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I see it all the time - people get german shepherds or other similar breeds because they want a dog to protect them. And I think this is very naive and dangerous thinking. Realistically, it takes a very special dog to be appropriate as a personal protection dog. Not only does a dog realistically need a LARGE amount of training, but they also need a very specific temperament. Very solid, also able to appropriately distinguish between threat and safety, and the nerve to not back down when attacked back. Most dogs simply are NOT capable of that. I tell people time and time again - I would bet 99% of dogs do not have what it takes, and most will pick flight over fight if it came down to it.

My own horror story that just happened last night - I hope this makes people truly realize and think, and NOT trust their dogs so much:

Ironically, I was at work last night telling my coworker about a dream I had.

I'm realistic with my dog's temperament - Berlin is a very well bred working line. We've been training for schutzhund since he was 8 weeks old. He's working on bitework. But he is INCREDIBLY social, loves people. I joke - "This dog will NEVER protect me. The only way I can ever pray he'll save me is if his juggernaut head accidently knocks the assailant out as he goes to jump on them and lick them".

Zeke is 7 years old, crotchety in his "old" age. He has definitely displayed more "protective" tendencies. He'll bark at some people. He barks at men. There have been a few times, walking at night or what not, that someone has seemed off and he's barked or growled at them. I picked up a stranger boy for a date one time - Berlin had been in the far back kenneled and Zekle had been free in the back seat directly behind the front seat. He actually barked at the boy, then jumped into the front seat and growled at the boy as he tried to get in the car. I had to physically grab his leash and push him back into the back seat. Once the boy was in, had said his name, and let him sniff his hand he was BETTER but never great around him. So although I've always been realistic and never expected him to protect me, I always had that slight hope that he would.

As I was telling my coworker, just last night, I think my dogs give me a false sense of security. Although I dont expect them to actually do anything to an assailant, I do trust that 2 big german shepherds, potentially barking, are enough to scare anyone away, and therefor young single female me doesnt ever worry about myself. I never lock the doors in my house. I leave my windows wide open. I leave the dog door open. I just have this unrealistic expectation that no one will ever mess with me, because I have 2 big intimidating dogs. In this dream I had, I came home alone and for some reason did not have the dogs, someone had come into my house because the door was unlocked, and tried to rape me. Ever since that dream I have started locking my doors.

After work last night, 2am, I was driving home. I not only had my 2 big german shepherds in the car, I had my aunt's pit bull who is sweet but barks at EVERYONE. Because I had 3 dogs, Berlin was not kenneled, the seats were folded down. Berlin and the pitbull were laying directly behind the front seats, and Zeke was way in the back laying down.

As I was driving I saw a car stopped in one of the turn lanes to exit the highway with it's emergency blinkers on, and there was a young man (maybe early 20s) standing behind the car waving his arms. I figured he must of stalled, maybe he doesnt have a phone or it's dead. I did hesitate for a minute because it was a male and I was alone, but again, false sense of security with 2 german shepherds and a pitbull in my back seat.

I did not pull over. But I looked and made sure no cars were behind me, and then I stopped in the lane of the highway and rolled my window halfway down to ask if he needed me to call someone. Young, alone, female, 2am.

He calmly and deliberately walked right over, opened my door, and began to get in my car. Saying so calmly "It's ok, It's ok".

I have never been so scared in my life. I literally thought I was going to be murdered. I thought it was a setup, I thought I was getting carjacked. I thought he was going to pull a gun on me, make me drive to the mountains, best case scenario just rob me, worst case scenario rape me and murder me. I thought I was going to die. He was so calm and matter of fact about his actions and words.

Zeke was barking, but Berlin and the pit bull were not. I began screaming "Don't get in, the dogs will attack you!!! Don't get in the car!!!!" I then realized, as he was halfway in, I should drive. So I slammed on the gas. At this point I hear another male behind him yell "Dude, get out of the car!!!". I assume he had at least 1 friend with him. I don't know if there were more. I wasn't looking at him. I was looking at my phone trying to unlock the screen to dial 911. I was looking at my shifter trying to get it in drive to drive away (I had never taken it OUT of drive. It's amazing how you don't think clearly).

I wanted nothing more than for him to fall, stumble, get dragged, and to feel my tire run over him. I was praying for it. Instead he fully got in the car, still calm as could be, and shut the door. Saying "It's ok, It's ok".

At this point, Zeke stopped barking, and the dogs did nothing more as I could remember. 2 german shepherds (one an extremely well bred working line in schutzhund training) and a pit bull in my backseat, 5 feet away, and I couldn't imagine how it would be possible for me to be radiating any more fear, and they did not do a single dam thing to "protect me".

Once he was fully in the car, I slammed on the brakes. I was still trying to dial 911 but was fumbling with the phone. I was screaming over and over, "Get out of the car, I'm dialing 911!!!! Get out I'm calling the cops!!!!" At this point he was, still calmly, just saying. "It's ok. It's ok. Are the dogs ok? Hey, it's fine. Are the dogs fine?"

THAT was when I smelled the alcohol. This guy was wasted out of his mind. I was still terrified, but a little less terrified I was going to be killed. I couldn't get my phone to ring for some reason, so I began rolling down my window because I was just going to start screaming out the window hoping someone would hear me. FINALLY after what seemed like an eternity but was likely only 30 seconds to a minute, he got out of the car.

He wasn't even all the way out when I slammed on the gas and pulled away, not even bothering to shut the door.

I still couldn't get my phone to ring when I realized my audio line was plugged into my headphone jack because I had been listening to my music through the car radio. I called 911, reported him. Called my mother and completely lost it. I was hysterical. It was the scariest moment of my life.

I was so stupid in being so naive and just trying to help. I have only owned my car for a year - before that I owned a mazda for the longest time that had doors that automatically locked when the car was turned on. I've never even thought about the doors on this car being locked or not. And again, 2 german shepherds, I'm fine, right?

I could of easily died, I am convinced. If it HAD of been a setup, and it was a good setup, then the dogs would not of stopped someone. If someone with a gun would of gone to get in my car, they would of easily just shot the dogs and kept on coming. Instead, I was so lucky, it was some stupid drunk kid that didn't know what he was doing. And HE'S so lucky he didn't try to get into a car where someone had a gun. Because he could of easily been shot.
 

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I'm sorry this was so long. I just hope I help some people think. I don't want this to happen to someone else, and they don't get as lucky as me. Your dog will NOT protect you, and your dog likely will not deter someone away. If someone has a gun and has realistic intent to harm you, they'll shoot your dog and keep on coming. I do think a lone female jogger vs. a female jogger with a german shepherd is a little more likely to get attacked, but realistically, just don't ever depend on your dog. And don't become reckless and stupid because you own a big scary dog.

There's still a lot of what ifs in my mind, but I will NEVER EVER believe my dogs would protect me in the future. Berlin is only 16 months old. If he was 3-4 years old, fully mature, would he of acted differently? I dont know, but I doubt it. Zeke has jumped up in the front seat before growling. If Zeke had of been directly behind me instead of blocked by Berlin and the pit bull, would he of done the same this time? Tried to block the kid from getting in? Who knows. If this guy had of actually physically harmed me, would that of caused the dogs to react? Who knows. Although simply by the fact that my obvious fear didn't cause them to react, I doubt it.

I had 2 german shepherds and a pit bull in my back seat, and a strange man in the middle of the night was able to get into my car like it was nothing. Be smart, never trust or depend on your dogs.
 

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Yes they have been well socialized since puppies. However I make it a point to not allow them to be overly socialized - especially with berlin doing schutzhund. I didn't want him to be too social because I didn't want someone like a judge to be a potential distraction on the field. As he was growing I made it a point that he was taken EVERY WHERE and obedience was worked on thoroughly but I limited who could greet him, pet him, play with him, etc. Only members of my club and my coworkers and family are really allowed to play with him and pet him. As much as he would love it i don't let the general public interact with him much.

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Discussion Starter #5
Zeke was a little different, he was raised as only a pet so socialization was encouraged. And he likes attention well enough but usually prefers to just lay by me

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But I don't think lack of socialization would of changed the outcome. Coming from experience with an extremely fear aggressive dog that I had to euthanize because of aggression, I think a fearful dog is much more likely to pick flight over fight. It's all about self preservation in their mind. If an assailant were to actually come after them, start attacking them, they would run. It's why many people are trying to get the stick hits taken out of schutzhund. Too many soft nerved dogs are actually chased not only off the sleeve but off the field because a slight whack with a soft stick is enough to spook them off.

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The pit bull is a very recent rescue that I've been basically "boarding and training" for my aunt. She was kept locked in a trailer. NEVER left the house, never taken on walks, not potty trained, no obedience training. She barks at everybody but is very sweet

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very very scarey experience. I take it you don't have automatic locks on your car doors? Mine do not come out of lock unless in PARK.

This happened to me once, altho it wasn't a stranger. I was parked in a shopping center waiting for my mom to come out of a store..THis guy I knew approached my passenger side. Masi was in the back seat.(full size trailblazer). The passenger window was partially down, he was talking to me as he was approaching, and the fool (He probably didn't see Masi or realize),,opened the door, and started to get in..Masi FLEW over the front seat , at the same time I'm yelling DON"T OPEN THE DOOR! THE DOG IS IN HERE! so I'm yelling, Masi is Flying up on my console into the front, he's backing out, slams the door, and she plowed straight into the door, again going bat crap crazy on him...As soon as I said "leave it"..she turned around and got in the back..

Did not train this, the same guy comes to my house and she's all over him like a long lost friend.

No, I don't take for granted my dog will protect me , and I don't honestly know if she would , it's never been tested. But yes, I do feel 'safer' with her with me out in public but I'm not going to "rely" on it.

I don't stop for strangers, I will gladly call 911 or somewhere if I see something should someone need help, but not gonna stop, Masi would NOT let them in the car..

Sorry this was such a scarey experience, I would have had to change my pants for sure!

Don't stop for strangers, but I guess I don't have to tell you that..
 

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No he will not attack. Most schutzhund dogs will not. He'll "break" and go after a tug or bite sleeve. But he's not attacking a PERSON, he's playing with a toy simply attached to someone's arm. Again though that's my point people become too dependent on their dogs. And even a well bred sport dog is just that, a SPORT dog. I know one dog in our club that is very defensive and serious, he's going after the decoy not the sleeve. Out of 30 or so dogs in my club that is the only dog I feel that would make after good personal protection dog. Every other dog is just in play drive going after a toy

And no it doesn't automatically lock. Like I've said I've never honestly thought about it because I drove a car for a long time that did lock whenever the car was started and you had to manually unlock it. Even then if the doors were not opened within 30 seconds it relocked

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And I don't want to sound mean or attacking people and their dogs. I just don't want people to make dumb mistakes like I did and potentially get hurt. Like I said in the past zeke has jumped up in the front seat and growled at people trying to get in the car. But he has never had to stop an attacker so who knows if he would. This time they did absolutely nothing

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I'm so sorry this happened. Keep in mind your dogs didn't protect you...but you also didn't protect yourself. Please consider a self defense class, it was one of the most valuable not-school-related thing I learned in college. Where I went to school it was mandatory for all females.
It's like Chris Rock says about insurance..."you need some coverage." As in...cover your own ass

Exposures:
-leaving work at 2am: do you have mace/CCW? Is there someone who will know to check for you if you're not home by a certain time?
-stopping the car: don't stop, call 911 and tell them there's a stranded car.
-do your cars door locks auto unlock when you put it on park? Know your car!
-for the love of all that is good and holy lock your home! You've now posted on the internet this info and if there is some shady person out there they can easily locate you by your IP address...unless you're on a VPN.

I'm not saying be paranoid, just step up your game. People do dumb/bad stuff sometimes..don't increase their opportunity to do so


I want to wrap you in bubble wrap to protect you but you have to start protecting yourself. I'm so sorry again
 

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If you want a personal protection dog get a presa canario. Then buy several shovels and put them in every room of your house to protect yourself from said presa canario.
 

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I'm so sorry this happened. Keep in mind your dogs didn't protect you...but you also didn't protect yourself. Please consider a self defense class, it was one of the most valuable not-school-related thing I learned in college. Where I went to school it was mandatory for all females.
It's like Chris Rock says about insurance..."you need some coverage." As in...cover your own ass

Exposures:
-leaving work at 2am: do you have mace/CCW? Is there someone who will know to check for you if you're not home by a certain time?
-stopping the car: don't stop, call 911 and tell them there's a stranded car.
-do your cars door locks auto unlock when you put it on park? Know your car!
-for the love of all that is good and holy lock your home! You've now posted on the internet this info and if there is some shady person out there they can easily locate you by your IP address...unless you're on a VPN.

I'm not saying be paranoid, just step up your game. People do dumb/bad stuff sometimes..don't increase their opportunity to do so


I want to wrap you in bubble wrap to protect you but you have to start protecting yourself. I'm so sorry again
Thank you for the advice. I do have several safety mechanisms. I have done some self defense classes in the past but my room mate and I today both signed up for more.

I always call my mom and text my room mate when I'm leaving work so they do know to expect me to be home within a certain time frame. Mainly because I've had several classmates killed at 2 am driving home after work, hit by drunk drivers.

Since I had that dream a few months ago I really did realize I trust too much on my dogs. I now do a safety walk through my house every day before I leave and every night before bed, and have done it for the last 2 months so it's a pretty set habit now. All windows and doors closed and locked, dog door down and latched, dogs shut in my bedroom with me.

I shoot frequently and have been wanting to get a concealed carry permit because I am out alone with the dogs so much. For in home protection I have the 9 mm in the nightstand and a shotgun by the front door. Again someone comes in I don't want the dogs getting injured going after someone with a gun, I am there to protect myself and them.

Ordered mace for both the car and a mace Keychain today as well. Honestly something I've been wanting to do for a while but I'm such a procrastinator.

I never thought about this new car because I was so use to a car that did automatically lock. Good point, you should always lock your doors every time you get in your car.

As I said before I realize how incredibly STUPID I was. I feel so so stupid. But I only want to share my story to prevent other stupid mistakes.

I've passed numerous cars stranded in the past that I've called 911 to report. I don't know what I was thinking. Again stupid naive security because I had "big bad dogs" in the back, and I only thought to be nice and help someone out. Also because of my work hours I am so comfortable with the night that I forget what kind of people out and how dangerous of a time it can be.

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I really just thought to post this as an example, because how many times do we see new members post "I want to get a german shepherd to protect me/my family". It's just not going to happen.

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You really should never pick up strangers, which I'm sure you know now. The general rule is, call the police and report where the car is, and go on your merry way. I'm someone who carries a gun everyday, and I'd still never think of picking up a stranger on the side of the road, because even if they randomly got into your car when you didn't want them their, you couldn't shoot them, you'd be in jail, even if they got in your car and the dogs did bite, they could argue you stopped, and that means get in, and then your dogs randomly bit.

I just say this because there is no good scenario for stopping for a stranger, let the police do it, that's why you pay taxes.

Maybe invest in a sidearm, or a high grade taser, when in doubt, go less-lethal


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You really should never pick up strangers, which I'm sure you know now. The general rule is, call the police and report where the car is, and go on your merry way. I'm someone who carries a gun everyday, and I'd still never think of picking up a stranger on the side of the road, because even if they randomly got into your car when you didn't want them their, you couldn't shoot them, you'd be in jail, even if they got in your car and the dogs did bite, they could argue you stopped, and that means get in, and then your dogs randomly bit.

I just say this because there is no good scenario for stopping for a stranger, let the police do it, that's why you pay taxes.

Maybe invest in a sidearm, or a high grade taser, when in doubt, go less-lethal


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As I said I know this, and have numerous side arms. I was very stupid and very lucky. It's a scenario I've encountered numerous times before where I have called dispatch and kept on driving.

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If it's any consolation, I think the stop-block-the-lane-and-pretend-to-have-car-trouble technique is a "thing" for bad guys late at night when few cars are around. They do it just because they know good samaritans will want to help.

Someone did it on a residential street in my neighborhood a few months ago (car stopped, flashers on)--blocking the one-way street late at night, so there was no way around this car. A resident of the neighborhood rolled up behind, wondering whether to see if they needed help, but before a decision was made, a guy jumped out of the "disabled" car brandishing a pistol. The resident slammed the car into reverse and took off, safely escaping. This is a good neighborhood that had apparently been "targeted" by bad guys.
 

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If it's any consolation, I think the stop-block-the-lane-and-pretend-to-have-car-trouble technique is a "thing" for bad guys late at night when few cars are around. They do it just because they know good samaritans will want to help.

Someone did it on a residential street in my neighborhood a few months ago (car stopped, flashers on)--blocking the one-way street late at night, so there was no way around this car. A resident of the neighborhood rolled up behind, wondering whether to see if they needed help, but before a decision was made, a guy jumped out of the "disabled" car brandishing a pistol. The resident slammed the car into reverse and took off, safely escaping. This is a good neighborhood that had apparently been "targeted" by bad guys.
Yes it definitely seemed like it would be the perfect setup. They were stopped in the middle of the turn lane right before the offramp.

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also if it's any consolation,,if a 'drunk' jumped in my car, Masi would probably be all over them like a wet noodle, she is VERY attracted to the smell of booze on one's breath,,NO idea WHY? LOL we don't drink,,so in your situation, masi would have most likely licked him to death tho I don't plan on testing that..

This IS a good lesson for others to "think" on what you would do / could or could not happen in a situation like this
 
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