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Old 09-29-2011, 08:38 PM
Thor Thor is offline
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Default I'm trying to pick out a dog breed for MAR (Missing Animal Response)

Hi, I've been doing a lot of research on MAR as I would like to get involved with it.

I'm looking to get a scent hound. For those of you who don't know what MAR is, it's Missing Animal Response, I'm going to specialize in dogs.

What happens is the MAR dog is given something that smells like the dog they are looking for, such as a dog bed or a shirt, then tries to track the animal through sent.

I'm stuck between bloodhound and St. Bernard.

I somehow have the idea in my head that bloodhounds have the best sense of smell out of any dog. I think I may have researched it in the past, but can't find the article again so I don't know if this is true.

If it's not true, I would much rather get a St.Bernard, as I could end up moving to Alaska, and I hear they do well in cold weather. Plus, I think I would end up searching for lost hunting dogs in the wilderness quite a bit, and I believe a St.Bernard is large enough to stand up to a bear if needed.

Sense of smell trumps anything though, as I could always put a sweater on a bloodhound and carry around bear mace if needed.

I know I'm going to be asked this, so let me get it out of the way. The dog is a pet first, co worker second. I have tons of experience with different types of dogs as I've been raised around them since I was 8. I will however be getting a professional to assist me in training my new puppy in MAR.
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Old 09-29-2011, 08:43 PM
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Just realized I should have put this in dog breeds..... mods feel free to move it for me. Sorry.
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Old 09-29-2011, 09:46 PM
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Many, MANY breeds do well at scent work, not just scent hounds. In fact, one of the top SAR dogs in the country right now is an Australian Shepherd. Tons of Labs excel at scent work as well.

What are you looking for in a dog beyond their nose?
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Old 09-29-2011, 11:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoom View Post
Many, MANY breeds do well at scent work, not just scent hounds. In fact, one of the top SAR dogs in the country right now is an Australian Shepherd. Tons of Labs excel at scent work as well.

What are you looking for in a dog beyond their nose?
Do you know if you can use a dog that isn't a scent hound for trailing?

I know that you can use just about anything for tracking, but with trailing I'm inclined to believe you need a dog with a much more advanced sense of smell.

The difference is in tracking, you send a dog into a burning building and it just goes in and finds whatever it's looking for.

In trailing they may have to follow a sent that's 5 days old for miles.

Not sure if I got the two terms mixed up.

Another thing that would be nice to have, but isn't necessary is a dog that can handle business if we're trailing in the woods and an animal decides we look like a good meal.

It would also be nice to have an animal that can do well in a variety of weather.

Smart would be nice, but I think I'm overstepping by throwing this in. I'm starting to sound like I'm making a grocery list of what I need in a dog. Average intelligence should do the trick.

Also, I'd like the dog to be friendly to EVERYONE as it's going to be working with the general public. But with proper training I'm sure that can be done with any dog.

I'm really wanting a St.Bernard mainly because it checks off on more than half of my grocery list, and it would be an awesome pet to have. I would also be able to train it in weight pull just for fun. But I have to be reasonable in what I'm getting because even though it's going to be a pet first, it's also going to have to do its job well.

Any idea if a St.Bernard can track a 7 day old sent for 5 miles? If so, I've made my decision.
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Old 09-29-2011, 11:29 PM
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Filas have noses and fit your physical criteria, but Alaska might be a tad cold for them and they're definitely NOT the dog for the vast majority of dog people.

MyHorseMyRules (Jess) could probably give you the best advice.
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Old 09-29-2011, 11:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Renee750il View Post
Filas have noses and fit your physical criteria, but Alaska might be a tad cold for them and they're definitely NOT the dog for the vast majority of dog people.

MyHorseMyRules (Jess) could probably give you the best advice.
I've been fascinated with Filas before. Thing is, I don't know how it would do working so closely with animal and human populations. I need a dog that attacks when it's being attacked or an attack is definitely going to happen. From my understanding Filas friggin hate you just because they don't know who you are whether or not they've been through the rigorous training it takes to get the dog to understand not to attack everyone.

What happens when it finds a dog during an MAR search and the dog has fear issues and is growling? I can't really trust that every dog I'm finding is going to be well trained.
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Old 09-30-2011, 12:14 AM
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I'd think Search and Rescue qualifies as "trailing" and a variety of breeds excel at that.

MyHorseMyRules would be an excellent resource for your questions.

I'd foremost be thinking of a breed I could live with on a daily basis, because the calls for MAR aren't a daily occurance from what I understand.
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Old 09-30-2011, 02:15 AM
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In Alaska you darn well better have a gun to protect your tracking dog. I don't care how big, tough, or stubborn a dog is. A grizzly charges you guys and that dog is dead if he tries to stop the bear without any backup from you or a team of psycho dog buddies. Same thing goes for ticked off moose or desperate hungry wolves. It might actually be better if you get a dog that won't engage wildlife, because if your dog starts fighting with a bear you can't shoot the bear and save yourself and the dog without risking your dog getting shot too.

Just as an example, our obedience trainer has a sister in Alaska. The sister had two rottweilers. The overly large, overbred kind (100 lbs +). She drove up to the house one day only to have a rottweiler fly through the air and land on the hood of her suburban (it was thrown). The second dog came running, freaked out, with a grizzly right behind it. The dog on the hood jumped up and ran away too. They never saw their female rott again after that. The male showed up a few days later but he was so traumatized that they had to put him down a few months later.

They also had an Irish wolfhound that did engage a grizzly that came in their yard and went after their kid. The dog fought the bear for few minutes, giving the father time to run inside, get his gun, and scare the bear off with gunshots. The dog wasn't going to give up, but he was tore up pretty bad and would have died without his owner's backup.

As far as trailing dogs, you don't have to stick with just scenthounds. There are dobermans, collies, labs, mixes, german shepherds, etc. on the local SAR team and they do just fine locating folks on cold trails. Most dogs have incredible noses. Keep in mind that if you're working in subzero temps, the cold temperature by itself is going to affect the dog's ability to pick up a scent. Breed is less important than protecting their noses by not smoking around them and doing other things that screw up their ability to smell.

Honestly I'd probably pick something compact and adapted for the cold. Many of the giant breeds that would be all right for tracking are slow maturing and prone to lots of health problems. If your dog's elbows/hips go out you can't use all that training you put into him (and he won't be stopping any bears). If your dog gets injured on a search, you'll have a really hard time transporting him out of the wilderness if he weighs 100+ lbs. I'd probably look into a good samoyed or Norwegian elkhound. Laikas would be good trackers but they're kind of standoffish/aggressive with strange dogs and people. Samoyed would probably be my first pick though. They're small enough to carry if one got injured, big enough to work, adapted for cold, handler oriented since they are a herding dog, and you probably wouldn't have a hard time teaching one to ignore wild game.

If you're open to finding a good mix prospect, there are a lot of really nice working bred sled dogs in Alaska who are adapted for the climate. My sister had two, they were both black lab x malamute x mishmash of other sledding breeds. Both dogs were awesome, friendly, well adjusted, barked at moose and were willing to protect their people if the need arose (which didn't because my sis was prepared to defend them as well), they were physically sound, etc. Shadow was washed out as a sledding prospect, but would have been perfect at what you're describing.
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Old 09-30-2011, 02:35 AM
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Tazwell Tazwell is offline
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Just to throw this into the mix... Beaucerons excel at SAR work, and have an awesome ability to stay focused till the job is done. They can work for a long duration of time (bred to herd 30+ miles a day!) and are easily trained.
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Old 09-30-2011, 07:37 AM
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As far as scenthounds go, I've known some people to sell some of their Redbones to go on and become successful SAR dogs, and there's a guy who breeds Majestic Tree Hounds who have gone as far as Africa to track game, and he also sells to police departments and other people who do SAR.
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