Great Dane as a Tracking Dog…say what again?

Search and rescue work, you ask anyone what breeds of dogs come to mind and you are sure to hear  German Shepherd, Labs, Golden retrievers, Belgian Malinois, maybe even an Australian Shepherd, but Great Dane? Not even on people’s radar.  In fact they might just laugh at you… well as sure as the sun raises in the east, I have a Great Dane that is a Certified Tracking dog. If you read my previous posts, I originally got Ruger to be a Therapy Dog and that proved not to be the best fit for him, so I needed to find him a job. That job much to my surprise and I think my husband’s was SAR work. In less than 4 months we were certified. But let me back up a bit. I had always been intrigued by SAR K9 teams. To have a dog that focused on their job, and the positive impact it allows you to have on your community, how could I not want to learn more? I googled SAR work on and off for about 12 months, and never could find a group in my area. Slightly discouraged, I figured one day I would find a way to join a group. Back in March or April of 2016 one of our friends went to a parade and immediately sent me a message afterwards to say he saw a K9 SAR group in the parade and gave me their name…. Much to my surprise we DID have a local group. I ended up searching tireless, on the line, for them, to finally find they had a Facebook page. Shortly thereafter I messaged their Facebook page to see if I could come check them out. To my excitement they told me to come on out and bring Ruger as well. They did not discriminate against breeds! To say I was excited was an understatement, I was more jacked up then a 3 year old on Mountain Dew. So I went to a training. They had me shadow a few different handler teams and watch the different areas of SAR work, which our group trains for. There is Tracking/ Trailing, Area search and HRD (Human Remains Detection).   WOW. The work they were able to do was amazing. Little did I know we were going to test Ruger that very same day. I already knew he liked to keep his nose to the ground, but how would he perform  at a tryout? Having no nails left to bite, as I chewed them off on my way to training, I waited anxiously for our turn. RUGER did awesome. So much so they invited us back for the next week’s training.  And thus began our journey into the exhilarating field of K9 SAR.  How did we pick tracking and trailing? More to come next post.



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