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I am getting a puppy that I am going to train in Schutzhund and/or Ringsport. I also have an interest in Search and Rescue but I am concerned with the difference in tracking. Some have mentioned that S&R dogs air track and that could effect my tracking score on the Schutzhund field. Does anyone do both with their dogs? What are your opinions?
 

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I have only been involved in SchHund (now IPO), but there should be no problem. You would use a different command for tracking from the air scenting for Search and Rescue. Dobermans are very intelligent, and can easily learn the difference.
 

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I think the problem stems from if the track goes weak...rather than cast around on the ground to pick it up again, the dog finds it easier to air cast. (This is from what I have read). ...and that might incur penalties in a tracking trial. I think from memory there is some stuff on the net, that suggests it can be done....but the different types of tracking should be taught in a certain order....will post it if I can stumble across it again.
 

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If you go with Ringsport, there is no tracking to worry about. If you go with SchH then the tracking is very different. To my knowledge, there aren't many SchH dogs that also do SAR. Part of this reason is tracking.

There are new rules for IPO though where you don't have to do tracking anymore. I can't recall the actual initials, but there is a SchH1, 2 and 3 title that omits tracking. Perhaps you could go that route.
 

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I can tell you all about SAR if you'd like :) but, long story short to answer your question- SAR dogs do both air scenting and trailing- which in reality, is a distinction that only humans make. Most (if not all) dogs that are scenting for something will go back and forth interchangeably.

SAR is a huge investment, both financially and with time. I don't think anyone has mentioned the thousands of dollars you will have to spend on wilderness gear. The gear isn't something you can go 'half way' on either- cheap boots feel like cheap boots after 10 hours, and in the backcountry, thats the LAST thing you want. You need a rescue pack, all the gear to survive 24hrs in it and then some. Then theres the clothes and stuff like that. I've spent so much money on gear that if I looked at all the receipts, I'd probably feint! and thats with me shopping sales/online/etc. Not including gas or anything!

The time requirement is also really extensive- Our practices are twice a week at 2-6 hours each. (mine has an added drive time of an hour- boo!) Not including time they expect you to be working on home training with the dog (15-20hrs/week). Also they hold week-long SAREX (search and rescue exersizes) that are mandatory, or you'd better have a darn good excuse! Then there are missions themselves- no only are we dispatched anytime, any day, but the searches are often held over days, possibly weeks. The last live search I was on went for 8 days, we drove out there and stayed the whole time.. searching 14hrs+/day.

Its not really a hobby type thing, I would say. All that said, if you have any really specific questions about SAR or scenting theory, feel free to PM me. While Callie will be my first SAR canine, I have years of experience as a ground team search and rescue member.
 

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Agree with the above, I think you would be hard pressed to do both, they are both very time consuming (especially SAR), SAR is not a hobby, peoples lives are on the line and they expect a LOT of you and your dog (I know with SAR here you barely ever get to pick your own dog, they are very choosy about the dogs that can come on the team and prefer to find you a working dog)
 

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Agree with the above, I think you would be hard pressed to do both, they are both very time consuming (especially SAR), SAR is not a hobby, peoples lives are on the line and they expect a LOT of you and your dog (I know with SAR here you barely ever get to pick your own dog, they are very choosy about the dogs that can come on the team and prefer to find you a working dog)
I would just like to hit on a VERY important point that DW just brought up- you could, potentially, end up investing thousands of dollars into SAR, and find out that your dog just isn't into it, And some dogs aren't, it happens. They just don't get it, they don't have the drive to find people that aren't their people, or they just plain don't like it. Also, there isn't a SAR group in CO that will let you say "oh, I only want to be part of your group if I can do this with THIS dog" its just not realistic. Most will ask for the commitment to making yourself an available ground team support member with or without a dog, which takes a year of training and then a cert. test.

It is a minimum of two years to get a dog trained and certified here in Colorado, so you're looking at 3 years before you can get out and be a live handler team on a search- forgot to add that in my post. Not trying to scare you off or anything, just being realistic and letting you know whats involved :)
 
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