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So this past weekend at SAR training, it was extrememly humid and hot, as it is in Florida.. but Titan pretty much went flat. Didn't have a huge interest in searching like he normally does and was really only interested in the puddles on the ground. He was well hydrated and just pulled out of my SUV so he should have been good to go. He did the search, but took a lot longer with many more distractions. The second search was even worse, though I accredit some of that to Handler error, lol. But he was just very very uninterested from the start. I have noticed him doing this when he gets very very hot. If we are doing a woods search, he will always run immediately to the creek every chance he get, again, only in the heat.

I was reading some of the "working dogs in the heat" thread, but didn't come across a whole lot of suggetions on what kinds of vests there are to cool them down. Mostly I read what to look for if they are overheating and coolign them down after the fact.. maybe I missed something. I was curious if any of you do anything to keep them cool during a search? A friend of mine uses this cooling colar, inserts cold packs and it cools them down while they are searching. He likes it, and Roxy seems to do well with it. I have also seen a couple vests at the store that have cold pack inserts on the chest, intended for the same thing. I stop him every so often to get water and sit for a minute but it never seems to be enough. He is also not entirely used to this weather either which may be a factor. It's his first stateside summer, his whole life was spent in Germany and German summers are quite cooler. Any suggestions on keeping my boy cool in the heat during the search?
 

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Does your dog live outside during the day? That is what I do and have not had too much in the way of problems even on hot days.

I just stop every 20-30 minutes and force a break in the shade and insist on drinking some water even though the dog is not interested in resting.

Anything I would put on the dog in the woods is going to get caught in the brush. I do have a chilly dog vest made of aluminet type fabric that seems to reflect direct sun and may try on the boat but we really try to work the boat dogs dawn or dusk anyway.

We tell officers we won't work the dogs midday on a hot sunny day as they are not too effective anyway that time of day but we will work people on hasties and setting up strategy and confienement.

If your teammate has a cooling vest that actually keeps the dog cool AND allows them to work in heavy brush in a high humidity environment, I would love to see which one. I know some like the phase change but they use that afterwards, not during.........
 

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Nancy made an important point. Does your dog live inside in the AC? If so that is the problem. My working dogs stay in the kennel. They have huge drum fans but they still acclimate to the heat and humidity. Dogs working in the climate cannot live in the AC and effectively work :)
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
That is a good point. I never honestly thought about that, him living inside. He is kept inside all day while I work, in the AC. How do you think I can acclimate him to living outside? That has never been a option for me since I moved here because he jumped my gate, but now that I moved and have a 6' privacy fence he can't jump it. Maybe I can get him an outside kennel for the day and all that, and give him some shade. The new place doesn't have many trees or a patio cover.. so it will have to be a pop up or something. What do you think? Also, I would still like him inside at night.. is that going to reverse the effect if he is outside during the day but not at night?

Kool Collar - Dog Beds, Dog Harnesses & Collars, Dog Clothes & Gifts for Dog Lovers | In The Company of Dogs= this is very similar to what my teammate uses.. they say if you are working outside a lot to use ice cubes instead of cold packs and save those when they are not doing a lot of activity and just want to keep cool. Roxy wears it on her searches and does great with it. I was just curious if you guys had any ideas.. maybe I will look into it.
 

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I bring Beau in at night. I figure the night temp in my house of 75-78 is not any cooler than it usually gets outside .........

Cant hurt to look into the collar, if it is velcro it is cheap enough to loose if he gets caught. Only thing I had heard though is that cooling off the neck may trick the brain into thinking the body is cooler than it really is and harm other total body cooling efforts. I carry those isntant cold packs in my pack but have never had to use them though I have poured cold water on the dogs groin.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
What's the temp during the day like? Here it's about 90 during the day with humidity. I am looking at getting a patio cover and another crate for the outside. Is there anything in particular you have outside to help with the heat, besides water obviously.. and on that note.. what's the best for keeping water cool?
 

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It is about the same here in the shade no wind. We had a week up to about 100 he stayed out. I just dump out the pool every few days (dirt and mosquitoes), I don't have a fan out back but that is good also if you can rig it up so dog can't get to it. Beau - no - I do not trust him and we have done ok without.

I don't have him crated outside. I do have a covered deck. I was thinking of getting stock tank but this thing gets so dirty so fast that I am constantly emptying. If is is only half full he will stretch out in it.

http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/pictures-pictures-pictures/185374-beau-likes-his-new-pool.html
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I should buy a pool for Titan regardless... he LOVES water, he's never had a little pool before.. might be entertaining. Lol. Well cool, I'm gonna look into a patio cover, i dont' think he really needs to be crated, he's always pretty good just had a problem with jumping the femce which isn't a problem anymore.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Any particular brand of fans you find works best? I'm also looking for fans for my car when we are at training.
 

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You can also move a good bit of air with an O2 cool or an Endless Breeze fan as well as a Ryobi. The little fans that clip onto the crates are pretty wimpy.

I may have to see how long a regular box fan lasts on my deep cycle battery with an inverter. Could be good for right after working.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I'll have to check that out. Just want more ventalation and air since it's getting so hot. We even moved our training early.. this heat is ridiculous!
 

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We do a lot of night training during the summer. It is very realistic for how we deploy the dogs.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Interesting... I will have to bring that up to George, our team lead. See what he thinks. About the only thing he wont do is search if there is lightning, it gets bad here.
 

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Its not just the heat but that is when missing folks tend to stay put.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
You know, that makes a lot of sense, I can see that being a really good training. How do the dogs differ between day trainings and night ones?
 

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Scent moves a bit differently - handlers tend to be a bit more skittish at the beginning but the dogs don't mind. Different critters more out and about. It is easy to overuse a flash light though because you don't want to inadvertently guide the dog and you don't want to loose acclimitization to night. A lot of LE do not want to search at night the ones around here will. Not sure how alligators might change the picture.

A lot of what happens if families will go out searching on their own, mainly in the country, then freak out when it starts getting dark and that is often when the first calls go out to LE. Why loose that time!?!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Right! Sounds like more teams need to train at night. Makes a lot of sense.

Now on another note.. I found out I am being deployed for 6 months.. what will that do to Titan's training if I can't get anyone to take him while I am gone :(

I have a good handful to watch him and absolutely adore him.. but I doubt any of them will get up at the butt crack of down on saturday mornings to train with him..
 
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