectly happy. He stays active both physically and mentally with obedience and some agility for now, long hikes, and lots of playdates with other dogs
 

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Hey,

I've been doing both with the dogs. SAR and SchH. If you are with the right people it shouldn't be an issue to do both whatsoever. There are some more people on here that do both.

It all depends on what you want to do with your dog and what your team will allow you to do.

Also, test your dog for Hunt Drive. Prey Drive is all nice and dandy but if the Hunt Drive isn't there, you will have problems.

My female is crazy for Area Search and she LOVES bitework. It's what she lives for. If you build your dog up correctly, they will love the Search and literally live for it. :)
 

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If you are working your dog in SAR, and don't want to do bitework, don't do bitework. My SAR dogs never did bite work and they were perfectly happy.

Many SAR teams will not allow a dog with bite training.

Decide what is most important to you, find a team you like with a good reputation and follow their rules.

Plenty of GSD never do bitework and work happily in other disciplines.


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Also, test your dog for Hunt Drive. Prey Drive is all nice and dandy but if the Hunt Drive isn't there, you will have problems.
What exactly would hunt drive be? I am guessing it is the desire of a dog to search for an item? For example if I throw a ball into tall grass or bushes for the dog to search out and retrieve the ball? Would you measure hunt drive to be how long he is willing to search before giving up? Just curious. I keep hearing about so many drives like pack, prey, play, fight, and etc. Terms are new to me but probably not the conecpt.
 

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What exactly would hunt drive be? I am guessing it is the desire of a dog to search for an item? For example if I throw a ball into tall grass or bushes for the dog to search out and retrieve the ball? Would you measure hunt drive to be how long he is willing to search before giving up? Just curious. I keep hearing about so many drives like pack, prey, play, fight, and etc. Terms are new to me but probably not the conecpt.
Yes, it's not so much about the dog finding the ball, but for how long the dog is willing to search for it. Nala, at one point, searched over 10 minutes for her ball. A friend of mine has a little Shepherd mix, that would dive for an object for over half an hour. That little BYB Shepherd Mutt has more hunt drive than any purebred I've seen so far, only her Temperament isn't the best.

One dog, a foster I used to have, had an amazing food drive and loved to play with the ball as long as I moved the ball, he loved to play tug of war too but he didn't have the hunt drive for a toy. He actually started eating leaves instead of going for the ball. As long as the ball was moving though, he loved it.
That dog just wasn't suited for SAR.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
So, how young of a dog can you get a good read concerning his hunt drive? Also, do you simply hide something in a field and get them to hunt it or are there other test to use?
 

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I guess it is personal preference. You can test a pup for hunt drive early on but there is so much more behind a search dog that you only get to see in more advanced training. I honestly would use young adults that already had the health checks done. 12-24 months of age.

This is not a bad way to test a puppy :)
Malinut Page PAWS Working Dog Evaluation |\.-./|
 

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I have done SAR for about a decade and my dog would love to do bitework but the team does not allow and, honestly, I would not have time to do that as well as the SAR training and I don't think any of my dogs have "missed" that. Tug is, however, the reward of choice for both my current dog and my past dog.

As Mrs K said, even a well selected puppy may not wind up as a suitable candidate....so much can go wrong. Conversely, I can see there are benefits by starting young with a puppy*. There is less of a gamble with a young adult than there is with a pup.

*I did that with Cyra who was ready to certify when she came up lame and we discovered she had severe HD and she was retired before she got started. So i got my 2nd dog, Grim (who was certified/operational for about 5 years) as a young adult, already OFA clear and known drives only to turn around and get Beau as a puppy, but I am glad I did. He certified and became operational at a young 15 months.

Of the GSDs I have seen over time, nerve strength has been a bigger issue than finding suitable drives. Then hunt drive is not necessarily a given with a dog from a sch background.

EDIT-if you don't HAVE your puppy yet, get involved with the SAR team first and see if someone will check out the pup with you before you commit.
 

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If you are a new handler, pick one. It's hard enough being an experienced handler and trainer to do both. SAR is NOT a hobby. If that's your passion, learn it and it alone to start. If later down the line you want to try SchH fine, but don't mix the two. A novice handler can easily make mistakes( most do) so better to limit the field.

Your dog won't care.

And I second Jocoyn advice. If you don't already have a dog, find a SAR group first, see what it takes, learn the ropes and skills and then have them help you find a breeder.


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Discussion Starter #15
Thank you guys for all the replies. That is what I wanted to hear - a WLGSD does not need bite work as long as it has other jobs to do. I am definitely going to pursue the SAR route for now and lean away from bite work for the time being. This should make my life a bit easier, namely not having to focus on both SAR and IPO. Thanks again for the advice.
 

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If you are concerned about bite work you might try playing tug of war on a regular basis.
Obviously, all of the advice above about other avenues is good.
A working GSD is a happy GSD.
 
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