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I have a 5-month old gsd puppy. So far I have trained her the basic commands like sit, come, lay, etc... I am debating whether I should train her to be a guard dog. Although she is a biter (excessive chewing at the moment), she is not aggressive at all. The reason I want her to be a guard dog is because about a year ago, the house next to us was converted into a drug rehabilitation center for teens. There are some very troubled teens out there and I am worried about the safety of my family; however, I don't know if training a gsd puupy to be a guard dog is a good idea. So my question is: Should I train her to be a guard dog or let her become naturally protective of my family? Any input would be helpful. Thanks.
 

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What does that mean "guard dog"? What is your expectation?

If you have never had experience doing this type of training, don't experiment on your dog yourself
 

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If you're serious about the need then find a good trainer and get their help, it's not training you want to mess up or take on by yourself.
 

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I second the "do not try this at home" sentiment. Also be aware that while many dogs will become naturally protective, some won't. Even more importantly, dogs that have the appropriate temperament for protection training are harder to come by than most think. Only a PP experienced trainer can tell you if she's got the right temperament. In the mean time, keep up the obedience! Sounds like you're working on a solid foundation and that's the best way to start :)
 

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What does that mean "guard dog"? What is your expectation?

If you have never had experience doing this type of training, don't experiment on your dog yourself

I second this. What do you mean guard dog? Perimeter dog, personal protection dog, alert dog, deterrent? All these are very different. What specific things do you want your dog to do? Also know that none of these can be expected from a puppy. The dog needs to mature.
 

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Perimeter dogs are dangerous, most trainers I have encountered lately wont even train them anymore. 5 months is a little early, but I would grab leerburgs foundation of puppy bitework and start with that while you begin researching trainers. They will have to put your dog through an evaluation to decide whether or not your dog is suitable for PP work. Just be prepared, Mine has been in PP training for about 8 months now and it does get a little expensive pretty fast.
 

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Honestly, I think most GSD's will naturally act as a deterrent and bark at strangers. My pup sounds like she'll rip your arms off, until you're welcomed into the house, then she's a big suck.

I agree with whoever said they need the right temperament, you're probably best to buy a ready made dog, although they are quite expensive. Aggressive does not = protection. Aggressive = liability. Trained protection dogs are very clear headed.
 

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A guard dog is trained to attack on command. He should return to you when he doesn't like something himself and look into your eyes: "Should I rip this disrespectful thing into bits?" And you answer him: "Just bark at the moment."
It is a long way for you before your dog will be that obedient. At the moment any agressive behaviour must be disencouraged by recalls and treats for coming back. If you are training a guard dog - bother about his jaw muscles. War-of-tug must be his regular game, he must be responsive to your sweet voice, grab or relese it on command. Also feed him bones, a little but daily. The males start showing what they really are only after one year of age. You physically cannot train the guard dog on your own, while he is five, look for possible training places, find out what they do, and, if possibe, watch their handlers with dogs at work.
 

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The truth is...without a good trainer, and a ton of dedication on your part, it will probably take you 4 or more years to train a trusted guard dog. Most dogs take a good 2 years of solid training by professionals with hours and hours of work on a daily basis. I won't assume that those guys put in 40 hours a week into a dog, but I have a feeling its not too far off from that.

If you are just talking deterrent...she'll naturally be one once she grows up.

Do not under any circumstances train this do by yourself...not only will it become a BIGGER liability if it ever bites someone and it is found out you actually TRAINED it, but then the training will be called into question, and then your credentials to do this type of training will be called into question, and you'll end up paying a whole lot of money.

Also...look into your homeowners policy, they usually don't like it when your dog is bite trained.
 

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If I were in your situation, I'd be enrolling in a good obedience class, and then another, and then another. In my own experience (and from speaking with other GSD owners) these dogs have a uncanny ability to know when someone is stoned or drunk, and they don't like it. You don't want your young dog lunging at one of the teens when they're going into the rehab, if they've had a relapse. The other nice thing about a great OB is that when people see your dog responding to commands, they wonder to themselves what else the dog knows, but don't want to find out, lol.
 

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Based on how you asked the question, the odds are very low that your dog has the genetics to be a personal protection or guard dog. If you have to ask the question, you don't have the experience to do it and probably don't have the right dog. You can teach your dofg to light up/bark in the house or in a fenced yard, but I wouldn't expect him to be able to stop an intruder. Again, that requires a very strong dog with a high degree of training.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
My expectation of a "guard dog" is for the dog to investigate any strange sounds on my property and to deter the teens from jumping the fence onto my property. However, if the kids did jump the fence, then to scare them back to where they came from without biting them.

Note taken, I will not attempt to train her myself. How much would it cost to go to professionals?
 

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Most GSD will develop a protective ability on their own concerning your family and property.

I wouldn't train the dog at all other than obedience, or a sport if you're so inclined. Be happy with a natual 'watch dog' instead of a guard dog.
 

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Having a GSD in your yard is often deterrent enough, most people (including teens) would see a GSD and be like umm nope and keep on going... Put up a beware of dog signs along the fence and in your windows in your home. You can also get the novelty signs that says "The property is Pawtected by a ... German Shepherd"... I dont think you really need to put that much into the dog the dog will naturally become protective of you and his property.
 

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I second this. What do you mean guard dog? Perimeter dog, personal protection dog, alert dog, deterrent? All these are very different. What specific things do you want your dog to do? Also know that none of these can be expected from a puppy. The dog needs to mature.
QFT

With maturity will come bite inhibition (if reinforced now), a sense of what is home, and what needs to be protected. Their whole breeding is to keep their pack together and safe. Anything specialized like stated above (perimeter, handler protection, etc...) does need a specialized trainer.
 

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The best post in this thread after the original was the one...

...that asked what the original poster meant by a guard dog. Maybe I missed it but I don't think I saw a response.

Most GSDs, indeed, most dogs are territorial to other dogs, wildlife and even humans right out of the box. None of the GSDs I've owned weren't very good stewards of the house in the wee hours of the night and often were pretty loud in warning of anyone ringing the doorbell or approaching the front door or drive even in day time.

If that's what you want you probably already have that and will see it with time without any expensive protection training whatsoever.

To get that with your dog with very little effort do this when they're young, growl in pretend dog-like irritation at pretend interlopers in the yard. Then STEP-FORWARD AGGRESSIVELY at the pretend figure who you pretend is just beyond the fence line and out of site and actually growl and bark like a dog.

Sure, the neighbors will videotape you and put in on YouTube so as to document your insanity. But, hey, we're all just a bit off the perfect aren't we?

If the dog is aroused by your actions and follows you with anything more than just a bored look on his face awaiting popcorn to see him through the fight he expects you to be in you've got a guard dog. Reinforce this behavior each day and particular in the early evening as the shadows lengthen. The do so at night when you let him out to do his business.

Further "enrich" the experience and concrete the behavior by only doing your growl, bark and aggressively move forward in response to certain stimuli which you believe may one day indicate a problem in the making, the sound of a car door shutting. The sound of other dogs in the neighborhood barking, in my home the doorbell or the fence gate opening and shutting in the middle of the night for not apparent reason...but especially the aggressive voices of someone who appears to be upset with you.

PRAISE, PRAISE, PRAISE until you get the reaction you want.

For puppies stuff an athletic sock with other old and worn out won't stay up on your calf socks and start bite training. About 15 minutes twice a day. Let the dog tug all he wants and then let him have it EVERY SINGLE TIME YOU DO THIS. Then as he runs off with his prize chase him just a bit as if you want the slobbery thing back.

At the end of each 15 minute period reward him with 5 minutes of tennis ball or kong throwing. Then put the throw toy away.

With time and especially after his baby teeth are ALL out and the new teeth are emergent move up to more sturdy bit-aids. We used a cloth covered on with two handles and are not at 8 months on a jute one purchased from activedogs.com.

The dog just loves to bite now and, frankly, can get a little out of hand after 15 minutes of bite training. I've been lightly bitten twice and my son who foolishly chose to spectate in a session was bitten on the butt lightly. You'll know when you've reached this level, this desired level, when the dog is not easy to wind down (hence, the kong).

Now, after the kong time is up and the kong is up have your dog sit with you as you peer either out of a window or out about the properly if you're outside and stroke his back, particularly his shoulders just below the neck and the area immediately before the tail all the while saying good boy and whatever command you use to make him stop barking (we use STILL). Your dog should calm down quite quickly.

The dog soon comes to realize that there's a pattern here. Firstly, there's a stimulus that you and he hear that causes you to react aggressively. The dog will do so too with complete fidelity over time. Then it's OK to be aggressive on command. Then it's fun too with the kong. Then he must obey when you wind him down.

No trainer but yourself. Didn't cost you a cent.

Here's another neat trick...your growl is his alert now under virtually all circumstances be it a park, your home or yard, the car with a motorcyclist or pedestrian that's too close, etc. I think the sight of a GSC in alert status will give pause to even the most hardened criminal.

Also, over time you can stand behind your GSD straddling him and holding onto the flat collar (I like the MilSpec leather collars also on activedog.com) and he'll begin barking and showing his teeth at any target (man, woman, auto, dog, etc.) by you simply and lowly growling to put him on alert.

Now, you have a basic personal protection dog without any expense whatsoever.

Lastly, you'll see results almost immediately. But it'll take about 2 years to make this whole thing reflexive on the dog's part.

LF
 
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