Author Topic: Caving Dogs  (Read 7942 times)

Offline Amata

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 1805
    • Sunguramy Photography
Caving Dogs
« on: September 26, 2016, 03:01:14 am »
Does anyone else have a dog who likes to cave? Mine loves caves, found the newest deepest one in Huntsville (yay scent training!) and I have a life safety harness I'm working on getting her used to and comfy with so we can do vertical work together in the future. We of course pick caves wisely that we do (nothing delicate, etc) and within her physical abilities.



Sunguramy, my cave photography and blog website

Offline mudman

  • obsessive maniac
  • ***
  • Posts: 374
Re: Caving Dogs
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2016, 07:59:26 am »
I've got two mental Sprockers that have a thing for caves and will go in any cave we pass on a walk. Both have had to be rescued by myself. One, Bella, when she went beyond the limit of daylight and just decided to wait for me to crawl in through the muddy pool with a mobile phone light.  The other, Max, decided to investigate a dig that he couldn't then climb out of. Me to the rescue again.
They now get called back to heel whenever we approach anything vaguely cavey looking.

Offline AR

  • Black shadow
  • junky
  • ****
  • Posts: 945
  • PDMHS, ATAC, ANHMS
Re: Caving Dogs
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2016, 08:42:26 am »
My Jack Russell has come underground with me on occasion - here he is on a costume trip into the Alderley Edge copper mines - http://www.aditnow.co.uk/Photo/Lamp-Light-Costume-Trip-April-2013_85895/

I did discover on that trip that despite the pictures showing miners with candles in a blob of clay on the brim of the hat, it's a very impractical thing to do as you dribble wax everywhere - it was all over me and the dog by the end of the trip....
Dirty old mines need love too....

Offline Vulcan

  • regular
  • *
  • Posts: 66
Re: Caving Dogs
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2016, 10:33:56 am »
We took our labador cross down some of the bath stone mines, and a few small mines in the lakes. She wasn't such a fan of being carried over falls and the step slopes, but loved walking though the passages.

Offline David Rose

  • forum star
  • ****
  • Posts: 514
Re: Caving Dogs
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2016, 11:50:00 am »
The best dogs for caving, as the monks of Switzerland discovered long ago, are St Bernards. It is of course very helpful that they are used to carrying small barrels of brandy round their necks. Nothing like a spot of cognac with your Mars bar underground, I find.

Not to be indelicate, but what do you do if your hound wants to relieve himself? Those gour pools do not look as if they would be improved by the presence of canine excreta. 

Offline owd git

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 1365
Re: Caving Dogs
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2016, 03:49:13 pm »

Bob The dog, lathkill resurgence. couldn't find the Tigers!
Hen racer? 2000 world hen racing champion

Offline Pegasus

  • NCC
  • Administrator
  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 2004
Re: Caving Dogs
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2016, 04:13:35 pm »
Hi Owd Git & Amy,

Please may I use your lovely photos on facebook??

Thank you, Pegasus  ;D

Offline owd git

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 1365
Re: Caving Dogs
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2016, 04:32:41 pm »
No problem with me, Bob has sadly passed I now have Bradley.
O.G.
Hen racer? 2000 world hen racing champion

Offline Amata

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 1805
    • Sunguramy Photography
Re: Caving Dogs
« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2016, 05:18:13 pm »
Go ahead Pegasus - Her name is Edraith, she does have a fb page facebook.com/Edraith  ;D

She typically doesn't relieve herself in caves, just like she doesn't go in the house. She's quite particular about needing to go on grass. The one time she did, same as human-cavers, went in a trashbag and I carried it out. No worries at all! As to those gours, they are regularly washed over and actually very muddy on the bottom and usually dry and just mud-bottomed and covered (not clean at *all*), it was just very freshly wet that day.

I find she is more sure-footed than I am and makes me look a fool. I bet she'd love mines, she loves swimming and muddier the better. I'd end up with an ochre-stained dog I'm sure haha.

Sunguramy, my cave photography and blog website

Offline Pegasus

  • NCC
  • Administrator
  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 2004
Re: Caving Dogs
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2016, 11:13:20 am »
Thanks, both - love the pics  ;D

Offline Greg Jones

  • forum star
  • ****
  • Posts: 655
  • GSS
Re: Caving Dogs
« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2016, 10:58:39 pm »
My friend Pete regularly brings his dog Honey on trips into Forest of Dean iron mines. She has never, to date, relieved herself underground. We used to have a labrador who came, but she is now gone.
Renegade!

Offline ptpeaty

  • regular
  • *
  • Posts: 54
Re: Caving Dogs
« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2016, 09:23:38 am »
Did a trip down an old iron mine near Edinburgh and someone brought their faithful hound. It was a good caver but unfortunately it dumped at a strategic junction and the smell accompanied us for the next two hours! Not nice, and there was no way it could be bagged. No, for me please leave the pooches safe at home on the sofa!

Offline Katie

  • forum star
  • ****
  • Posts: 517
Re: Caving Dogs
« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2016, 11:08:03 am »
Finally found some photos for this thread of my caving doggy - Bounce.
His first caving trip was when he was about 10 weeks old. Since then he has done over 50 trips including some pitches. He loves caving but finds the humans a bit slow! He also seems to consider caves 'indoors' so doesn't toilet underground.
He has done a lot of muddy/ mine trips and often keeps a muddy orange tinge to his fur for a quite a while after trips....


His first trip!


Introducing his newest family member to the family hobby - Daisy is 3 days old here

Offline Pegasus

  • NCC
  • Administrator
  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 2004
Re: Caving Dogs
« Reply #13 on: September 29, 2016, 11:02:32 am »
This thread just had to have Bounce  :bounce: in it - thanks, Katie  ;D

Offline David Rose

  • forum star
  • ****
  • Posts: 514
Re: Caving Dogs
« Reply #14 on: September 29, 2016, 05:41:29 pm »
Look, dogs are quite portable. What I want to see, dear Pegasus, is pictures of Boris or some other fine horse underground. Well, it might work in Mulu. 

Offline PeteHall

  • Global Moderator
  • obsessive maniac
  • *****
  • Posts: 492
Re: Caving Dogs
« Reply #15 on: September 29, 2016, 09:14:09 pm »
We had a dog on the team on a dig I used to be involved with. She had a bed in a half barrel near the end and used to wander back outside on her own, in the dark, to do her business. It was a dig in a mine, so not as far fetched as it may sound  :)
The distance between stupidity and genius is measured only by success.

Offline cooleycr

  • menacing presence
  • **
  • Posts: 160
Re: Caving Dogs
« Reply #16 on: October 03, 2016, 11:03:41 am »
I have on occasion thought that it would be useful to have a small dog with a Go-Pro to send down the passages that are too small for an adult, to determine whether it is worth the time and trouble of pushing them..

However, and maybe I am oversensitive, but being concerned about animal welfare I would never put any animal through this, what if something happened and one ended up killing or maiming a favourite pet - unforgivable, and what would the cave rescue organisations think about people taking animals (and very young children) caving, seeing as how they spend a fair bit of their time rescuing animals anyway?!?!?!...
TSG

Offline Amata

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 1805
    • Sunguramy Photography
Re: Caving Dogs
« Reply #17 on: October 03, 2016, 09:03:17 pm »
However, and maybe I am oversensitive, but being concerned about animal welfare I would never put any animal through this, what if something happened and one ended up killing or maiming a favourite pet - unforgivable, and what would the cave rescue organisations think about people taking animals (and very young children) caving, seeing as how they spend a fair bit of their time rescuing animals anyway?!?!?!...
I've always felt it is individual dependent just as it is for humans.

"what if??" is never a good excuse. What if your adult friend you took gets hurt? what if you get hurt? What if is a good way to never do anything fun in life.

Animal wealfare...uhm...my dog goes in on her own accord so happy and excited, hells no I'm not taking that from her. What if your dog gets out of the fenced yard and gets hit by a car? What if it chokes on it's favourite treat or bone? I hope you see what I am getting at here. Learn some basic dog language (body language) you'll know if they like or don't like something.

I am a dog trainer, and a handler for k9 SAR as well as in cave rescue sans-doggie. Honestly, the biggest longest hardest rescues I see are adults who have the "it can't happen to me" mentality. And sure there is the odd animal rescue from a cave but usually it is a cow that got through a fence and gets stuck, or sadly here, there are a few well known pits that get dogs deliberately dumped in. But you wouldn't take a cow caving, and those dogs had no choice poor things.

Children - even young ones - who are good listeners are excellent cavers. I go with one of my best friends and her kids during the week sometimes. Young as three. Pick a cave that is safe and doable, *listen to your f'ing kid* and this doesn't just mean moans of being tired, but also knowing body language of getting tired, and dont push anything. In fact recent we were talking about not taking my friend's eldest caving right now like he wishes because he's hit a fearless 'I know best and can do anything' stage that kids do. So that's all it is, being intelligent about the individual child.

Same for dogs. I wouldn't take most dogs caving, hells no. Heck half the dogs I see at the training facility out of shape, even to do a walk around the neighborhood. Probably 85%of total have shit body awareness. Those dogs should not go caving. For example, Dog's hind feet tend to blindly follow the front so it is something not many dogs are aware of, and has to be worked. The ability to shift weight and recover from stumbles safely, jumping, balance... there are a lot of courses to help teach this (look up FitPaws and TotoFit) and I know Camddwr Canine Ltd is one of the big names for dog fitness and proprioception skills trainers in the UK if you are interested. Dogs who hike karst terrain above ground regularly pick up the skills and I wouldn't see why underground karst would be harder, provided again, proper level cave is picked for the dog.

And a good many dogs and kids alike just don't have the obedience foundation skills. Will they listen to direction? Yes? probably okay then.

Think of it this way, dogs are very common on mountain rescue teams, and that is NOT easy terrain. I don't see terrain as the concern, just the dog's individual skills and training. Some kids are raised hiking and being outdoorsy and active, others sit in front of the tv all day with video games. Again, child's individual ability and skill.


« Last Edit: October 03, 2016, 09:12:57 pm by Amy »
Sunguramy, my cave photography and blog website

Offline topcat

  • obsessive maniac
  • ***
  • Posts: 348
Re: Caving Dogs
« Reply #18 on: October 04, 2016, 09:47:21 am »
Well said  :clap2:

Offline cooleycr

  • menacing presence
  • **
  • Posts: 160
Re: Caving Dogs
« Reply #19 on: October 04, 2016, 04:32:39 pm »
Each to his own, I am sure that dogs do have a fun time in caves (horizontal ones at least, if I knew someone who took a dog on a vertical trip, I would be contacting the authorities!), I saw a German Sheppard with a full body harness on in the WWI tunnels in the Dolomites earlier this year and that seemed to be having fun....

But the important point is my adult friend chose to go caving with me, I didn't bundle him up in the car and drive him there..
TSG

Offline Antwan

  • junky
  • ****
  • Posts: 896
  • YSS
    • 3peaksuk.org
Re: Caving Dogs
« Reply #20 on: October 04, 2016, 07:38:41 pm »
I have on occasion thought that it would be useful to have a small dog with a Go-Pro to send down the passages that are too small for an adult, to determine whether it is worth the time and trouble of pushing them..

However, and maybe I am oversensitive, but being concerned about animal welfare I would never put any animal through this, what if something happened and one ended up killing or maiming a favourite pet - unforgivable, and what would the cave rescue organisations think about people taking animals (and very young children) caving, seeing as how they spend a fair bit of their time rescuing animals anyway?!?!?!...

I think nearly half of the folk posting on here taking dogs underground are cave rescue  :coffee:

I have no problems with expierience people who take proper precautions.

Offline Katie

  • forum star
  • ****
  • Posts: 517
Re: Caving Dogs
« Reply #21 on: October 04, 2016, 07:53:42 pm »
Quote
I think nearly half of the folk posting on here taking dogs underground are cave rescue

Yup, guilty of taking the dog and small children underground and also a leader on a cave rescue team......

The trip in the photo with the little baby was on the 1st of December and was less 'extreme' than taking the dog and kids on a surface dog walk in cold, windy and rainy weather. The kids come on the dog walk everyday (from 1 day old) whatever the weather and an easy caving trip with adults who are experienced sensible cavers is in many ways less challenging and in this country often warmer!

Offline Amata

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 1805
    • Sunguramy Photography
Re: Caving Dogs
« Reply #22 on: October 04, 2016, 10:23:27 pm »
Each to his own, I am sure that dogs do have a fun time in caves (horizontal ones at least, if I knew someone who took a dog on a vertical trip, I would be contacting the authorities!),
Please don't hear me as saying you are not allowed your own opinion - I just wish to point out it seems you base the opinion on a lot of very false assumptions.

No one forces their dog to cave, or to be on rope, or to go hiking, or <insert activity here>. Well, no one worth a damn.

As for vertical, considering a lot of SAR teams that utilize dogs have them trained (at least in vertical / mountainous areas) to a life safety vertical harness so they *can* get their dog over the terrain, quite sure many a dog is perfectly happy with it. In the same way that no one puts their human friend in a harness and shoves them over a cliff or down a hole, neither do dog trainers. A human you get them used to the harness, have them sit in it get it adjusted and feel comfy on a training tower, then maybe rappel and climb the tower, and slowly do harder and harder caves/cliffs. The same with dogs. Step one is simply shaping them to accept the harness - and most get very exciting when their working harness comes out because it means FUN! (maybe I need to record the start of one our searches so you can see how bouncy happy the dogs get!) Then you work on getting them used to feeling the harness hold their weight. Then you start working on some very short and gradually longer drops.

Think about this logically for a bit: A dog not happy in their harness will flail. A flailing dog is a dangerous dog - to themselves and the people. A dog flailing is also fearful, and a in context of working dogs, a fearful dog cannot what? Do their job they were trained for! And lots of dogs DO need a job. That's kinda what a working dog is. Dogs that need to be able to be dropped in from helicopters - which perhaps is less common in the UK but out in the mountains here it is quite common to start closer to the last known point, also need to be good with being in a life safety harness.

Of course dogs trained to this level is not your pet dog norm, but considering a lot of cavers are also rescuers there is high likelyhood of crossover (as this thread has shown). This isn't Sam shoving Fido into a backpack and going down a cave, that won't end well for anyone but it's not the dog it's the idiot person. Which goes back to my point of basically "dont be an idiot" and each case is unique.

Anyway...here is my dog comfortably wearing her life safety harness. Notice relaxed face, easy eyes, forward relaxed ears, soft eyes. This is doggie language for "this is fine".


And I also don't see anything wrong with people having fun with their dog outdoors above or underground as long as conservation and basic safety is met, same as with any human. The thing to remember is dogs have a bell curve of "extreme" skills like humans do. People get upset about all the things but Jumpy is a highly trained highly athletic highly fit dog, notice the incredibly good form and muscle tone.

Anyway. Have fun with your dog, within your and your dog's abilities, and all will be good with the world. If that is SAR, parkour, hiking, backpacking, caving...be safe, don't be stupid, conserve, and have fun. :)



Sunguramy, my cave photography and blog website

Offline Leclused

  • obsessive maniac
  • ***
  • Posts: 466
    • The Avalon Blog
Re: Caving Dogs
« Reply #23 on: October 05, 2016, 02:55:50 pm »
Just a History fact

"A famous cave dog should have been the dog of Marcel Ravidat. Marcel followed his dog into an unknow cave in Montignac-France and by doing this he discovered Lascaux."

Dagobert L'Ecluse (SC Avalon - Belgium)
http://www.scavalon.be
http://scavalon.blogspot.be

Offline cooleycr

  • menacing presence
  • **
  • Posts: 160
Re: Caving Dogs
« Reply #24 on: October 06, 2016, 02:44:14 pm »
Dogs are not humans and, as ably demonstrated in the video, though doubtless very intelligent, will do what humans tell them to do through learned responses.

We will have to agree to disagree, my opinion is based on animal welfare facts.

Edraith looks like she is having a great time in the cave and I wish you both many years of happy safe caving.

 :)
TSG