Most definitely. Ever since I moved out on my own I've had a dog. I don't like not having one around--they hear, sense, and smell much, much more than I could ever. Every dog I've owned so far has made me feel like, while they might lose the fight, or back off if a human ever fully engaged them, they'd at least make the attempt. And with a wild animal that was rushing us? For sure. As that bond develops, you just know when to trust their instincts. I still feel many areas are my job to protect him, and as he ages someday into a senior, his senses might diminish. But still....dogs are dogs.
Rocket used to bark more all last fall and winter and spring as he was going through puppyhood at little noises in the night, but it's steadily gotten less and less until now, he rarely barks at all. And when he does, we get up and look. (This is during daytime too). He hasn't barked in the middle of the night for several months now, which shows me he's maturing and able to discriminate now between "normal" sounds outside, deer, moose, etc and stuff.
Also, I've met several people who've come up to me in the grocer etc and said "Say, don't you run in our neighborhood?" and then make comments about him--usually along the lines of "Well, keep HIM with you and you'll be alright! He sure is intimidating looking!" That's a big part of it. Deterrent. I don't necessarily tell them he's a pretty friendly dog. First, because he's still young, second because I don't know exactly how he would react if someone rushed me, and third, reputation is everything.