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Hi There!

One of the reasons we got our new family member was someone to protect my wife and the kids we have planned. Do I require to train him (Schutzhund) to do this, or should I simply let him live a normal life and he will develop these instincts naturally?
 

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Actually if you searched about the breed and read, you are going to see that gsd is naturally protective. However, you have to socialize your dog to prevent inappropriate aggression toward strangers. I assume you just got a puppy, so let him grow up, of course with traininf and socialization. Do obedience training, the earlier the better. Spend lotsssss of time with him, take him wherever you can take with you. It makes him to adopt new environments easily. I hope this helps, you can't schutzund train a dog , unless he is fully obedience trained. If you want, after one year of age, you can make him train for protection work with a good trainer. Schutzund is a sport, but what I really understand is you are more into protection work. Good luck
 

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People with much more experience might reply, but all I can put in is all my dogs as a child and adult life have always been protective naturally but that is only because I start to socialize them right away at 8 weeks and every day through their lives and seem to know instinctively who means to cause harm and who doesn't. If a dog is not properly socialized then they won't know the difference and could be dangerous, ie. Jesse goes somewhere every day and meets people (all nations and ages), places, dogs and other animals, goes in the vehicle every day, as well walks the neighborhood 2 times a day. We also sit with him outside the house (while he is tied up to watch the goings on in the neighborhood once or twice a week while he chews a stick or plays ball), he is also in doggy daycare once a week and this week starting 2 times a week. We will also being taking him to Woofstock in Toronto on June 7th because I want a dog that will be accepting of all people and things, but not crazy protective only if I am in danger. A well socialized dog seems to know natually when someone is up to no good.

As I stated above "socialize, socialize, socialize" and you will end up with a well rounded dog that will protect when needed (not on command though)
 

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Let me add in I started Jesse in Puppy Education at 14 weeks and now is in Intermediate Training (ahead of his class and been told by all trainers so far, "wow we don't have to teach your dog anything, but good thing you are here anyway because you will know you are on the right track" this week alone I was told to stand up and show the class how I trained Jesse "by me" i.e. come around me to my left side to be ready to heal because he was already trained to do that and that is what the class was teaching <I started thinking why did I pay for this class they should be paying me>) GSD are fast and willing learners and very very smart.
 

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Quote: or should I simply let him live a normal life and he will develop these instincts naturally?
I say do that, but you DO have to do a ton of training and socialization. Just not near the level needed for Sch. Only a calm, well socialized and balanced dog will have the good sense to bark and realize something is 'wrong' vs. just something being different. We want a dog that is comfortable in many places/situations so they are able to think and analyze.

So DOG CLASSES!!!!! For general obedience and getting them in the car, in new places with new people and situations. As many other advanced classes as you can also fit in whether you continue with obedience, rally, agility, herding, flyball, or whatever.

But key is the fact that all this training really comes along with socialization. Because without that our dogs can tend to APPEAR to be getting more protective cause they start to bark and growl in situations. Unfortunately, this mostly comes from a fear basis (looks exactly like 'protection' but our pups are afraid and just trying to keep scary away).
 
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