Working dogs in the PAW

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Working dogs in the PAW

Post by skruface » Sun Sep 12, 2010 8:34 pm

So, I've been thinking recently about what dog breeds/traits would be most valuable in the PAW - things like size/weight, food requirement to power ratio, swimming ability, hunting/retrieving characteristics, strength and ability to carry a load/drag a litter, territorial nature, aggressiveness, etc. I just lost my Lab/Rottie cross of 12 years last weekend to cancer, and decided that our next dog was going to be something that can pull it's own weight (literally) in a survival situation. My wife and I are looking at purebred Rotties and Mastiffs, but also Newfies and Labs. Also not stuck on purebreds; our last was a rescue. We're not in a rush, because we want to make a careful, informed decision - so no "rebound" dogs. For current consideration, we have our own suburban house and large yard, so size is not an issue; in the even of a bug out I have lakefront property on a secluded lake in the Canadian Shield.

What are your though on companion/work animals in the PAW, ZSers?

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Re: Working dogs in the PAW

Post by raptor » Sun Sep 12, 2010 9:36 pm

skruface wrote:I just lost my Lab/Rottie cross of 12 years last weekend to cancer
Sorry for your loss.

skruface wrote: Also not stuck on purebreds; our last was a rescue.
Rescues are the way to go. Why pay a breeder when you can find the dog (mixed or pure breed) that you want for a nominal cost from a variety of rescue groups.
Last edited by raptor on Sun Sep 12, 2010 9:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Working dogs in the PAW

Post by SkyGod » Sun Sep 12, 2010 9:48 pm

Had big breed dogs until the last ten years. Got involved in a miniature pincher rescue. Gave my present couch potato a good home and picked up some much need karma. There are pure bred rescues, so whatever bred you choose, definately the way to go.
I think my toy dog would be a big asset during a zombie apocalypse. She's by no means a junk yard dog, but all I need is her vigilant early warning abilities. My 308 will do the rest.
Besides she's small enough to carry on top of my pack if exhausted or injured, requires very little food, and is bred to catch rats (which will probably be more plentiful than zombies)

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Re: Working dogs in the PAW

Post by WhoShotJR » Sun Sep 12, 2010 10:04 pm

SkyGod wrote: I think my toy dog would be a big asset during a zombie apocalypse. She's by no means a junk yard dog, but all I need is her vigilant early warning abilities. My 308 will do the rest.
Besides she's small enough to carry on top of my pack if exhausted or injured, requires very little food, and is bred to catch rats (which will probably be more plentiful than zombies)

I'm far from an expert on dog breeds, but I think at least two dogs are a better way to go. Maybe a small game getter, little alarm system type dog like a rat terrier or a Jack Russell. Fantastic little dogs that don't require much food but serve you well. Next I would probably pick a general purpose working dog like a lab or a shepard. These tend to make great companions as well, and if I could only choose one it would be something along this line.

If it's an option, it would be ideal to have a third option of a hunting breed, which one would depend on what your'e hunting. Maybe a setter, a pointer, even a bloodhound.

Point is, keep your options open. You may find that you can meet more of your requirements with two (or more) dogs than with one, with no additional outlays in resources.

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Re: Working dogs in the PAW

Post by Stercutus » Mon Sep 13, 2010 12:59 am

Rescues are the way to go. Why pay a breeder when you can find the dog (mixed or pure breed) that you want for a nominal cost from a variety of rescue groups.(?)
I have noticed that a fair amount of rescue dogs have some serious issues. We like very large breed dogs at our house and a very large dog can not have issues. It is true that lots and lots of rescue dogs have no issues at all. However we would rather raise one from a weaned pup to adulthood to insure the dog is not mistreated and behaves in a predictable manner.
My wife and I are looking at purebred Rotties and Mastiffs, but also Newfies and Labs.
These are all large to very large dogs. Every dog is a little different but IME:

Lab: Only had black labs. Very athletic, eager to please, protective of kids not so large as to intimidate other people/ dogs. Generally make solid bird hunting dogs. Decent watch dogs, so-so guard dogs. Very trainable. Great all around dog. The last one (of three so far) was a rescue dog. It did not work out well. He could not stay alone without destroying something expensive.

Mastiff: Mastiffs bond with the Alpha person. They then like to spend time with the alpha person. This does not mean that they want to please the alpha person, just be around them. All the time. They are also very protective of the Alpha. Because of the size they intimidate people easily. Generally they are big pussy cats, but they can easily scare off strangers with the bark and size. Good guard dogs (for the alpha) terrible watch dogs. Also lazy beyond belief. Trainable, sort of (just keep your expectations low). Mine is able to take small game by himself (rabbits, woodchucks, beaver, squirrels) but does not know what to do with the game once he catches it (other than get the squeaker out). He is quite slow most of the time but when the mood strikes he can move like lightening and hits like a ton of bricks. He needs another large dog as a playmate to keep him active. This one is a pure bred.

Newfie/ Rottie: Never had either one. However I will say this. The largest friggin dog I ever saw was a cross between a Newfie and a Rottie. Seriously, I have never even heard of dog (including the current world record holder) that was that large. He was 285 pounds and he could put his head in my chest while standing on all four paws (I am 6' 3"). He was not fat either, he was mostly muscle mass. He was as sweet as apple too. But when he sat on the couch, he sat on the whole couch. When he stood in the kitchen, he took up the whole kitchen. I have no doubt in my mind that he could have taken a small bear if he had put his mind to it. This was a friends dog that resulted when a Newfie escaped and was able to consummate a relationship with the Rottie bitch. His was the bitch so he kept the pick of the litter.
Last edited by Stercutus on Mon Sep 13, 2010 1:27 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Working dogs in the PAW

Post by Israel » Mon Sep 13, 2010 1:11 am

My wife is a dog trainer, we have 2 German Shepherds and an American Pit Bull Terrier. If I had to select one breed of dog for PAW, I would take either of these because both come from a working background and both breeds are intelligent, trainable, and versatile enough to be trained for a variety of working tasks (guard/early warning system, hunter, pack/pull dog, tracker, personal space heater, and friend). When selecting a dog, we would look for a companion, from a working background, first and foremost. From that point its not the breed, as much as it is the individual dog, you would be surprised how much an individual dog can learn regardless of its breed.
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Re: Working dogs in the PAW

Post by Turbofire » Mon Sep 13, 2010 1:24 am

One thing to consider for a survival situation is the extra large breeds mastiff/newfie while great dogs can be a bit temperamental health wise. I think the lab/shepherd size might be a little more adaptable.
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Re: Working dogs in the PAW

Post by Stercutus » Mon Sep 13, 2010 1:29 am

I think the lab/shepherd size might be a little more adaptable.
I will second that. However the Mastiff does not eat as much as you might think. The lab eats almost as much, based on energy levels I think.
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Re: Working dogs in the PAW

Post by Tetra Grammaton Cleric » Mon Sep 13, 2010 7:11 am

I've been a proponent of the idea that the traditional protection/ring sports working dog breeds trained in same or similar are a good thing to have in the plus column regardless of whether the shit is hitting the fan in a day to day manner or hitting it during a full blown apocalyptic epoch complete with zombies for a while now.

I have a working line GSD female called Säbel/Sabre. German with Czech lines, pigeonholed as a DDR (Deutsche Demokratische Republika) even though her particular pedigree predates and survives the former East Germany. Pure black in colour (think xenomorph crossed with Driz'zt Do~urden's Guenhyvar crossed with a black wolf plush toy) - there is none of the show line breeding that has reduced a lot of the shepherd tribe to shadows of thier former selves. Her brothers and sister littermates all went to military or police force use in the immediate region - Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, and so on. My girl has been retained as part of a breeding agreement. In short - she's the business. I'm proud to say she's on a par with some of the quality animals I've seen here on ZS.

We're getting along alright in our training - we could always do better. In truth it's my ability to unlock or harness drives and abilities she already has (in spades) that needs improvement. She's almost a year old now so we can start to get serious as far as strength and endurance work goes.

This is not a "my dog is better than any other dog" thing, I'm a fan of most critters that trade on the canine brand. I'm just pretty happy to be able to answer the OP's working dog/PAW question with a resounding, "Yes - I think it's a good idea, already on it in fact."

:D

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Re: Working dogs in the PAW

Post by Tetra Grammaton Cleric » Mon Sep 13, 2010 7:22 am

Also, sorry to hear about your loss OP- I cried like a five year old for days when my last dog died.

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Re: Working dogs in the PAW

Post by skruface » Mon Sep 13, 2010 7:26 am

raptor wrote:Rescues are the way to go. Why pay a breeder when you can find the dog (mixed or pure breed) that you want for a nominal cost from a variety of rescue groups.
We're more concerned with long-term health - I see a working dog as a 10-to-12 year investment if cared for properly. With a breeder (a reputable one at least) you can get genetic testing for common issues (hip/elbow displasia, bowel disorders, etc.) and temperment, and you can take an untrained dog and train it as you like. Usually rescues area little older, health issues are unknown (they've been rescued, after all - the previous owner likely didn't care for the animal as they should have, and may have abused it), and have already picked up some bad habits that have to be broken before you train them properly. You're also going to be unsure of temperment until after you've committed to taking the dog and had it for a few weeks.

However, I hear what you're saying about rescues. Mixed breeds can avoid some common ailments of purebreds, and a generally pretty robust and multi-talented. Ours, for example, had a long/thick dual coat like a Lab but hated the water, and had the musculature, size, strength and color of a Rottie for work and intimidation factor, but a Lab's temperment.

Sadly, American PBT's are out of the question due to local laws - they cannot be owned within the city limits of our AO. While that seems like a good enough reason to me to move to the country, my wife says otherwise.

I had considered a Shepherd or Belgian Malnois, but I don;t know very much about the breeds (esp. the Malnois - all I know is the local PD uses them and has their own in-house breeding program).

@ TGC & Raptor - Thank you for the kind words. I cried for days (her end wasn't good, even though the vets told me she had plenty of time, it was less than 10 days from diagnosis to the end) and I normally am pretty in control of my emotions, having seen the worst of what people can do to each other having been in the military. I couldn't walk past her water dish or leash holder without bursting into tears. It was pretty rough.

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Re: Working dogs in the PAW

Post by Tetra Grammaton Cleric » Mon Sep 13, 2010 7:42 am

No worries man, it never surprises me when I'm reminded that they were the first critters that joined our fire and hunted with us.

I'm going to go with my predudices and reccomend looking into one of the working line shepherd breeds like the german GSD or the belgian Malinois but do do your research. Start youtubing schutzhund stuff, look into Michael Ellis's stuff, obedience stuff, protection work - I think you'll end up agreeing.

Loyal, intelligent companions that will defend your family until the last and work as a part of your team - now and in the PAW. :wink:

edit: Working line shepherd dogs (of a broad enough gene pool) are robust, healthy dogs. They're bred to survive and thrive not conform to an artificial breed standard that has nothing to do with practicality or the dog's well being.

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Re: Working dogs in the PAW

Post by Stercutus » Mon Sep 13, 2010 10:17 am

Sadly, American PBT's are out of the question due to local laws - they cannot be owned within the city limits of our AO. While that seems like a good enough reason to me to move to the country, my wife says otherwise.
That is sad. Pits get a bad rap from the media and the rare bad owner. They are otherwise good dogs, but might not be right for Canada.
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Re: Working dogs in the PAW

Post by Chantrea » Mon Sep 13, 2010 10:28 am

Blacksmith wrote: That is sad. Pits get a bad rap from the media and the rare bad owner. They are otherwise good dogs, but might not be right for Canada.


Or an increasing number of US municipalities, or US military base housing. If you're going to be a responsible owner it's on you to look up any breed specific statues in your local area, including HOAs, rental agreements, ect. You had better also proactively check your homeowner's/renter's insurance fine print too, and shop around for something different if you anticipate getting a "restricted" breed. I don't agree with these statutes, but having volunteered with rescues, it makes me angry when people are willfully ignorant about what's allowed, they inevitably get caught, and then the dog suffers being now a not-as-cute adult who is harder to adopt because of breed prejudices.

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Re: Working dogs in the PAW

Post by offcamber » Mon Sep 13, 2010 10:41 am

I don't have a ton of experience with other dog breeds, but my German Shepherd is an awesome pup.

He's super intelligent and a great guard dog on my farm. He lets me know when strangers are approaching, and keeps the pesky critters like deer and groundhogs at bay.. can't beat a good Shepherd in my book.

The only problem I have with him is that he is often too smart for his own good.. he always wants a task or something to do, and if he gets bored he finds stuff to get into to entertain himself, not always good stuff.. :D

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Re: Working dogs in the PAW

Post by Israel » Mon Sep 13, 2010 10:44 am

Tetra, Where'd you get your DDR GSD? We had one for a little while (american bred, but his parents were DDR) but his drive wasn't very strong, so we traded up to one from a czeck kennel.

(word of warning) A good working dog from a proven background will cost good money (as much or more than you paid for your AR/AK, plus accessories.

There are many breeders and brokers in the US that can get you a dog, but ALWAYS do your research, keep an eye out for bloodlines, family medical history, meet the dog if possible, and find someone that can help you train him well.

On the note to the pittys, I love mine to death. He is my favorite, and in the PAW he would be my "go to" dog. It truly is unfortunate that some places have either restrictions or made them downright illegal (luckily I don't live in one of those places). They are affectionate, smart, energetic, compliant, loyal, and damn near indestructible.

P.S. Beware rescue dogs, especially pits and shepherd, there's a reason that they have been rescued. Many of them are damaged goods and you will have to work through many issues for them to be a good companion/ working dog. but sometimes you find that diamond in the rough.

In short, as I always say, you get what you paid for and a "saturday night special" dog may just blow up in your face.
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Re: Working dogs in the PAW

Post by Israel » Mon Sep 13, 2010 10:47 am

offcamber wrote: The only problem I have with him is that he is often too smart for his own good.. he always wants a task or something to do, and if he gets bored he finds stuff to get into to entertain himself, not always good stuff.. :D

That's the danger of having a good working dog, he needs a job. Our retired female is a pain in the ass sometimes because shes getting old and we don't work her as much as the younger ones. That, and she can open doors so, we have to make sure the food is in a locked closet with a latch she can't reach.
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Re: Working dogs in the PAW

Post by Stercutus » Mon Sep 13, 2010 11:09 am

Chantrea wrote:
Blacksmith wrote: That is sad. Pits get a bad rap from the media and the rare bad owner. They are otherwise good dogs, but might not be right for Canada.


Or an increasing number of US municipalities, or US military base housing. If you're going to be a responsible owner it's on you to look up any breed specific statues in your local area, including HOAs, rental agreements, ect. You had better also proactively check your homeowner's/renter's insurance fine print too, and shop around for something different if you anticipate getting a "restricted" breed. I don't agree with these statutes, but having volunteered with rescues, it makes me angry when people are willfully ignorant about what's allowed, they inevitably get caught, and then the dog suffers being now a not-as-cute adult who is harder to adopt because of breed prejudices.
:lol: I meant because of the cold weather not because of the people with wet panties.
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Re: Working dogs in the PAW

Post by Israel » Mon Sep 13, 2010 11:28 am

Blacksmith wrote:
:lol: I meant because of the cold weather not because of the people with wet panties.

Its hard a hell to get mine outside in Jan/Feb, he hates the feel of snow on his feet
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Re: Working dogs in the PAW

Post by Tetra Grammaton Cleric » Mon Sep 13, 2010 12:00 pm

1SR437 wrote:Tetra, Where'd you get your DDR GSD? We had one for a little while (american bred, but his parents were DDR) but his drive wasn't very strong, so we traded up to one from a czeck kennel.
Sabre is out of an Australian breeding program using premier European animals and genetic matierial. She's better defined as being of german breeding with strong czech lines rather than a true DDR because the bloodline goes back way further than the DDR military and stasi breeding program. She is high drive, something I was concerned about when told of the potential for 'laziness' in some East German examples. I needn't have been concerned. :lol:

edit: and yes, 'spensive. very 'spensive. She's about the most expensive thing I own. Buy once buy right, eh?

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Re: Working dogs in the PAW

Post by Israel » Mon Sep 13, 2010 12:12 pm

Tetra Grammaton Cleric wrote:
edit: and yes, 'spensive. very 'spensive. She's about the most expensive thing I own. Buy once buy right, eh?

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especially if you import him from euro or aus. you prolly dropped a grand just on shipping.
the only thing more expensive than my wife's pride and joy is her new element that shes got dog pimped out.
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Re: Working dogs in the PAW

Post by Wastelander » Mon Sep 13, 2010 2:19 pm

I'm sorry for your loss--dogs are very good at latching onto your heart

As to your question, I advise a rescue, personally. Pure bred dogs, in general, have more health problems and genetic issues than mixed breeds, but can still be found in rescues. In addition, a rescue has people that spend time with the animals and determine personality, likes and dislikes, so they can often give you a rundown of how it will act in most situations. A breeder can just tell you what its parents acted like, if that. As far as breeds go, my suggestion is an American Pit Bull Terrier mix of some type, despite it being restricted in your location. APBT's were bred to herd cattle and children, and to keep the children safe, so their build and genetic disposition is a good one. It is possible to find mixes that don't look like Pit Bulls but have similar dispositions (Lab/Pit mixes come to mind) so you could always tell people it's a Lab-mix and just leave off the APBT part. If you decide against a Pit/Pit-mix anyway, then all of the other breeds mentioned (GSD, Lab, Rottie) will all work very well, but you really need to know the individual personality more than the genetic disposition. All of those breeds have the build to be good work dogs and if they have the right personality for you then everything else can be trained.

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Re: Working dogs in the PAW

Post by Israel » Mon Sep 13, 2010 4:24 pm

Wastelander wrote: A breeder can just tell you what its parents acted like, if that.
Not necessarily true, a GOOD breeder can tell you the general temperament, what purpose they were bread for and if they have already been born they have been evaluated and each pup should have a general description of what they would be good for, i.e. working dog, companion/pet, personal protection, police/military, drug/bomb sniffing, SAR, sport dog.
(there are many back yard breeders that just put a male and female together and pray the pups aren't retarded)

for example, Eurosport kennels in the Czech rep. has a detailed description of each dog they sell.
http://www.eurosportk9.com/dfs.asp
Experienced breeders can tell you by lineage what kind of dog is going to come out of a breeding. Including health issues, medical history is part of a responsible breeders job. This is why some dogs cost so much. You pay for experience, history, good temperament, and quality of drive.

like I said before tho, sometimes you find a diamond in the rough on a rescue.

Edit: Don't get me wrong, if you're looking for a companion/pet, go for a rescue, they will be ever grateful to you. However, if you are truly looking for a WORKING DOG, you get what you paid for, I've seen the rescues in action compared to the ones paid for... and you get what you paid for.
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Re: Working dogs in the PAW

Post by Tater Raider » Mon Sep 13, 2010 4:36 pm

Poodles make excellent all-around working dogs and you do not have to give them that stooopid haircut.

Almost any spitz-type breed is suitable for dog sledding/pulling though some are more suited for speed while others are freight haulers. Some have excellent secondary characteristics worth looking into (Samoyad is a sled and herd dog while Alaskan Malamutes are friendly and hard to out-pull to name two examples).

You also have your hunting breeds and other types of work dogs, so maybe start with looking at the job and then look to the breeds that are best suited for that job.

EtA: Mixed breeds are a mixed bag, but the reward can be worth the risk sometimes. Just be sure to look to the parents and be picky with which pup you bring into your home.
Last edited by Tater Raider on Mon Sep 13, 2010 11:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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