julie- not socializing your shepherd will not make it more protective. Socializing a shepherd well doesn't make it less protective. Socializing gives a dog confidence in new/strange situations and helps the dog to recognize what is a 'true' threat vs. what is just normal human interaction. A well bred shepherd with good nerve, etc. that is well socialized *should* protect its owner. However, it's a gamble unless you've had the dog evaluated. Put a young dog in that situation, and you can really mess it up. My first shepherd got put into that situation, and he became aggressive to ANY male who approached me. He couldn't tell a 'real' threat from a non-threat. He felt that he needed to protect me from every male because I couldn't protect myself from one. It ended up costing me a few thousand dollars to get that straightened out, but then his life was taken. Please don't put your pup in that position. Socialize him well, protect him from threats, take him to training. When he is an adult, if a time comes that you need his help... if he has it in him, he will. Better to know from a professional ahead of time, though.