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PLease...help me realize my goals as a canine handler!

I have always wanted to be a canine handler...I am not on any USAR team and have not applied. I want to be fully prepared when I present this to my Chief to get his blessing. I know the first step for this is to apply to the team...but is there any other avenue I can take on my own?? I would be willing to pay my own way without reimbursement...I have just wanted to do this for years. I am not getting any younger you know...lol. Any suggestions...that would be great, I am in the Hilton Head/Savannah area here in the Southeast US...any help would be great! Thanks!

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Do you have a working dog or are you asking for it to be provided? A dog from a good breeder goes for 1to 3 thousand. Get with local working dog handlers from law enforcement or search and rescue and see if you can get one for a reasonable price, based on what you want to do. AFTER you have the dog, work with him so that whoever you are trying to get the OK from can see that he is a working dog and not a pet. Ask trainers if you can get help with your dog by acting as a decoy/victim for there training problems. It takes around 16 months before most dog have enough puppy out of them to start doing complex training. Use this time for rapport building and advanced obedience.
Thanks for the advice. I have not purchased the dog yet. My husband wants a puppy and I said I would if I could make him a working dog, and make a difference I suppose. I have located a puppy from a breeder in California who breeds from a line of K9 working dogs. He will run me about 2k. Before I tackle this type of task, I want to be prepared for what type of training lies ahead and the steps I need to take to get there. But I appreciate the advice. I am trying to get a hold of a canine training unit in my area and hopefully they can help me get there.

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