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  #11  
Old 09-30-2011, 08:48 AM
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Aleron Aleron is offline
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While many breeds can do well at scent work and tracking, I tend to think a Bloodhound bred for the work will be your best bet for trailing and it sounds like trailing is what you will need. Bloodhounds have been bred pretty much only for that job and everything about them lends itself to the job.


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  #12  
Old 09-30-2011, 11:18 AM
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Most dogs can be taught to use their nose, and you can hone their ability with training and practice. Yes, it is useful to find a breed that has a natural ability for scentwork. But that's neither the only nor the first thing I look for in a SAR dog. You take a dog that is athletic, confident, high drive, attentive, and handler oriented... You can almost always get a good working dog out of that mix. And while you'll have a professional helping you train, you are going to be the handler. So you need to figure out what kind of personality would suit you. As someone else already pointed out, MAR won't have you called out on a daily basis. So you need a breed that you will be happy living with first and foremost.

Second, you might think about a medium sized dog. If the dog gets hurt in the field, you get to carry it out. Yes, large dogs CAN be pulled out on deer drags. But what kind of terrain will you be going over? How far out are you likely to be? I absolutely love large dogs. But I need dogs that I can work, so I have medium sized dogs. Because I know that if they get hurt in the field, I can carry them on my shoulders for quite a distance. Not to mention when we work rubble... But I don't think you'll have to deal with that as much.

I certainly would not ask one of my dogs to handle a wild animal. Yes, my dogs are strong and capable. But that's not their job. Their job is to find what I ask them to find. My job (and in SAR, the flanker's job) is to do my best to keep them safe while they do that. If you're going to be in Alaska, travel well-armed. You are right to be looking for a dog that can handle the cold if you might move to Alaska. But how sure are you that you'll be going there? If you're not positive, you might think about a dog that has a fair tolerance to both heat and cold. Because you can take measures to protect yours dogs from either extreme, but it's very hard to work a dog in the heat when they're far more suited to the cold.
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  #13  
Old 09-30-2011, 11:22 AM
SaraB SaraB is offline
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I think if you are set on a Saint to make sure you get one from active/working lines. I know far too many saints that are unwilling to stay sitting in a sit stay (rather than sliding into a down) much less actually work. LOL
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  #14  
Old 09-30-2011, 11:30 AM
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Saintgirl Saintgirl is offline
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It really depends on what you want first and foremost. While a Saint does have a strong nose and has reportedly said to be able to smell out buried avalanche victims 20 feet under the snow they have a short career lifespan. A Saint is very slow to mature both mentally and physically and they are fast to age. My old boy stopped moving through the snow well at seven (he died when he was only 8 which is certainly not an uncommon age for Saints). I certainly wouldn't expect any Saint to defend against a bear. While very large they are far from fast and agile. My 4 year old Saint gets nearly a chuckle out of everyone who sees him running, it looks like a slow motion video of lots of jowls, dewlap, and drool moving in every direction at once! The other thing to take into consideration with a Saint is that trekking through the snow for hours on end is going to be very heavy work for a Saint Bernard. The ones used by the monks where not nearly as draft like as todays Saint Bernards, they were a lighter build dog capable of trekking through the snow for hours at a time.

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Saint Bernards and can't imagine life without them but I always tell people to be realistic when they are thinking of gettng one. They are HUGE, hairy, drooly dogs who want to be with you at all times. They don't live long and they are prone to heartbreaking joint problems. While alot of people tell me that they would just love to own one they are not the breed that many people realistically would enjoy for the lifetime of the animal.

I personally think for the work you are looking to get into that a Saint wouldn't be the best fit, something smaller with more energy and agility would be a better fit. With that being said if you are determinded to get a Saint I'm sure you could find a smaller bred Saint from a reputable breeder that might suit what you are looking for. A small smooth coated female could be 90 to 100 lbs and might be a great fit.
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  #15  
Old 09-30-2011, 11:52 AM
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AliciaD AliciaD is offline
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I've read a little, but not much, about SAR and if I got anything wrong please let me know!

From my understanding of what you want, and what MAR and SAR entail, I think you want a dog that can do trailing, not just air scent. Trailing/tracking (I've heard them used interchangeably, and I've heard them defined as two separate things.) means that the dog has its nose to the ground and is trying to follow the path of the missing as closely as possible. This is the method that will find lost articles on the ground.

Air scent is when a dog sniffs out the missing with its head held high. It's sniffing the air. There's some specific stuff about working into the wind, and dividing the work amongst grids, etc.

From my understanding, most dogs naturally air scent, and if you teach air scenting first it can be very difficult to teach trailing afterwards, because air scenting is the easier of the two. Bloodhounds naturally trail, so that may be what you are looking for.

German Shepherds, as one example, can be trained to do both. Don't rule out other breeds though! Regardless of what you think has the best nose, they are all far better than you!

On a side note, if you're in Alaska and come across a Kodiak bear, please don't let your dog fight it! You can get certain bear dogs (isn't the Plott a hound that was used for hunting bears? They are a scenthound you may want to look into) like the Karelian Bear Dog, and other dogs bred to hold large game- but even then a bear that doesn't back down can do horrible damage. I wouldn't let my dog fight it out with a Kodiak.
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  #16  
Old 09-30-2011, 02:27 PM
Thor Thor is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MyHorseMyRules View Post
Most dogs can be taught to use their nose, and you can hone their ability with training and practice. Yes, it is useful to find a breed that has a natural ability for scentwork. But that's neither the only nor the first thing I look for in a SAR dog. You take a dog that is athletic, confident, high drive, attentive, and handler oriented... You can almost always get a good working dog out of that mix. And while you'll have a professional helping you train, you are going to be the handler. So you need to figure out what kind of personality would suit you. As someone else already pointed out, MAR won't have you called out on a daily basis. So you need a breed that you will be happy living with first and foremost.

Second, you might think about a medium sized dog. If the dog gets hurt in the field, you get to carry it out. Yes, large dogs CAN be pulled out on deer drags. But what kind of terrain will you be going over? How far out are you likely to be? I absolutely love large dogs. But I need dogs that I can work, so I have medium sized dogs. Because I know that if they get hurt in the field, I can carry them on my shoulders for quite a distance. Not to mention when we work rubble... But I don't think you'll have to deal with that as much.

I certainly would not ask one of my dogs to handle a wild animal. Yes, my dogs are strong and capable. But that's not their job. Their job is to find what I ask them to find. My job (and in SAR, the flanker's job) is to do my best to keep them safe while they do that. If you're going to be in Alaska, travel well-armed. You are right to be looking for a dog that can handle the cold if you might move to Alaska. But how sure are you that you'll be going there? If you're not positive, you might think about a dog that has a fair tolerance to both heat and cold. Because you can take measures to protect yours dogs from either extreme, but it's very hard to work a dog in the heat when they're far more suited to the cold.
From my understanding, you're the one to talk to about a MAR/SAR type dog.

I'm thinking Beauceron. They fit what you told me to look for and what I would want in a pet. Only problem is they aren't scenthounds.

Would their huge drive to work make up for the fact that they don't have the same sense of smell as a bloodhound?
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  #17  
Old 09-30-2011, 02:35 PM
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Tazwell Tazwell is offline
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The breeder I got Fleetwood from has trained and handled quite a few of her dogs in SAR. They excel at it, and seem to have a natural affinity for the task. I have to imagine scenting pets might even be easier than scenting people, but I don't know that.

Her kennel name is in my siggy, if you're really interested you may want to contact her! I'm sure she'd be happy to answer your questions about Beaucerons and SAR work.
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  #18  
Old 09-30-2011, 08:55 PM
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I think you're thinking about the nose a bit too much. Yes, it would be beneficial to have a dog with a superior sense of smell. But the fact is, that ranks a lot lower on my list of traits I look for in a working dog than you might think. That being said, I don't know anything about Beaucerons. So if you want to look into that breed, I would contact breeders (like the one Tazwell mentioned), owners, and trainers who have dealt with them. Make sure you hear the good and the bad. No breed is absolutely perfect. What you want is the breed that's perfect for you. I love my lab, but she's a hoover dog. I love my 'houla, but he's very vocal. I love my husky, but.... Well, she's just a PITA. lol But these are all "faults" that I can happily live with. People have a tendency to try to gloss over things like that, but you need to be aware so you can make an informed decision. There's no rush. Take your time, and find the breed that's perfect for you.
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  #19  
Old 10-01-2011, 11:11 PM
Thor Thor is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MyHorseMyRules View Post
I think you're thinking about the nose a bit too much. Yes, it would be beneficial to have a dog with a superior sense of smell. But the fact is, that ranks a lot lower on my list of traits I look for in a working dog than you might think. That being said, I don't know anything about Beaucerons. So if you want to look into that breed, I would contact breeders (like the one Tazwell mentioned), owners, and trainers who have dealt with them. Make sure you hear the good and the bad. No breed is absolutely perfect. What you want is the breed that's perfect for you. I love my lab, but she's a hoover dog. I love my 'houla, but he's very vocal. I love my husky, but.... Well, she's just a PITA. lol But these are all "faults" that I can happily live with. People have a tendency to try to gloss over things like that, but you need to be aware so you can make an informed decision. There's no rush. Take your time, and find the breed that's perfect for you.
Ya know what just occurred to me 5 minutes ago....

I was walking one of my dogs and she was smelling everything and anything.
She also has a strong drive and literally the most confidence I've ever seen in a dog.

She's a 6 months old 75% pitbull 25% Akita. Is there any reason I couldn't just train her for this?
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  #20  
Old 10-01-2011, 11:24 PM
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PWCorgi PWCorgi is offline
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Quote:
I think you're thinking about the nose a bit too much. Yes, it would be beneficial to have a dog with a superior sense of smell. But the fact is, that ranks a lot lower on my list of traits I look for in a working dog than you might think.
My corgi kicked every other dogs butt in our nosework class, scenthounds included. Just sayin'

Not that I am suggesting you get a corgi
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