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Esquire Golden Retrievers
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Discussion Starter #1
It's weird, there are fora and threads for every subject under the sun for Goldens, but absolutely zero interest in Search and Rescue. SAR not only saves lives, it's a great "dog sport," using the dogs' high prey/hunt drive and play drive, so it's great for Golden Retrievers.

Yesterday, I spent 7 hours out in the field doing SAR training, and the dogs had a blast and were amazing to watch and work with. It's less expensive than conformation. Why is there no interest in this lifesaving dog "sport" that is a natural for Goldens?
 

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Tracer, Rumor & Cady
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I think of SAR as an intense, lifestyle choice...not so much a dog sport.

The SAR teams that I attend classes with are hardcore, incredibly physically fit, wilderness junkies, not dog-trainers alone.

They have jobs that allow them to take time off, any day at any hour and be gone for several days/weeks at a time. And that is not 'just' the dog and handler, but their flankers as well!

The humans and the dogs train all the time & in every kind of weather, they endure the worst training conditions known.

They keep meticulous, INTENSE training records. (If my loved ones life is at stake I would expect nothing less!)

The teams I know are 'first responders' and have to remain proficient in basic lifesaving skills as well.

Most of the teams I know train to find both living and dead people which brings on a whole 'nother level of dedication.

I think of SAR folks as the 'Elite SEAL Teams' of the tracking world.

For me personally, it is not that I dont have an interest in what they do, but know that Im never going to be a SAR handler! I take GREAT comfort knowing that these elite teams are willing and able to find my sorry-butt if I get lost in the Maine woods!
 

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I am a member of a SAR team and Maiya is my current partner. Definitely not a "dog sport". I realize you put it in quotes, but still. . . Most people don't have the time, money, or dedication for SAR.
 

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I'm very interested in SAR training. More specifically I'm fascinated by cadaver dog training. Right now we are doing Nose Work with Tayla. We have our first trial in 2 weeks. We are also starting some tracking with her and she has an incredible nose. I would love to move into some area of cadaver dog training with her. I'm always looking at these posts, but they along with Nose Work get very little traffic.
 
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Ivan, my Dobe, starts Nose Work next month. He's my SAR dropout. I had a really hard time finding classes in my area. I'm soooo, sooo excited to get started.
 

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I think Ivan will love it. He certainly has the long nose that does well for NW.
 
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I will echo the above comments. I think the closest I will ever get to SAR is tracking, which, I know I know, is not actually anything like SAR ;) We have done some limited tracking work with Jack and it was really fun. I just don't have the free time to do that at the moment since the tests are typically on weekdays. I think Kira, in particular, would LOVE it. Someday soon, hopefully. :)
 

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I'd love to know more about SAR work but agree with the posts above that it's not just another dog sport. I'm reminded of that picture that has been posted in the past of the SAR Golden strapped into a stretcher type thing, alone, being lifted by a crane above the wreckage of the World Trade Center, going where no human would go. What more important work could a Golden do? But it seems to me it is a job, not a spare time activity. A job that needs a very special, fit and well trained dog with a human partner equally fit and well trained.

Wondering what a "flanker" is in SAR work?
 

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You have "ground pounders" that are people searching for the lost person without the aid of a dog.

"Flankers" are assisting the dog handler. Although a dog is the handler's primary focus, it's not realistic that you will have your eyes on your dog every second as you're navigating through the woods. Flankers are familiar with your dog and can help read signs like a head hook that your dog might be in odor. They're also manning the radio keeping in touch with command, keeping track of your location, reading the map to make sure all of your area is covered, etc.
 

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Esquire Golden Retrievers
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Discussion Starter #12
I am a member of a SAR team and Maiya is my current partner. Definitely not a "dog sport". I realize you put it in quotes, but still. . . Most people don't have the time, money, or dedication for SAR.
I'll agree with the dedication part. But anyone who spends $15,000 finishing a dog's championship has the money, and an awful lot of dog folks put in just as much time as SAR teams in whatever their interest is. They just don't commit to taking off from their jobs at any moment and putting themselves and their dogs in danger.

What I meant by "dog sport" is that it uses all the traits and skills of a hunting or field dog, and then some.

Gibbs and I are still in what I'd call the pre-apprentice phase of SAR training. It's physical and it takes a lot of time, and the handler has as much training as the dog. But as far as the dog goes, it's all about hunt drive and play drive, and using those skills and traits to save lives and recover bodies. We are training Gibbs as an area dog. When we are mission ready, I expect that we will have spent 2-3 years and $4,000-$8,000. That's no more time or money than every conformation owner spends pursuing a championship (though I'll grant that most of them do it sitting on their butts and watching a handler do the actual work).

I'm fortunate I'm the boss at my own business so I have the flexibility to do SAR. I know not everyone does. Still, there are tons of Golden people who don't work and devote their every waking moment to dog stuff. And I just can't help but think, I'm nothing special, and if I can do it, they can do it. The difference is that I want to.

For some reason, there just isn't the interest in SAR as other dog pursuits.
 

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Kate
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For some reason, there just isn't the interest in SAR as other dog pursuits.
I think again - it's because of the perception of it being a calling as opposed to a sport or hobby. The people I know personally who do SAR have connections with police departments and or had that training.
 

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Esquire Golden Retrievers
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Discussion Starter #14
I think of SAR as an intense, lifestyle choice...not so much a dog sport.

The SAR teams that I attend classes with are hardcore, incredibly physically fit, wilderness junkies, not dog-trainers alone.

They have jobs that allow them to take time off, any day at any hour and be gone for several days/weeks at a time. And that is not 'just' the dog and handler, but their flankers as well!

The humans and the dogs train all the time & in every kind of weather, they endure the worst training conditions known.

They keep meticulous, INTENSE training records. (If my loved ones life is at stake I would expect nothing less!)

The teams I know are 'first responders' and have to remain proficient in basic lifesaving skills as well.

Most of the teams I know train to find both living and dead people which brings on a whole 'nother level of dedication.

I think of SAR folks as the 'Elite SEAL Teams' of the tracking world.

For me personally, it is not that I dont have an interest in what they do, but know that Im never going to be a SAR handler! I take GREAT comfort knowing that these elite teams are willing and able to find my sorry-butt if I get lost in the Maine woods!
That's a great post! But I think it romanticizes them a little bit.

Certainly there are hardcore wilderness junkies. But Gibbs and I are doing this (just at the beginning), and I'm just an average person. I'm no wilderness junkie and I'm not in incredible shape. But in my youth I backpacked the Sierras, I have run 16 marathons, am certified as a Rescue Diver, Divemaster and Open Water SCUBA instructor, and I have taught emergency first responder courses, so even though I'm no SEAL, I'm able to do the work necessary for SAR teams and the work doesn't intimidate me. (Gibbs is in SEAL shape, though, and he's the one doing the hard stuff. :) )

I enjoy training in "the worst training conditions known." That's actually my idea of fun! :bowl: And yes, area dogs (which Gibbs will be) must necessarily be able to find living people and the recently deceased. It's part of the gig.

You have to be in reasonably good shape, be able to pick up and go at a moment's notice, and be willing to work your dog during the week and drive long distances to spend your weekends doing training. The time and travel is what dog show people already do. And the money is nothing compared to finishing a championship with a professional handler.

I don't want to minimize it, but you don't have to be superman or superwoman to do SAR. You just have to make a commitment to saving lives.
 

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Esquire Golden Retrievers
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Discussion Starter #15
I think again - it's because of the perception of it being a calling as opposed to a sport or hobby. The people I know personally who do SAR have connections with police departments and or had that training.
Okay, I get that. It's not a "sport" or "hobby." It is a serious commitment.
 

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Esquire Golden Retrievers
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Discussion Starter #16
I'd love to know more about SAR work but agree with the posts above that it's not just another dog sport. I'm reminded of that picture that has been posted in the past of the SAR Golden strapped into a stretcher type thing, alone, being lifted by a crane above the wreckage of the World Trade Center, going where no human would go. What more important work could a Golden do? But it seems to me it is a job, not a spare time activity. A job that needs a very special, fit and well trained dog with a human partner equally fit and well trained.
You mean this one?



This is the dog that made me want to do SAR with my dogs. It has taken a decade for me to actually get started in it, but better late than never. :)
 

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In complete honesty - it's just not an idea that holds much interest for me.
 

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where the tails wag
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You know, it was of great interest to me for many years. But in order to feed my dogs, I need to report to the cubicle farm daily.
 

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I was referring to the typical Golden owner and not specifically conformation owners. I imagine conformation owners, or anyone pursuing a specific field, pursue what they do because it is what interests them. I'm okay with people pursuing what interests them. Doesn't make anyone more or less special.

It's easy for me to understand why more people don't do it. It's responsibility. It's life and death. Grieving families. Court cases and testifying. It's uncomfortable. Heat, rain, snow, ticks, mosquitos, etc. It's hours of studying peripheral skills like ropes, HazMat, first aid, crime scene preservation, incident command, etc.
 
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Esquire Golden Retrievers
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Discussion Starter #20
I was referring to the typical Golden owner and not specifically conformation owners. I imagine conformation owners, or anyone pursuing a specific field, pursue what they do because it is what interests them. I'm okay with people pursuing what interests them. Doesn't make anyone more or less special.

It's easy for me to understand why more people don't do it. It's responsibility. It's life and death. Grieving families. Court cases and testifying. It's uncomfortable. Heat, rain, snow, ticks, mosquitos, etc. It's hours of studying peripheral skills like ropes, HazMat, first aid, crime scene preservation, incident command, etc.
Heh. Well, I guess I'm weird. All those things you mentioned? That's what I find enjoyable about it (except the grieving families, but you do give them something very valuable and that is a Very Good Thing). I guess I think of it as a way to do something in the world worthwhile. Most of what we do is of little consequence, especially for folks like me who have no family. I'm driven to do something that matters. It's why I went into law in the first place.

Yeah, I get it, I get it. I just wish there was more interest. I live in an area with 15,000,000 people, and it's astonishing how few SAR teams there are. I'm looking forward to becoming mission ready with Gibbs, and adding one more team. Next up is night training on 2/5.
 
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