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Old March 10, 2001, 10:04 PM   #1
Tony N
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Join Date: October 7, 1998
Location: N 47 11.614' W 122 13.345'
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I'm currently researching family protection dogs.
I've decided to get a shepherd(in the near future), and have a trainer tenitively picked out. (Ron Pace, Tacoma)
I've exhausted many of my resources and would appreciate any leads on info about trainers, breeders etc....
I'm in Western Washington state, and would really like to hear from K9 handlers or trainers.
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Old March 11, 2001, 01:45 AM   #2
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If your looking into protection dogs I strongly suggest you get William Koehler's book The Koehler Method of Guard Dog Training.

Several years ago when I started researching PP Dogs that was the main book that a friend of mine who is a K9 cop suggested.

I would also suggest going to some dog shows in your area. You will find many people who know more about dogs & related facts [like training, health issues, diet, etc] there than most any other place. Going to Dog Shows is a good way to find quality dogs to buy. If you take a camera to a dog show & approach the owner/handler of a few dogs that you really like and ask permission to take a few pictures of their dog(s) they will usually answer any questions you have [& then some!].

Going to a dog show is kind of like going to a shooting event, almost all the people there are serious about their sport/hobby. And most want to help new people learn more.

Stay away from pet shops and puppy mills.

Another good spot for information is to call your local vet's office and tell them you are thinking about buying a Shep, or whatever other breeds you might be interested in, and you would like to get some information. The vet can also often help you locate local breeders.
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Old March 11, 2001, 12:39 PM   #3
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Here's my two cents on German Shepherd Dogs--DO NOT GET AN AKC-STYLE GSD! The Americans have bred all the quality out of the breed, turning them into dangerous high-strung creatures. Get a GSD with strong German working lines and you can't go wrong. Don't get one for looks. Do a web search for "schutzhund" and you'll get plenty of hits. I worked with a great dog with strong lines and he was amazing. He was amiable and polite, and not at all high-strung. He allowed strange children to pet him without a growl. On the other hand, he turned into a mass of astonishing fury when ordered to do so. I once launched him at a tree, and he flew up in the air, latched onto a branch with a good full bite and hung there till I "ousted" him. Wonderful animal, and a good friend. We used to destroy snow men together, and I have no doubt he would have backed me in any fight. Gunshots didn't bother him at all, and he never chased moose and only rarely chased cats. He would have made a terrible hunting dog, but you don't want an easily-distracted protection dog. The only time he ran off was to investigate a bitch in heat. As far as cost, you can pick up a bargain (if you're not interested in breeding) by getting a slightly older GSD with hips good enough for working, but not for breeding.

I also highly recommend Shutzhund-style protection dog training. It's tough on the dogs, but they love it. Don't listen to the AKC crap about "cruelty." These are German dogs, and they need German discipline ;-) What would be terribly cruel to a lazy coon hound works wonders with GSDs.

But be warned, if you do get a good GSD you'll discover they have the intellect of a monkey. It's the only dog I've ever seen actually put two distinct thoughts together and come to a reasoned conclusion (re. where I'd hidden bones, toys, etc.)
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Old March 13, 2001, 10:25 AM   #4
Dave R
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Join Date: January 7, 2000
Location: Idaho
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Sounds like you made up your mind on a Shepherd, and I hate to pull you off-topic, but my family made a great find a year and a half ago. We found a well-trained 95lb. Akita at the local pound. $50 for the adoption/neuter fee and she was ours.

As I said, she was already well-trained. Akita's were bred is Japan to guard the emporers' children, so they're good with kids, and protective without being overly violent. We have kids and they love her. Its a good mix.

They also have an "alarm bark" that sets off car alarms. First time we heard it she _probably_ saved us from a break-in. Probably ruined the pants of whoever was being warned, too.

Just thought you might like to be aware of alternatives.
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