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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

I'm moving to LA and will be alone a lot and I would like to have a companion/protection dog. More companion but in case anything happened it would be nice to feel safe and know my dog will protect me.

I'm thinking between a Belgian shepherd mallinois and dutch shepherd.

I've been trying to find schools that will train them to be protection dogs and I came across a site that sells protection dogs.

I called him and he told me that my chances of winning the lottery is better than me rescuing/adopting a dog that can be trained to be a protection dog. He further went on to say that the protection dogs need to have the genetics (bred from protection dogs), environment and training to be great. Also, the schools that teach dogs and owners how to make them protection dogs will be impressive in school but not in real life situation. Because they are trained with armored suits that are hard like metal and not reflect a real bite.

Is this true? Also any advice relating to this would be much appreciated. I'm used to having medium size dogs.

Thanks
 

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Can you be more specific about what you would want your dog to do? He's probably correct that you will have a difficult time finding a dog that can be trained responsibly and reliably in protection - that is, actually making contact with the bad guy and taking him down. However, it is relatively easy to find a GSD that bonds closely with you and is very defensive of you and your home. I feel very comfortable walking the dogs at night, traveling, camping, and staying alone in various areas for my job with my rescued GSD. She has good instincts about people and definitely puts up a good show when there's a perceived threat. Would she follow through if I were attacked? I think it's actually quite possible, but that's not a position I ever want to put her in. Is she a good deterrent? Absolutely.
 

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Pup I agree 100%. Rocky is a great deterrent, and I know if it came down to it, he would protect any of us with his life, however it is not a position I would ever willingly put him in.
 

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Re: Can rescued/adopted dog make great protection

is he correct - the short answer is yes.

but does the average person need a dog that is professionally trained in protection - short answer - no.

i moved to los angeles when i was 17, rescued my now 9yr old gsd when i was 18... she's got a great temperament and solid nerves... not a day has gone by that i doubted she'd have my back. im still living in los angeles, my 2nd dog is also a rescued gsd, and although he's still young - i believe he "gets it" and will give me the same confidence that i have with gia.

have you already found a rescue you'd like to work with? westside shepherd rescue is pretty reliable in evaluating and matching a dogs temperament to your needs. a few times a year a malinois comes thru the rescue, but not many. there is a belgian shepherd rescue (i believe its Terri at Lily Rock or something like that). i've never gotten a dog from her, but she breeds, works and rescues belgians.

ETA: i just found the link http://www.lilyrockbelgians.com/rescue.htm
 

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Re: Can rescued/adopted dog make great protection

Sounds like the fellow on the phone had a few facts right, but, really does not wish you give your money to anybody else but him.


You probably want a dog as a visual deterrant only.
If you want a dog who will bite for real, I hope you have fabulously, extravagantly, splendidly DEEP pockets. Your dog doesn't need to bite anyone, simply to have had such real-life bite training (not dogsport), for this to be called into question as legal evidence should someone insinuate that your dog "tried to bite me."

A big GSD will intimidate based on breed, size, barking alone. A Mal or Dutchie may intimidate simply because it is bouncing erraticly off the walls like an electron, and the burglar is terrified of being sucked into the wind vortex created by the perpetual motion. I lived in Netherlands, I love Mals and Dutchies. A dog more nervous than the burglar may be just what the doctor ordered. But-- I would simply have the dog trained to BARK on command, and not bite.

And yes, rescued adopted dogs can make SUPERIOR visual deterrants!
 

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pupresq is right on, and the guy you talked to is also right. To make a protection dog, you need to start with the right genetics then add in the right training. As to whether the dog will bite for real, and not just a guy in a suit in training, has to do with how civil the dog is. A civil dog is one that will bite a person even without protective gear. Many dogs can be trained to bite a sleeve, or bite suite, but will balk at biting a person for real. Even they know the difference between training for fun, and taking on a real threat in real life.

Even among the dogs tradionally used for protection work, like German Shepherds, Dutch Shepherds, Rottweilers, bred for the work, only a small number will be civil and suitable for real protection work. So he is right that the chances of finding a dog from a rescue or in a shelter that has what it takes to be protective is very slim. A protection dog needs to be very stable in the head, very amenable to training, and extremely well sociallized so that they can differentiate between harmless people acting a bit weird, and bona-fide bad people posing a real threat. In addition, as the owner of a protection dog, you will need training to be able to maintain the training that the dog has received, and to learn how to handle your dog. This will require regular work, and one must be ready to commit the time and energy, otherwise the dog will lose the training that you paid so much for.

Most big dogs that bark will be a great deterrent, and that may be all you need. Just walking down the street with a large dog by your side will act as a protective shield. I mean, why take chances against someone with a dog when they could much easily target someone without?

If you want a Malinois or a Dutch shepherd, be aware that they are working dogs and will need some regular training and activity to keep them sane and happy. It would be fun for you to try to train them yourself for PP or for Schutzhund, but even then, don't count on your dogs to protect you, even a well trained PP of SchH may not protect when the threat is real, but you will have a lot more confidence and a great bond just through the work you will do.
 

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It is not enough to purchase a trained great protection dog, you have to know how to handle one and be able to handle one, especially if you are someone used to medium sized dogs. Otherwise you'll have a liability at your hands. How much time, effort and money are you willing and able to invest into the dog and the training? This is a completely different ballgame from caring for a medium-sized pet.
 

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most gsd's as well as herding dogs in general have been genetically programmed to "protect". to what degree they do that varies. my storm is a bit "over protective". i have to be real careful who approaches us and in what kind of manner. he is also very fence protective. put it this way, i really do not think anyone would want to chance coming into my yard to do wrong, or approach me on a walk to hurt me while storm is with me. however, with that being said, if someone wants to get in your house bad enough, they will shoot your dog. i just read a story on my pug site that someone beat a dog with a hammer breaking in the house, so do you really want to put your baby in that kind of situation? as far as being alone, my husband leaves at 3 a.m. every morning for work and i am alone with my 2 kids from then on. i do feel very much protected since i got my storm and my whole neighborhood knows not to mess with our house. i think that might be all you need.

other then that, good luck with your new addition. aside from being protective (and even if you get a gsd that is not) they make a wonderful pet with the love and loyalty that they give. they intelligence makes them very easy to train.
 

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I would use an analogy: you can buy a race car (a top protection trained dog) but are you prepared to be a race car driver?

My two GSDs will jump on the burglar, knock him down and lick him to death, the burglar will most certainly die from a heart attack. I like it that way. However, nobody will mess with me when I walk my two guys. One of them did have some protection training but I am not sure whether he would protect me in a real-life situation. I prefer to avoid such situations.
 

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Re: Can rescued/adopted dog make great protection

Call me naive, but I think if you are in a big city and worried about people hurting you, you don't need a trained protection dog. You need a great GSD who is intimidating-looking with a solid temperament - or a gun to do the job right. If someone wants you bad enough, they will shoot your dog. Most thieves or rapists or whatevers are looking for the easy target. That is NOT someone walking with a great big tough-looking dog. Most predators are wary of being hurt themselves.

My amazing Klaus was 125 pounds (yes - way oversized - and not an ounce of fat on him). We called him a Lab in German Shepherd clothing. He was wonderful - and a huge ambassador for his breed. He loved EVERYONE! However, one day I was home alone and a man came to the door. I opened the door with Klaus next to me. Totally uncharacteristic, Klaus did not like this guy. He sat next to me as I talked to the man through the screen door with teeth bared and a low growl. I was shocked, as I had never seen this behavior in him. As I talked to the man, who was giving me a story about his car being broken down - but there was no car to be seen - I, too, became concerned. The man was asking to use my phone. He put his hand on the door handle to open it (without my permission) and Klaus exploded - barking and snarling and jumping at the door. It scared this man so badly, he fell backward off the porch and ran. Klaus never had acted this way and never did again. I know he saved me that day.

If I am off-base, I hope someone will explain the benefit of owning a trained protection dog. From my experience, it would seem a liability and a great big huge handful in my home, where most of the time, I want a loving companion. It's actually something I've wondered about in the past, so I pose the question - is there a real benefit to having a trained "weapon" in your home?

Martie
 

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Re: Can rescued/adopted dog make great protection

thank you, I think your right. I just need a visual deterrant and train him to bark on command.

Sounds like you know about Mal and Duties. I've had dogs in the past and they were medium size. Just wondering if you can give me more info about differences or which breed to choose between gsd, mal or dutchies?

Also you mentioned that Mal and dutchies bounce erraticly? Does this mean gsd are more visually deterrant or intimidating?

I was thinking mal because they are smaller than gsd.

I really believe in rescuing dogs and not buying to help save a life. I volunteer and do fundraising for my local humane society and really believe in the cause. I'm extremely excited about adopting my new baby.
 

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Re: Can rescued/adopted dog make great protection

Honestly, size may not be the biggest issue here - Mals and Dutchies are going to be WAY more work and WAY more dog than you probably want, and also (ironically) LESS of a visual deterrent.

Although there are many exceptions, most GSDs are at best a little standoffish with strangers and many are quite leery of them. It's easy to find dogs in rescue that are like this. I think what you need is a dog that will bark when someone comes to the house and maybe assume a defensive posture when you're approached until you tell them to stand down. There are LOADS of GSDs like this. In fact, most of us spend a lot of time trying to dial all those behaviors back some through socialization.

Drive, size, energy level are all somewhat ambiguous terms and mean different things to different people and I don't want to assume.

Based on what you've said, I'm pretty sure that the dog that will best fit your needs is a GSD (and not because we're GSD people - I'm usually more likely to steer someone away from a GSD). But just to be sure... can you describe your ideal dog? I mean, what behavior are you looking for from them under what circumstances? What's your typical day like? How much time do you have to exercise and work your dog? Besides size, what's your previous experience with dogs? I think with that info, we can help you find your perfect dog.
 

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Re: Can rescued/adopted dog make great protection

omg pupresq, in your second paragraph, you just described my storm to a tee!!! i have to make a lifelong commitment to constantly socialize him and bring him to my trainer for refresher courses.......even socialized, storm is not trusting of strangers at all, although once he gets to know you, he is your best friend and will protect you to the death. sometimes it can be a hinderence, at other times, it does give me a sense of security. but you are right on the money. there are an awful lot of gsd's with these types of temperments.
 

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Re: Can rescued/adopted dog make great protection

My first dog was a given to my dad because it kept going over to my dads work. He brought her home and she was a medium sized dog I believe. I was really young and my mom made us give her away because she was a babysitter and the parents did not like it. Since then, me and my sister were dog lovers and my dad always brought us to pet stores, humane societies and city pounds to look and play with them.

One day we saw Bobby and we took him home and kept him forever. He passed a year and a half ago and I swore I was never going to get another dog again because the heart break was too much. I cried for a week straight.

He was part beagle and cockerspaniel. The best dog for kids. I would trust him 200% not to hurt a child even with the child extremely pestering him. He only barked when people were at the door. Always greeted us when we came home and loved goin out for walks. Softest dog ever. I loved petting him. He would always come to you and make you feel better when he knew you were sad.

Now, I'm planning on moving to LA with my Dad and sometimes I am alone there. And I'm a scaryed cat. But, I think I'm done my mourning for my baby and I'm ready for another dog. I really want to rescue another one. And I'm so excited of getting another dog. I also really want a big dog this time. Of course not huge like 150 lb big but 70-80 lb big is nice.

I'm self employed. I work at the office or in the warehouse from about 7 or 8 till 5pm. I will be taking my dog to work with me everyday. I also work with my dad. He goes for a few walks during the work day. After work I go to the gym and after that home. My dad goes for evening walks every nite, I go with him too. I will be taking him to the river, beach, leash free dog parks ect. Basically, he will come everywhere with me where dogs are allowed.

I want a big dog now, just because I want a big dog not just soley for protection. But again it would be nice to have that as a deterrant if I get in a bad situation. Again, I rarely put myself in bad situations.

I want him to be mean to bad people and nice to good people ha ha. I know thats obvious. I want him to want to protect me but not to the extent where I'm scared he is going to hurt someone.

I hope all this info helps. And I appreciate all the advice and suggestions. This forum has really opened my eyes and helpful for my researching on making sure I get the right dog.
 

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Re: Can rescued/adopted dog make great protection

My advice...

Get a large dog of a recognized "protection" breed... GSD, Rott, Dobe. Something that pretty much anyone and everyone you meet on the street is going to recognize, and has the reputation of being a "protection/police/military, etc... " dog. Now you've got the visual deterrent aspect. I probably wouldn't seriously consider a Mal or Dutchie just for this reason... while fantastic working dogs and dogs who can be very good protection dogs, most people aren't going to recognize them. And when it comes to being a visual deterrent, you want a dog people immediatly recognize and immediately stereotype as a "protection" dog.

Make sure this dog, whether purchased or rescued, is 100% sound in nerve and temperament. Not skittish, not inappropriately aggressive... hackling and growling are NOT good things and don't indicate a dog who will be protective. Rather these are fearful behaviors and are the last thing you want.

Obedience train the heck out of it. Nothing impresses people more than a well trained, obedient dog. Especially when it's one of those "protection" breeds. People see one of those dogs executing perfect obedience, and they automatically think "police dog". Now you've just reinforced the visual deterrent aspect of your dog, not to mention it's just easier and more pleasant to live with a dog who's trained.

Teach it to bark on command. Even if it's just a "speak" for a cookie bark. Joe Public can't tell the difference between a prey/cookie bark and a serious defense/aggression bark. Big dog barking, especially if it's one of those "protection" breeds, is scary.

This is all 99% of the population needs for protection.

Beyond that, to have a true personal protection dog, requires carefully selecting a dog of the right genetics, finding and paying for years of good training (and there are a lot more bad protection trainers and con-artists masquerading as protection trainers out there than there are good ones), training *yourself* in how to understand, handle and control a protection dog, and a lifetime of maintenance training for both of you. This is not only a huge commitment of time and money, but bears with it a huge responsibility and liability... esentially you've got a loaded gun that, unlike a real gun, has a mind of it's own and will make it's own decisions.

Bad guys are cowards. They look for the easy target, and the person with the big scary dog isn't it. If someone is determined to harm YOU specifically for whatever reason, and isn't just randomly looking for a victim, all it takes is a bit of poison, knife, baseball bat or gun and they can eliminate the threat posed by the dog, even it it's the best trained personal protection dog in the world.
 

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Re: Can rescued/adopted dog make great protection

Originally Posted By: Brightelf

A big GSD will intimidate based on breed, size, barking alone. A Mal or Dutchie may intimidate simply because it is bouncing erraticly off the walls like an electron, and the burglar is terrified of being sucked into the wind vortex created by the perpetual motion. I
Absolutely hilarious!!! I almost spit out my water on the screen after reading this... LMAO HAHAH
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Re: Can rescued/adopted dog make great protection

Make sure this dog, whether purchased or rescued, is 100% sound in nerve and temperament.

So does this mean if I adopt/rescue a gsd it would be better to get a 8-10 wk old puppy instead of one that is 1-2 yr old with a sad history of neglect, abandonment or abused?
 

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Re: Can rescued/adopted dog make great protection

Not necessarily. Plenty of dogs with sad histories have excellent genetics and are able to recover from their abuses and plenty of puppies grow up to be weak nerved dogs. AND there are plenty of GSDs in rescue with no history of abuse, especially right now with the economy and people surrendering them left and right.
 

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Re: Can rescued/adopted dog make great protection

Definitely go with a GSD. Mals and Dutchies are fantastic, but oftentimes not the best match for a first time working-lines handler. GSD's need plenty of exercise, but Mals and Dutchies need plenty x 100, or things can go bad. I think you'd be more likely to find the stability and temperament you're looking for in a rescue w/ a GSD.
 

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Re: Can rescued/adopted dog make great protection

It is not always possible to predict what a puppy is going to be like as an adult. With an adult you know what you are getting. There are plenty of dogs in rescue that have a wonderful temperament.
 
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