I want a Guard Dog but not an attack dog. - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 54 (permalink) Old 01-05-2012, 11:05 PM Thread Starter
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I want a Guard Dog but not an attack dog.

I run a little guest hostel in Costa Rica. Here one needs dogs to guard and alert for intruders. My two year old Shepherd mix (inherited and not trained by myself) barks but she is scared of most everything. I just got a four month old male, half German half Belgian Shepherd to do the job and let the female be his back up.


I've trained my previous dogs only in the basic commands of sit, stay, heal and etc. I am looking for tips on training my new puppy to do his job of guarding the property and protecting me. I don't want to train him as an attack dog. He needs to be social but be able to discern between the good guys (friends and customers) and intruders. Any suggestions on method, technique or a particular book or video series would be appreciated. Thanks!
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post #2 of 54 (permalink) Old 01-05-2012, 11:11 PM
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A little thing called socialization is the big key here. By socializing your puppy properly to all kinds of appropriate people and places, and your puppy having positive experiences during socialization, your pup should grow into a dog who can tell the difference between who is right and who is wrong. As for training him to alert, thats something they either do or they dont.

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post #3 of 54 (permalink) Old 01-05-2012, 11:14 PM
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Others with far more experience will have more to offer, but I would say for now, encourage his confidence. Let him experience as much of life as he can, while keeping him safe. Once you're sure he is not reactive or afraid of people and other animals, teach him to be more neutral to others. He must not be people aggressive with your hostel situation, but he doesn't need to LOVE everyone. Once he fully matures, you will be surprised how naturally he will "protect" you. Any dog that is fully bonded, and is of good nerve and solid confidence, will do what you want it to do for the most part.

Cute pup and dog!
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post #4 of 54 (permalink) Old 01-05-2012, 11:22 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by KZoppa View Post
A little thing called socialization is the big key here. By socializing your puppy properly to all kinds of appropriate people and places, and your puppy having positive experiences during socialization, your pup should grow into a dog who can tell the difference between who is right and who is wrong. As for training him to alert, thats something they either do or they dont.
Thank you. What you say makes lots of sense. People come and go here all the time and they love the dogs. I guess that is teaching Santo to know who is nice. I hope it helps Sativa because she gets nervous around some of the new people - only certain men - who knows why... As for alertness, Santo has only been here for a little over a week and he barks protectively already.
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post #5 of 54 (permalink) Old 01-05-2012, 11:33 PM
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Originally Posted by LisaValencia View Post
Thank you. What you say makes lots of sense. People come and go here all the time and they love the dogs. I guess that is teaching Santo to know who is nice. I hope it helps Sativa because she gets nervous around some of the new people - only certain men - who knows why... As for alertness, Santo has only been here for a little over a week and he barks protectively already.

Fo your female being nervous with some men but not others, a lot of times it has something to do with how deep the males voice is or how they carry themselves.

As far as your pup barking "protectively", trust me when I say he isn't barking to be protective at this age. Its probably more out of a fear stage. generally speaking, a pup isn't likely to show protection instincts until, at the earliest about 8 months old (sometimes a bit sooner) but more often than not likely to happen until the pup is hitting 18 months -2 years. It also depends on the lines the pup is from as well. Its a mental maturity. He'll alert bark, i'm sure, as he gets older but at this point he's still a young guy learning about the world. Dont push him. Let him go at his own pace. And make sure he has positive experiences and you should be fine.

Also as mentioned by another poster, you want him to be neutral with people but not all I LOVE YOU!!!! like.

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post #6 of 54 (permalink) Old 01-05-2012, 11:35 PM
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sorry cant edit my last post. I hope it makes sense on wanting him neutral but not so interested in people he loves everyone. he should be good with people but not seek them out, especially since some people are nervous with dogs , large or small.

Shasta GSD 5/5/10 CGC, ITD, TC
"Dax" Thor z vom Weberhaus BCAT CAX2 CGCA ETD HCT NCO-1 PKD-T RATI RATN RA TC TKA 3/18/2013
"Hades" Guilty vom Blutfeuer 10/26/2018
Zena GSD 6/1/03-2/16/2016
Riley GSD/BC 1/10/05-2/1/2013
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post #7 of 54 (permalink) Old 01-05-2012, 11:41 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by RocketDog View Post
Others with far more experience will have more to offer, but I would say for now, encourage his confidence. Let him experience as much of life as he can, while keeping him safe. Once you're sure he is not reactive or afraid of people and other animals, teach him to be more neutral to others. He must not be people aggressive with your hostel situation, but he doesn't need to LOVE everyone. Once he fully matures, you will be surprised how naturally he will "protect" you. Any dog that is fully bonded, and is of good nerve and solid confidence, will do what you want it to do for the most part.

Cute pup and dog!
Thank you. Good advice. I'm pleased to say Santo has already been exposed to the noise of three nights of fireworks, when we got him, just before New Years. On New Years Sativa was so scared we had to let her inside, but Santo just ignored the noise, went over to Sativa's abandoned dish, ate her food and dozed off to sleep! He has been near traffic and other dogs, too. the only thing he is really afraid of is the ocean waves, but he'll grow out of that.

I am not sure what you mean about teaching him to be neutral to others. People just faun over him now, as a cute puppy and he responds in kind. I would hate to put a damper on that.

Regardless, I feel better knowing that as you said, he will naturally protect me as he learns and bonds. I'll keep what you said in mind, about confidence. It had not occurred to me that dogs needed to be taught that, just like children do.
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post #8 of 54 (permalink) Old 01-05-2012, 11:43 PM Thread Starter
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sorry cant edit my last post. I hope it makes sense on wanting him neutral but not so interested in people he loves everyone. he should be good with people but not seek them out, especially since some people are nervous with dogs , large or small.
Ok, I get that. I think if he gets enough attention from me and those close to me, he will not be hungry for attention from strangers...
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post #9 of 54 (permalink) Old 01-05-2012, 11:49 PM
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Oh yes. When he is unsure, he will look to you for direction and will feed off your emotions. Now as a pup, letting people pet and stroke him gently is fine--as he hits 7 months or so, or as your instincts tell you, don't seek that anymore. He probably will stop seeking as well. People will probably always want to pet him and he must tolerate it due to your business but hopefully most will ask permission first.

ETA the "oh yes" was in response to teaching and building confidence. I really need to start quoting.

Last edited by RocketDog; 01-05-2012 at 11:52 PM.
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post #10 of 54 (permalink) Old 01-05-2012, 11:50 PM
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Originally Posted by LisaValencia View Post
Ok, I get that. I think if he gets enough attention from me and those close to me, he will not be hungry for attention from strangers...

This is generally true. Allow him to socialize with some people just so he learns to tolerate and accept stranger petting him but you also want him to observe them from a distance so he can learn how "right" people behave and how "wrong" people behave. I would especially allow him to socialize with children of all ages. For safety reasons as well as kids have a different way of moving and behaving from adults so learning both would be beneficial in my honest opinion.

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"Dax" Thor z vom Weberhaus BCAT CAX2 CGCA ETD HCT NCO-1 PKD-T RATI RATN RA TC TKA 3/18/2013
"Hades" Guilty vom Blutfeuer 10/26/2018
Zena GSD 6/1/03-2/16/2016
Riley GSD/BC 1/10/05-2/1/2013
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