First, and please don't take this wrong way...but I would not leave a 6 year old child unattended with an adolescent male GSD. Especially not if he has gotten snarky with you before in any capacity. At only a year old he is still very much a puppy, but as he matures there is a distinct possibility that during his teenage phase he could object to a child that he does not view as his pack leader. Just look at bite statistics, way too many kids left unattended with the family dog.
Personally, and again I don't want this to sound rude, but the idea that you can leave a dog in the yard to act like Lassie and keep Timmy safe is a little unrealistic. This perception we have is literally something out of the movies. And yes there are stories of the incredible courage of dogs and Yes GSDs can have very good instincts and many will naturally alert to a stranger they perceive as a threat...but it's not something I would want to rely on for my child if you have a serious concern about her safety.
Protection Training of any kind is not a couple of lessons. It's a pretty serious endevour to teach a dog that they can take on a human being and WIN. It requires a lot of foundation, certain genetic characteristics, and routine maintenance on the training. You also have to consider what that lessons means to your dog in terms of it's relationship with the family and with friends. If your dog does not have the correct temperament for the training then their is a possibility that the dog could easily misunderstand the bad guy. In order for a dog to protect, it has to feel a threat, and understand suspicion. If your dog has no natural suspicion, than it will have to be taught...and that's not always pretty. If your dog does have natural suspicion...than chances are that it will alert the way you want it to anyway without any training. A Protection/Police K9 trainer that I worked with would frequently get people out who thought they wanted to turn the family pet into a protection dog for the wife and kids. What was hard for people to wrap their minds around was that for a true protection dog (not a SchH sport dog where there is a stronger emphasis on games and prey work) there would be a period of time where it would NOT be advisable for the dog to be the family pet. As the dog goes through the learning process it learns that humans can be scary and humans can cause pain and that they can overcome that with aggression (things we seriously avoid when socializing our young puppies- this is why many PPDs are sharper than the average dog- they more readily alert)...this eventually clarifies in understanding that it is strangers who act a certain way that the dogs need to watch out for, or people who the dogs are commanded to alert on...but during this learning process a child who accidentally falls on the dog might trigger something undesirable. There's a part of the dog's brain that has to be activated and then there is control placed on top of that. In SchH we activate and encourage the desire to chase and grip in our puppies and in the process we may endure more than our fair share of teeth marks on our arms and holes in our pants from little landsharks- control comes but not all at once. You would be teaching your one year old male to be suspicious. You have to consider all the ways this could (not necessarily will) backfire so that you know exactly what you are getting into.
I think I would just keep an eye on everything and wait to see how the dog matures. Like others said, most dogs will naturally alert to strangers in their territory as the mature and become more territorial.
Bianka vom Eisernen Loewen IPO3, CGC, TC 1-3-08
Cade vom Eisernen Loewen IPO1, CGC 3-25-09
D'Artagnan (Tag) vom Eisernen Loewen BH 2-2-10
G Aiko von Burkndeiros SchH 3, IPO3, FH, TC, KKL2 9-17-02 (Retired)
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