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Hi guys!
In August or September, I will be shadowing a protection dog trainer. I have always wanted to train protection dogs. I've talked with many trainers, most of which have told me NOT to go to Tom Rose, or a school teaching it, due to financial issues and the fact that a great trainer can let me shadow them for half the price!

I have found a trainer in La Folette Tennessee. He has been training protection dogs since 1988 and has sold over 10 dogs to his local police.

My question is, should I purchase a 8-9 week old puppy to bring with me to the class? I am well aware that a puppy that young can't be taught much, but it would be a great start, right? I have questioned this and others agree that I should have a puppy with me. But my parents say that I should go to the training, train with his dogs and then come home and purchase a puppy to train. I am really not sure what would be best, but either one can most likely be done!
I will be in the training class for 8 weeks, 5 days a week, 6-8 hours a day training with his different dogs.
 

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Hi Tripp - you are going about learning this stuff exactly the right way! Best way to learn is to be out there, working a bazillion different dogs with an experienced person.

As for the puppy - have you asked the trainer you will be working with? Working adult dogs and starting foundation training for a puppy is very different. If you have the opportunity to have the guidance of an experienced trainer coach you through the foundation work, you will be that much more ahead, but 8 weeks won't be enough as much of the work will have to be adjusted as your puppy grows. The 8 week class you will be involved in will only be a start to your learning this stuff - it takes years to get knowledgeable and experienced.

If you are going to get a puppy, it might be difficult to get the timing right to find a suitable pup from breeders who breed for working dogs in time. Many of us have been on waiting lists for up to a year or more to get the puppy from a breeder we trust and respect. You might luck out, or the trainer you work with may know of a breeder with a litter, but don't hold your breath.

I think if you do the classes first, you will better understand the different aspects of drive, working ability, agression and control, clear-headedness, etc - that will help you find and get a pup that is suitable for the work.
 

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I would wait to get a pup after your training. You will have a better idea of the traits you like and look for a breeder that produces that. This will also allow you to concentrate on learning.
 

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I would take the opportunity you have and immerse myself completely. My entire focus would be on learning. That would leave no time for a puppy. Its hard to wait. But, it'll be worth it. You'll end up exactly with what you want.
 

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