If you’re worried about an intruder or possible attacker and don’t want to invest in a firearm for protection, consider a personal protection dog. Protection animals receive specialized training, which makes them ideal for defending their owners against would-be attackers and other threats.
Also, certain breeds have a reputation as a fierce defender and are often enough to deter many dangers as criminals prefer to move on to easier, less dangerous targets.
If you’re interested in getting one of these animals to protect you and your home, you must understand that these dogs aren’t like the family pet. They require specialized training. And some breeds are better than others for this kind of work, which we explore in this article.
Teaching Obedience Commands
To properly train your dog to protect you, it must understand how to respond to your commands. Many experts recommend that you start with basic commands, such as ‘sit,’ ‘lie down,’ ‘speak,’ ‘leave it,’ and ‘come.’
Also, your dog should learn to heel without a leash. Before moving on to more advanced commands, make sure your dog obeys these basic ones 100% of the time.
Socialize the Animal
Socializing the dog is essential so that it learns not to fear new or unusual situations. Experts say this part of the training is best left for when the animal is about 16 weeks old.
Socialize your dog by taking it for walks and allow him to investigate strange objects it finds. Make sure your animal is comfortable seeing other people so that it doesn’t feel threatened or has the urge to attack everyone it sees.
The Bark Command
Experts recommend teaching your dog to bark on command because a barking animal is intimidating and often enough to scare off threats before the situation becomes dangerous.
While barking is natural for dogs, you must teach your dog not only to bark on command but also to stop barking. It’s good for your dog to bark at strangers. And if he won’t do that, he may not be the right dog for your needs.
What separates a family pet from a protection animal is the training the latter receives to defend its owner. It’s advisable to hire a professional trainer to teach your dog how to protect you because this training is challenging. Many things can go wrong if you don’t know what you’re doing.
If you insist on training the dog yourself, get someone the dog doesn’t know to walk up to you and your dog in a threatening manner. The dog should bark on command and not be afraid of the threat. It’s essential that your dog gains confidence and reacts positively when faced with real-life threatening situations.
Next, decide if you want to stop here or if you want to train your dog to attack. For many people, an intimidating dog barking is enough to discourage most threats. However, remember that having a dog trained to attack is like having a loaded gun in the house.
These animals aren’t ideal for families with children or other pets. Also, be aware that many protection dogs have attacked and harmed innocent people such as letter carriers or neighbors that they saw as threats. An attack animal is a huge responsibility, and so you must weigh the pros and cons of going down this road.
If you decide you want the animal to attack, get someone to play the role of a stranger. Fit them with protection, and have them approach the animal.
The dog should begin barking at the threat and may strain at his leash. Let the animal grab onto the stranger’s arm or leg. If the dog is reluctant to attack, have the person threaten the dog with their padded arms to encourage him to bite.
Teach the Dog to Stop
Equally important as teaching your dog to attack is teaching them to back off when given the command. The last thing you want for your dog is to continue the attack after it neutralizes the threat.
Once the dog bites the stranger, teach it to ‘leave it’ or ‘stop’ and give it positive reinforcement when it obeys. If the dog repeatedly fails to ‘leave it’ and continues the attack, the animal isn’t a suitable candidate for a protection dog.
Which Breed is Best?
It should go without saying that Chihuahuas don’t make ideal protection animals. Many breeds have long histories of service and protection. So they instinctively know what to do, making for quicker training.
Dog breeds to consider for personal protection animals are the Belgian Malinois, the Bullmastiff, the Cane Corso, the Doberman Pinscher, and the German Shepherd. These dog breeds are often used by military and law enforcement for their loyalty, intelligence, and willingness to defend and protect an area or people.
How Long Does It Take To Train A Personal Protection Dog?
Training a protection dog is not a process that can take a week. It can take several months to train the dog to become a reliable personal protector. You need to train them as puppies where they get exposed to various environments, floors and sounds. This is important because it helps them to develop solid nervous systems.
You can start training the puppy at weeks old. At this stage, they will learn socialization, basic obedience, drive development and environmental stability. After one year, the dogs will have socialized with people, places, noise and floors. When they are between 11 to 18 months old, you can tell which dogs can handle intensive training to get the best one for personal protection.
There are several reasons why you need a personal protection dog. It could be you are a celebrity, concerned parent, business owner or concerned about your family’s safety. We have given you essential tips on how to train a personal protection dog that you should know.
Getting a protection dog is a big step and one you must consider carefully before taking on. If you decide a protection dog is right for you, consider hiring an expert trainer for the best results.