Re: Is Schutzhund right for me?
I agree with other posts - it is a humans personal responsibility to protect their self. Interestingly enough there are a number of landmark Supreme Court decisions that back up this already common sense (in my opinion) tenet of life. If your life isn't worthy of protecting by you, why should anyone/anything risk theirs on your behalf? OK, so as a woman, the only reliable means of protection is owning a firearm and obtaining routine training in its use. It is that simple - if you want to hang a picture you use a hammer, you want to protect yourself, especially from physically stronger persons you need the proper tool to do that. People can argue over the politics of it all day long and at the end, the truth will still be there. If it wasn't the truth cops wouldn't carry.
So, onto the specific answer to your question. No. I believe Schutzhund is too demanding, expensive and time consuming to get involved with if it is not your *primary* intent. I could go further into how most Schutzhund dogs wouldn't know what to do in a real world situation, off the trial field, with no sleeve in sight - but that is too much. Bottom line is that Schutzhund will not provide you a protection dog. Frankly, due to the intensity require to train, maintain and insure a *true* protection dog (not to mention the fact that often they aren't the kind of dog you can walk in the park or have hang out with your friends...) you probably really don't want a protection dog.
What I would suggest is a working with a personal protection dog trainer, but ONLY teaching your dog to react to threats you alert him to with strong barking. Almost ANY dog from a protection breed can be taught to do this, even if they'd never bite a person in a million years. It is easy to teach, doesn't matter if the dog is neutered, pet trained, low drive, or a nerve bag, it is easy to do. The you have a deterrent. Not real protection – but better than nothing. Most people, including all but the most hardened bad guys will not be able to tell a wimpy dog who’s been taught to alert and bark convincingly from the "real deal" protection dog, that will cost you many thousands more to buy, train and insure - since it is very likely that it will bite someone at some point. I'd like to say I'm not bashing true PP dogs, they are just not something most people can handle.
I've done a bunch of this training in the last year and worked with a couple of women. They feel much more empowered knowing that they've got a dog that will scare the daylights out of someone, but at the same time isn't going to land them in a multi-million dollar lawsuit.
A hint for selecting a PP trainer. If you are not hardcore into learning dog handling and have the nature to do whatever it takes to keep your hard, dominate, independent, strong working dog in line, than they SHOULD BE SUGGESTING TO YOU EXACTLY WHAT I AM. If they don't they are either hacks, or simply interested in taking your money.
I still vote for the firearm + professional training as the way to truly *protect* yourself. For some peace of mind and a deterrent from less serious threats to life and well being - get a nice dog you like, get professional help to teach it to bark at bad guys to scare em off. You'll be much happier in the end.