German Shepherds Forum banner

1 - 20 of 20 Posts

·
Banned
Joined
·
788 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello, I'm trying to get into Search and Rescue to become an even stronger person. The commitment is a lot of work understandable, however have a secret passion for missions. Only regret is I didn't do SAR sooner. :( Now please share your experiences in SAR. Also have questions regarding dogs for SAR because I wonder about getting my own German shepherd for this. Also questionable to use my 5-year-old Labradoodle who seems to have good scenting skills observed in Intro Scenting back in March 2014. In addition, please let me know knowledge and experiences with dogs for search and rescue.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
16,483 Posts
SAR is a very strong committment. The best thing is to get involved with a team (and there are plenty in California) and see if it is a fit. There is strong partnership with a dog but most SAR folks I know view their dogs a lot like LE view their dogs...working partners, strong bond, but not the same kind of relationships you have described in past posts. It is not "about the dog" and the dog is mainly a tool to an end.

You also have to be willing to risk your dogs life. I know you have mentioned feelings that all life is equal. I think most are willing to risk their dog's life to save a human.

Not likely a 5 year old dog would be allowed to start out in a SAR program. Sometimes a team will let an older dog come in with a handler so they can learn about training the dogs but that dog rarely actually works. FIgure 7-8 years old most are retired.

You are barely 18, if that. How could you regret not starting SAR sooner? Being a legal adult is often a prerequisite.

It is rewarding, yet painful. It is hard to deal with death, particularly of a small child but it is not uncommon that the victim is found dead. The live finds carry you forward when you get in the low spots.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
788 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
SAR is a very strong committment. The best thing is to get involved with a team (and there are plenty in California) and see if it is a fit. There is strong partnership with a dog but most SAR folks I know view their dogs a lot like LE view their dogs...working partners, strong bond, but not the same kind of relationships you have described in past posts. It is not "about the dog" and the dog is mainly a tool to an end.

You also have to be willing to risk your dogs life. I know you have mentioned feelings that all life is equal. I think most are willing to risk their dog's life to save a human.

Not likely a 5 year old dog would be allowed to start out in a SAR program. Sometimes a team will let an older dog come in with a handler so they can learn about training the dogs but that dog rarely actually works. FIgure 7-8 years old most are retired.

You are barely 18, if that. How could you regret not starting SAR sooner? Being a legal adult is often a prerequisite.

It is rewarding, yet painful. It is hard to deal with death, particularly of a small child but it is not uncommon that the victim is found dead. The live finds carry you forward when you get in the low spots.
19-years-old in college, dogs aren't tools they have souls. Have SAR dogs and SAR people died in SAR missions?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,250 Posts
If you let us know where you're located, someone may be able to point you in the right direction for a club near you.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
788 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
If you let us know where you're located, someone may be able to point you in the right direction for a club near you.
I found a SAR in Marin. Talked to a guy already through email. Awaiting replies from the dog SAR site for unanswered questions. In the meantime, I know there are people experience and knowledgable on here. So questions will go here too to be answered.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
16,483 Posts
19-years-old in college, dogs aren't tools they have souls. Have SAR dogs and SAR people died in SAR missions?
Plenty of dogs have died in both missions and training-either being hit by cars or impaled on rebar, bitten by snakes, and serious injuries. I personally know several dogs who died due to SAR missions or had to be PTS due to serious injuries.

I know of some folks who have died; the most dangerous part of SAR for the people is driving to and from. Certainly some injuries as well. I have a 5" long plate in my own ankle.

Just sharing a viewpoint that seems pretty prevalent. I am VERY attached to my dog and a working partnership is deeper than any pet relationship I have ever had, but for the purposes of SAR he is a tool. Nothing more, nothing less. If GPR or Side Scan is a better tool at a given time, I celebrate its use. It is not about the dog.

Ok. Advice stands. Get on a team without the dog and get involved and SEE if is for you. Teamwork is everything. That needs to click first...THEN...get the dog for this.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
788 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Plenty of dogs have died in both missions and training-either being hit by cars or impaled on rebar, bitten by snakes, and serious injuries. I personally know several dogs who died due to SAR missions or had to be PTS due to serious injuries.

I know of some folks who have died; the most dangerous part of SAR for the people is driving to and from. Certainly some injuries as well. I have a 5" long plate in my own ankle.

Just sharing a viewpoint that seems pretty prevalent. I am VERY attached to my dog and a working partnership is deeper than any pet relationship I have ever had, but for the purposes of SAR he is a tool. Nothing more, nothing less. If GPR or Side Scan is a better tool at a given time, I celebrate its use. It is not about the dog.

Ok. Advice stands. Get on a team without the dog and get involved and SEE if is for you. Teamwork is everything. That needs to click first...THEN...get the dog for this.
So he is as much as a GPR or side scan? It's worse to lose a breathing tool rather than a GPR, on these missions. I won't leave any mission without my dog. We both risks are lives simultaneously, we also are a team too. Along with our future team.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
16,941 Posts
Nancy isn't saying that dogs in SAR are expendable - she is saying that there are risks involved, and you need to be aware of those risks for you to make an informed decision about pursuing SAR training.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
788 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Plenty of dogs have died in both missions and training-either being hit by cars or impaled on rebar, bitten by snakes, and serious injuries. I personally know several dogs who died due to SAR missions or had to be PTS due to serious injuries.

I know of some folks who have died; the most dangerous part of SAR for the people is driving to and from. Certainly some injuries as well. I have a 5" long plate in my own ankle.

Just sharing a viewpoint that seems pretty prevalent. I am VERY attached to my dog and a working partnership is deeper than any pet relationship I have ever had, but for the purposes of SAR he is a tool. Nothing more, nothing less. If GPR or Side Scan is a better tool at a given time, I celebrate its use. It is not about the dog.

Ok. Advice stands. Get on a team without the dog and get involved and SEE if is for you. Teamwork is everything. That needs to click first...THEN...get the dog for this.
So SAR can be dangerous for anyone. Important to be on guard 24/7 then, work as a team rather than solo. That way it's safer, plus we are better off that way. Teamwork is great thing!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19,451 Posts
I looked into SAR years back and decided against it because my job would not allow me the flexibility I felt was necessary in order for the group to invest their time and resources training me. If we go through all that work, I wanted to actually be available/on-call and I can't. The group I talked to does at least a year of training and initial certifications before you are allowed to start working with a dog, so most people that join and already have a dog won't be working that dog once they're ready.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,884 Posts
Lobobear said "I know there are people experience and knowledgable on here. So questions will go here too to be answered."

You are getting some very good answers from Jocoyn who has been active in this endeavour for years .

All working dogs are exposed to risk , sometimes fatal. That includes SAR , Police, and Military .

You have to be personally mentally prepared to make a find that is not pleasant , someone who was found , but too late . The only consolation you have then is that the family can have some closure.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
16,483 Posts
I think the bottom line is that nothing beats meeting up with and spending time with the people on the local SAR team. That has to "click" before you move to step 2. If not that team, maybe another. Don't burn any bridges with anyone because leadership from different teams talk with one another.

We all have different experiences and it is what is local to you that will matter.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
32,304 Posts
I think the point here is that if you try to go into SAR with the mindset that your dog is your primary concern and you wouldn't consider putting it in harms way to save a human life, I doubt any SAR team is going to spend time training you. That is not at all the same thing as thinking of your dog as "just a tool", it's just recognizing that the purpose of SAR is to find lost people who may be injured or dead, and that often the search conditions will be hazardous. The team members need to rely on each other.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
788 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
I think the point here is that if you try to go into SAR with the mindset that your dog is your primary concern and you wouldn't consider putting it in harms way to save a human life, I doubt any SAR team is going to spend time training you. That is not at all the same thing as thinking of your dog as "just a tool", it's just recognizing that the purpose of SAR is to find lost people who may be injured or dead, and that often the search conditions will be hazardous. The team members need to rely on each other.
Not necessarily true, I wouldn't let my dogs die, we both put our life on the line. We would put ourselves in harms way saving a humans or a dog's life. I'm sure a SAR team will spend time training me because I'm a super strong courageous person. One that never gives up no matter what gets thrown at us. We will endure anything. Any SAR team will love that quality I'm sure.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,944 Posts
Personally I love being part of search and rescue. It's been an exhilarating and grueling experience and I consider myself to be experienced in outdoor survival. (As much as a civilian can be without specific tactical military experience.)

As others have suggested you need to investigate teams and join the program. However, I can tell you the one thing they frown upon is being cocky. Cocky people get people killed. One of the hardest but most important parts about SAR is recognizing your weaknesses, recognizing that you aren't 100% on a given day and being able to step down when you need to. The person with a big ego will not get very far in the door.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
788 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Not cocky, I'm confident and a fearless person. However, still fear death for those who are precious, people, plus myself.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
16,483 Posts
It is good to be confident but the most confident, capable people I know tend to be very humble and understated about their abilities because everyone knows them by their actions.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
788 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
It is good to be confident but the most confident, capable people I know tend to be very humble and understated about their abilities because everyone knows them by their actions.
I know mine and tend to overcome limits so it's unlimited.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,116 Posts
First of all, you should know the SAR work in practice. You can work as a volunteer helper at your local SAR station or club getting experience. Then, if GSD is not one dog but a family of breeding lines for their qualities, the matter goes even deeper - different professional dogs, whether they are sport dogs, search dogs or PP dogs inherit their hunting drive, their noses or protective drives from their parents in such a way, that they become more suitable, that's why they learn necessary skills faster. That's why SAR dog trainers and handlers prefer to get their next puppy from the "speciality" breeder. You, vertually, can buy a SAR puppy, though, you might need to wait for one. Here's one of sites: Search and Rescue Dogs for Sale | Custom Canine Unlimited
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
16,483 Posts
David, overall good suggestions. A dog properly bred for this kind of work picks up things so much faster. Most the good folks don't have to advertise either. You go to training or seminars, get blown away by a dog and ask "where did you get that dog?" you then find out others get their dogs from the same place.

Never heard of these folks and live one hour from the GA state line and know some SAR handlers in GA. It does look like they are selling to some police departments, though.

Several of folks on the GA team have their dogs from a breeder in VA who is on this forum :) and from whom I would buy a dog in a heartbeat; mine came from a very very small breeder in WV who does not even produce a litter a year but has a high percentage in SAR and LE. I know a great breeder in NoCal whose lines are known for SAR, detection work, and LE dogs. Also one in Idaho. [all three of these last breeders have a lot of the same lines in their dogs and actually the one from VA just had a dog with these lines in one of her litters]

There are also some folks known in the SAR community for networking with breeders, buying litters and producing great dogs for SAR work, but those folks mainly work with labs.
 
1 - 20 of 20 Posts
Top