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Old 08-29-2011, 08:25 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Too late for guard dog training?

Hey guys, just wanted to ask a question.

At the moment Ive got a femal long hair GSD (5 years) and another shepherd male puppy (presure its a GSD, 1 year old now)

My property is surrounded by a large fence and gate at the front. They tend to bark there heads off at people/dogs walking past and to the untrained eye seem like good guard dogs. However I've had people walk into the front yard before and the dogs walk upto them and expect a pat.

This happens with friends who have never been in my house before, however i'd like to prevent strangers from doing this and would prefer the dogs get nasty around people they don't know. Any ideas?? I was thinking of getting one of my friends who havent met my dogs to jump over the fence and start attacking them so they understand not all strangers are nice.. but that seems alittle far fetched and I dont want em getting hurt.
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Old 08-29-2011, 08:35 AM   #2 (permalink)
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metal - do NOT do this! (Where do you live?)

Best thing to do is get a lock for your gate to keep strangers out. Most dogs will only bark but not actually attack. Attack training focuses on building the dog's confidence so that they feel that they can take anybody on and win, beating up a dog will do the opposite, and that is make them feel defeated and weak, and they are less likely to engage, but more likely to run away, or barring that, they get so paranoid about being attacked that they will in a pre-emptive strike, attack and bite anyone that comes close to them - even family, friends, and little kids. This is a dog that will now need to be put down because it is unstable and dangerous.

It takes years of training to get a reliable protection dog, starting when they are young, building their confidence, socializing them to the world so they know to differentiate between a little old lady walking with a walker and a real-life threat, and giving them a solid and reliable obedience base so that they 100% respond to your commands.

A protection trained dog also needs rock solid nerves, and advanced obedience training. It takes a lot of training to get a dog there, and they are trained to engage on command - you don't want to be out with your dogs and they make decisions on their own to bite someone - can you say: "I'm going to get my pants sued off me, and my dogs euthanized?"

Your best bet here is to put a lock on your gate, and get a more secure fence to keep people out.
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Old 08-29-2011, 08:38 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Doing any sort of protection training without control is not advised. It would be like having a toddler in control of a cannon, a lawsuit waiting to happen!
Find a Schutzhund club near you and talk to the Training Director about an evaluation.

Sounds like you have nice, well socialized dogs. I would never want to screw that up, it's like spice in the soup. Taking it out, after you've put it in is next to impossible. By having a stranger attack them with no warning or training you would be turning what sounds like trusting dogs into an unstable, dangerous force in your front yard.
Protection work is a long process, not like loading a gun and then being able to use it when you need to, it is a living being that will make it's own decisions on what to "attack" and if you teach it that random people will attack him/her then they will reciprocate and not how you want!

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Old 08-29-2011, 08:43 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Also if you want to protection train your dogs, just like any training, you need to keep it up on a regular basis or else the training gets lost, and your control gets lost. Let's say you go to a Personal Protection Trainer with your one year old: He would be a good age to start working with for hit, assuming he has what it takes. Once he is trained for what you want, you will need regular sessions of trainng, like once a week or so, to maintain what he learned and keep his obedience sharp. Is that something you would be willing and commited to do?
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Old 08-29-2011, 08:43 AM   #5 (permalink)
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So what you are saying is if the neighborhood kids come inside your fence to retrieve a ball or toy, you want the dogs to maul them? Dogs cant tell the difference between friends or foe.
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Old 08-29-2011, 08:45 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ed1911 View Post
Dogs cant tell the difference between friends or foe.
Stable, well socialized and well trained dogs can.
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Old 08-29-2011, 08:48 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I moved the thread out of the aggression forum into the Protection Dog forum as this is a training issue, not an aggression issue.
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Old 08-29-2011, 09:19 AM   #8 (permalink)
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"Get nasty around people they don't know." What exactly do you mean by that? And why is your gate unlocked so that just anyone can walk in? (Lock it!) If your dogs bark and carry on when people walk by that is usually enough to prevent anyone (who doesn't know them) from engaging them further. They are smart enough to realize that the friends walking into your yard aren't a threat - my old dog Blue was pretty much that way: but one day he was inside the house when a basketball came over the fence. Some guys were amusing themselves shooting hoops on the other side, and one of them started to climb over the fence to retrieve it. He saw the guy through a glass door and took off into the yard (we had a dog door at the time) at high speed, and went charging down the garden path barking his head off. I have never in my life seen any person go back over a fence so quickly - he just got his foot out of the way when the dog arrived. (DO NOT try this with your friend as the "bait", that's just silly, and possibly dangerous.) Moral of the story is that you don't know how your (very nice dogs) will react in an unusual situation, and you don't want something to get out of hand because you have been "training" them inappropriately. Follow the above advice for training with a professional if you feel that is what you want to do.
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Old 08-29-2011, 09:28 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Yeah I didn't think it was that simple! My last GSD before these two was a shorthaired male named Billy with a bit more of an aggressive temperment to strangers.
When outside of the property on walks he was fine but when on the property he wouldn't concede an inch to anyone unless he knew them or I was there.
I had a falling out with a mate of mine after highschool and the dog knew him, a few years ago I almost had the wheels off my Holden pinched by that a**. This was at like 2am, Billy went nuts and ended up getting over the fence somehow and barking him into a corner, ended up calling the cops and he was caught in the act and now has a criminal record.

Was hoping to have a dog like that again but I don't think having these two dogs at the same time again would work as the female tends to be more dominant and all he wants to do is play. I would be prepared to put in the training every week but have no idea how I would go through with it, or if I could do it myself or who I'd go to.

Thanks for the fast replies!

BTW I do lock my gate, I have had issues with theives jumping over the gate and stealing things from the front of the house.
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Old 09-15-2011, 12:33 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Protection dog training of any kind is not a task undertaken lightly. All trainers train differently, but this area in particular is very dangerous. Done incorrectly you can cause permanent damage to your dog, create a liability, injure yourself, other people, or animals. It's an insurance liability, and enforces the stigma that breed bans already have against our breed.

Speak with a local Schutzhund Club about getting your dog evaluated for Schutzhund. The bonus here is that you'll get an unbiased opinion about your dogs drive and potential for any strain of protection, and most club trainers also do private lessons - so you can continue with training if you want to. It is impossible to train a protection dog by yourself. You can never use yourself as a decoy, and since you're not experienced enough to do an evaluation on your own, it's best to try your luck with a few professional trainers. Get different opinions; all trainers have different standards.


If you're that worried about your safety, buy a gun.
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