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Typically when someone thinks of guard dogs they think of males. I'm going to get a female in about a month or so and I have a lot of property and a house and would like a good guard dog and companion. How good are females when it comes to guarding property and how to train them to do exactly that?
 

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1. Females are "generally" considered more protective of their family/people than the territory, but GSDs regardless of sex are still very protective of their homes and their owners.

2. You don't need to train them to do that. If you have a well bred GSD (one whose temperament hasn't been diluted through poor breeding practices) it will happen naturally. GSDs are by nature aloof toward strangers, and will bark at perceived intruders. In fact, you should train the dog to a) stop barking when you have 'verified' that there is no danger, and b) be social or at least indifferent once you have allowed a stranger home. The last thing you want is a dog that won't let ANYONE in your house, including your relatives or friends.

3. If you are looking for protection for your home, get an alarm system. A dog (any dog) will deter most intruders because they'd rather not deal with a barking dog. This goes double for a big mean-sounding dog. BUT if they are really determined, they will break in and shoot the dog. Some dogs will try to take down the intruder (and this is mostly genetic), others will not. But do you really want them to try? Frankly, if an intruder came, I'd hold my dog back. Let them take my stuff... I have insurance. But please don't hurt my dog!
 

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Originally Posted By: Nat1. Females are generally more protective of their family/people than the territory but are still very protective.
Very true.

But much of this has to do with bonding to the family. In other words, being first and foremost a companion, spending lots of time indoors with the family, on outings with the family, participating in training with the family.

I mention this because the OPs intentions are not clear to me in his post, and because admitedly the picture that comes to mind for me when someone posts they have "a lot of property" and want a "guard dog" is a dog stuck outside on guard duty pretty much 24/7 and has little, if any, interaction with it's family pack. And that is not an appropriate situation for most dogs, and especially GSDs.
 

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I think of GSDs as a "protection" dog, not a "guard" dog. They don't do well being chained outdoors where they are expected to guard property. They thrive living in close companionship with their people and they will protect when called upon (depending on the level of training). Both of my dogs are very well socialized and do everything to avoid conflict, but they alert bark for me when our doorbell rings or if someone is coming through the door and the look of a GSD with hair raised, barking at them is typically enough to deter anyone stupid enough to think they can break in. Little do they know that Coke would only want to kiss them to death and Kenya immediately shuts up and goes back to whatever she was doing as soon as the person is inside, but I've heard people say under their breath "d*** I'd never mess with her!"
 

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A properly socialized GSD and I mean who has met a lot of people gone to all sorts of different places, will naturally guard but not be a danger to good people. Jesse is very very well socialized and goes to new places every day and met 100s of different kinds of people of all nations and ages, has been to a major city baseball game, to a dog festivals, goes to day care. He knows the difference between bad people and good people and has different reactions to them. He is safe and trusting and I know he is will protect me with his life if it came to it but I also know he will not eat any friends and family that come to the house or any neighbours that are good people (unless they break into my house when I am sleeping).

Females tend to be more protective of the family; Males tend to be more protective of the property (but any dog will be both when push comes to shove) difference is whether they are a danger or if they know the difference of good and bad.
 

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Originally Posted By: Sherush He knows the difference between bad people and good people and has different reactions to them. He is safe and trusting and I know he is will protect me with his life if it came to it but I also know he will not eat any friends and family that come to the house or any neighbours that are good people (unless they break into my house when I am sleeping).
How do you know this?
Has he been tested or proofed in someway?
 

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Originally Posted By: Chris Wild
Originally Posted By: Nat1. Females are generally more protective of their family/people than the territory but are still very protective.
Very true.

But much of this has to do with bonding to the family. In other words, being first and foremost a companion, spending lots of time indoors with the family, on outings with the family, participating in training with the family.

I mention this because the OPs intentions are not clear to me in his post, and because admitedly the picture that comes to mind for me when someone posts they have "a lot of property" and want a "guard dog" is a dog stuck outside on guard duty pretty much 24/7 and has little, if any, interaction with it's family pack. And that is not an appropriate situation for most dogs, and especially GSDs.
Bolded for emphasis. It bears repeating. Good points, Chris.
 

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Originally Posted By: Chris Wild picture that comes to mind for me when someone posts they have "a lot of property" and want a "guard dog" is a dog stuck outside on guard duty pretty much 24/7 and has little, if any, interaction with it's family pack. And that is not an appropriate situation for most dogs, and especially GSDs.
Funny you should mention this situation. I live waaaaay out in the country and have been privileged to meet a few Great Pyrenees and Anatolian Shepherd livestock guardians. These dogs seem thrilled to live outside with their flock or herd and defend the animals and property. They're not very interested in people but are closely bonded with their sheep, goats, or cattle and take the task of guarding very seriously.

Now whenever someone mentions wanting a "guard dog" to protect their property I mention these two breeds as they don't seem to need human interaction the way GSDs do.
 

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Originally Posted By: Deejays_Owner
Originally Posted By: Sherush He knows the difference between bad people and good people and has different reactions to them. He is safe and trusting and I know he is will protect me with his life if it came to it but I also know he will not eat any friends and family that come to the house or any neighbours that are good people (unless they break into my house when I am sleeping).
How do you know this?
Has he been tested or proofed in someway?
I know this because of the following:

1. We have a drug house a few doors down with drug runners and some bikers and bad looking guys and guys lurking around and Jesse when out front with me will stand in guarding position and hair will raise and watch them with a look of "I dare you", then a kid, couple or person will walk by and he will just watch them relaxed and will greet them nicely if they talk to him. He will not turn nice with the bad looking guys, if they talk to him he doesn't change his language just continues on.

2. My husband came home late from work one night (cop) when I was sleeping when Jesse was almost 5 months old, hubby was trying to be very quiet and I woke up to Jesse on my body, facing the bedroom door, hair raised and growling and ready to leap stance, and I yelled to hubby to call out to Jesse, when he did Jesse relaxed.
 

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Lauralie...unfortunately a 5 month old puppy is not protective when it is growling and barking with its hair raised up. AT that age they just are not protective, they are puppies. They will start getting more protective as they grow up and mature (maybe aroud 15-18 mths), but at that age they are not protective.
What you witnessed when your DH was coming home was your puppy showing some fearful behaviour, especially if he was close to you, trying to find comfort being near you. When your DH said his name, he realized there was nothing to worry about and relaxed.
This is not to say that he will be protective when he matures!!
I would like to believe that my dogs will be protective of me, my DH and my house if needed be, but I hope they never have to be. But I do not know how they would react infront of a real threat!
 

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I find this subject very interesting and will chime in with my observations/opinions. I have had German Shepherds for roughly 40 years and have found this to be most indicative of the sexes. I currently have 4, 2 males and 2 females. I live in a very rural area and have 2 acres fenced in, when I am at work my oldest female Shepherd is the only one left loose on the property as she is neither a barker, or destructive and her main objective is to wait for me to come home. I have complete faith she will never jump or dig out and therefore never have to worry about some situation arising when I'm not home and she can be blamed for something. All 4 of my Shepherds have fantastic dispositions and are a credit to their breed, but in this litigious society I choose to protect them from any situation of which I have no control, the other 3 are safe in their kennels till I return.

When I come home and release the dogs the males will romp and play and explore the perimeter of the property as well as follow me where ever I go, the females however NEVER leave my side and in fact will actually either sit in each horse stall I clean or lie right out the door of it, they have to be in constant contact and eyesight of me. The funny thing is I have always been more partial to males, so this behavior has surprised me somewhat, I really came to appreciate this closeness/guarding a few months ago when a nasty gelding I have charged me and I tripped on my shoe laces trying to get out of the way, I fell and quickly scrambled away as fast as I could and than heard a commotion, my older female Maddie lunged at the horse completely drawing him away from me and onto her, I quickly grabbed my stallfork and shooed the horse away and than hugged my girl , thankful for such devotion.
 

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Originally Posted By: Emoore

Funny you should mention this situation. I live waaaaay out in the country and have been privileged to meet a few Great Pyrenees and Anatolian Shepherd livestock guardians. These dogs seem thrilled to live outside with their flock or herd and defend the animals and property. They're not very interested in people but are closely bonded with their sheep, goats, or cattle and take the task of guarding very seriously.

Now whenever someone mentions wanting a "guard dog" to protect their property I mention these two breeds as they don't seem to need human interaction the way GSDs do.
Exactly. There are some (few) breeds of dog who can get along perfectly fine outdoors without much interaction with their family, are happy to do so, and make excellent livestock and property guardians.

But GSDs are NOT one of those breeds. So if that is what the OP is looking for, and I'm not sure if it is or isn't based on the post, looking into one of those breeds would be a much better choice.

However, it does bear mentioning that these situations work for such guardian breeds because they have been bred to bond to their livestock and view those animals as their pack. They are still social animals and need social interaction, they just get it from non-human sources. I would suspect even one of those breeds, if left alone without any social interaction or pack of some species, would be come neurotic and develop behavioral problems.
 

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bdavis86, a lot of excellent points have been made especially by Nat and Chris.

My question to you is, "what are your expectations of a GSD "guarding" your property?

To me, you can expect the dog to bark and alert to certain threats. Nothing more, and nothing less.

Do not expect your dog to be a "manstopper". For one thing, the "man" could be just a child or teenager in the neighborhood, climbing your fence to get a ball that bounced into your property. Or the power company meter reader or a federal express delivery person foolishly entering your property unexpectedly. Or a gardener entering your house on a Sunday to pick up tools he forgot (this has happened to me). A tragedy could easily result.
 

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Lauralie

Quote:hair will raise and watch
This is a fearful behavior also, and I would bet its coming from you.
You see them as Bad Guys, does not sound like they are a real threat to you or him.
 

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bdavis86, in terms of training, a good GSD will naturally bark when "guarding" your property or you. No training should be required for that.
A GSD that is sharper or has weaker nerves will bark more. A very confident GSD will often bark less.

What you actually need to train, is to train the dog to stop barking after you have checked out the "threat".
 

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I agree with Chris Wild- it all comes down to the bond between family and dog. A good dog is trained, socialized and has a strong bond/connection with the family and will naturally protect if felt threatened.
 

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Originally Posted By: LiesjeI think of GSDs as a "protection" dog, not a "guard" dog. They don't do well being chained outdoors where they are expected to guard property. They thrive living in close companionship with their people and they will protect when called upon (depending on the level of training).
I agree
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Wow, thanks for all the responses, very informative!

Perhaps I worded it wrong. I have a lot of property and we've had instances in the past where we've had strangers come walking through. That's not why I'm getting the dog, but I'm just wanting a dog that will alert us if someone does come through. So from what it sounds like, I won't have anything to worry about.

On a side note, I went to visit the puppies last night and they are so cute! Only 4 weeks old, so I have to wait another month

I dont think I can get the black and tan female that I originally wanted, they all look black or sable, but that's ok, sable still looks good. I cant wait to get one, I'll have to buy all the puppy stuff but I'll get to take her places, puppy training class, meeting all the friends/family, I cant wait. Just had to share...
 

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When I was a teen we had two dogs, a Great Pyrenees and an Akita/Malamute cross. We were living in Northern BC. Alot of people thought my parents were crazy to have the dogs in the house, just as I have some people telling me my GSD pup should be taught to live outdoors. I alway remember what my dad's answer was, and I use it now. He always said, it's great to have your dogs chained in the backyard to guard your house, that way you don't get sued when the burglar WALKS through the front door!!!

To this day I don't understand people who say that they have a great guard dog, but it's fenced/chained in the backyard. How is the dog going to get into the house?? Teleport??


By the way, my Pyr, T.J., was as big a family dog as you could get. Wherever the family was, TJ was never far behind, and the same applied to Deni.
 

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If people are "walking through" does this mean you are wanting the dog to patrol an unfenced area? Also, what are you wanting the dog to do if there is a stranger on the property? What if it's a child or just someone lost? I am not clear on your plan but have some concerns. If you want a dog who will bark when a stranger comes to the door, I'd say most GSDs of either gender will do that job nicely. Can you explain more about your set up and your desires for this dog? No dog should roam an unfenced area unsupervised nor should they have to make judgement calls about "appropriate force" so these are some things worrying me.
 
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