Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Search and Rescue

Let me start off this post by saying that while we love Archer dearly, I don't think that either of us realized what we were getting into when we brought him home!  'I love dogs' turned into 'my friend has a friend who's had GSD puppies - can we just go look' turned into 'OMGWENEEDTHISDOG'.  I've always loved German Shepherds, they are truly amazing animals...but holy hell is Archer high maintenance.  Anybody who is thinking about getting a working class dog should really really think about whether they actually want the responsibility of making sure that dog is mentally stimulated (which I've found is much more difficult to do than just tiring a dog out every day).  That being said, having Archer has been kind of a 'blessing in disguise' even though I really hate that saying! *Now, imagine me saying this in a Julia Child voice* He has turned into something for me to DO!  I've had a lot of time since I have not been working that much...and I have really put a lot of time and energy into training him.   Okay, now that that's out of the way, let's talk about Search and Rescue!

Part of Archer being a working dog is that he has an incredibly high DRIVE.  He needs something to do, or else he is just a freaking nightmare!  Part of the problem that we were having was that he really needed a job, but we just didn't know that!  I'm not sure what gave me the idea that we should look into SAR, but once I did, I was glad!  The group that we're part of directed me to a new obedience trainer (she's the president of SAR group, but also has an obedience school) and that change has been AMAZING! This new obedience school has made him an entirely new dog!  Basically all of the problems we've been having are now gone!  Wednesday nights we have obedience and Sunday mornings we do SAR.  We are in the early stages of training, so it's all about teaching Archer 'the game'.  Archer having that insane drive has been instrumental in teaching him the find game, because he wants to do it, and he wants to please me!  Sometimes they have to actually try and teach the dog to have a higher drive, but Archer's already got it, which I've been told will make training him to do this easier!  What happens is, someone goes and hides (not very far away) behind a tree or bush or something.  While that person is hiding, you're saying 'oh, where are they going, are you going to find them?' over and over to get them excited about wanting to follow that individual.  Then, you point them in the right direction and say GO FIND, and they run off to go find that person!  Once they do find them (usually they're a straight shot away) there's lots of praise and treats so they know they just did what you wanted.  It's so fun, and Archer just has the best time ever on Sundays!  Plus, because of all the mental stimulation, he's usually exhausted when we get home :).  One of the trainers even said that she thought he must have been made for it!  It's been so interesting and really a lot of fun.

On Sunday we were voted in to the group (but we won't be official members who pay dues until after our 3 month probation period is over).  But, we're in!  It's pretty exciting!

*I think if we had kids, Archer wouldn't need a job as much as he does now...because watching over the children would be his job!  Lots of GSD's are 'nanny' dogs and take it upon themselves to make sure that no harm befalls 'their' kids!  Isn't that just so cute?  Since we're currently childless, we've been able to find another outlet :)

And, here's your cute cute picture for the day!
He's getting pretty big, right?  We went and hung out at the local non-mall as part of his training.  He needs to learn how to be okay at other places!  He got compliments, pets, dog treats, and more compliments...good day for him!

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