Post # 1
I have a friend that currently owns a 50 pound husky mix. The dog is very friendly and very energetic. She recently moved in with her fiance who owns a home with a fenced in back yard. The dog seems happy to have a yard to run in and likes the space a house gives him (they were living in an apartment before). I think she is a good dog owner, however I am concerned about her getting a second dog. She told me she wants to get a second dog primarily for protection. Her fiance has started working night shifts, and she doesn’t feel safe alone in their home at night. The dog she has now will bark if someone comes in the house, but she doesn’t think he would attack an intruder. She calls the dog wimpy and says he needs a big brother to show him what to do. She and her fiance want to get a german shepherd or a similar large dog breed that they can train to protect her. She said she basically wants the dog to attack if anyone tries to come in their home.
The reason I’m against this is because I don’t think that’s the right reason to get a dog. How does she know a new dog will act more ferocious than her current dog? If he is “wimpy” as well, will they give it away? Also, if he is mean and attacks people, won’t that make it hard for them to entertain and have house guests? Currently, they enjoy hosting game nights or having friends over for a cookout. I also don’t think a dog is the best protection option. Why not get an alarm system if she’s scared at night? What do you bee’s think of this situation? Should I say something to her?
Post # 3
- Wedding: October 2011 - Bed & Breakfast
I think your concerns are a bit unfounded. If she goes through a reputable breeder, the breeder will select a pup that has the qualities she is looking for. So there would be no need to return the dog because it was not trainable for protection. And training is the key. Dogs trained for protection purposes are very loveable. They are not just randomly attacking anyone who walks through the door. Rather, the dog would be trained to adhere to its owner’s command, and only attack when commanded to do so.
Post # 4
If she goes about it the right away with a very reputable breeder I think it would be okay. If she’s going to get a german shepherd I would look for someone heavily involved in schutzhund training. I think she also needs to realize that training a guard dog is LOT of work. The dog has to have the temperament to be willing to attack someone, while still being able to be a regular house dog. Not every dog fits this bill. She also needs to be able to control this dog herself if say, the cable guy comes over. If she thinks she can just go buy any dog of a certain breed and expect it to be a guard dog, I think that’s just going to end in disaster.
Post # 5
I agree with the PPs that if they go about this properly, they’ll be fine. But it will take extensive training. That said, when not told to attack, a gaurd dog can be just and friendly and docile as any other pet.
Post # 6
@Westwood: This is what I’m worried about. She didn’t do any formal training with her current dog and he is a ball of energy! He jumps on tables, humps guests, etc. I can’t imagine them paying a high price for a puppy from a reputable breeder or paying for a trainer. They are wanting to start a family in a few years, so they need to have well behaved dogs.
Post # 7
I’m with you OP. I’m not a fan of getting a dog specifically for protection, especially when she hasn’t trained her current dog! You should definately mention the amount of training needed for guard dog to her. And I agree that training a dog specifically to attack is a really bad idea! What happens when they have kids and the kids accidently startle the dog?!
It might be better to find a second dog that fits with their current family but shows more protective tendencies then the husky. Some dogs don’t make guard dogs regardless of breed. We joked that the dog I had growing up would only bark at intruders if they didn’t pet her. But I think dogs that are protective of their family will be more likely to defend the family.
One other note: we had a security lunch at my workplace where an officer said the best deterant to burglers is a barking dog, regardless of whether they are all bark and no bite. And if he already barks and is 50-lbs, it may be all they need.
Post # 8
I know a man that trains protection dogs. Unless the dog has the proper temperment for protection and is TRAINED for protection, it’s stupid to think the dog will protect when needed.
Most dogs will either hide or try to lick an intruder to death. And the average pet owner does not have enough experience with dogs and training to keep a protection dog.
If she wants “protection”, tell her to get an alarm system and a gun (and take a training course so she knows how to properly use the gun!).
Post # 9
I’m with Abbyful on this one. The idea that an untrained dog will actually defend you is a very “Disney” notion. Sure, a few will, but most won’t, (even the so-called “aggressive breeds”).
Personal Protection (PP) and Shutzhund both require a dog with an incredibly stable temperment, and the willingness/drive to work. Throwing just any dog into that kind of training can backfire. Not to mention that the training requires a HUGE time commitment. I would love, love, love to train a GSD for Shutzhund, but I don’t feel like I would have the time to do so properly since Darling Husband and I are TTC and will hopefully have a little one soon.
There is an episode of “It’s Me or the Dog” where the man is interested in training his dog for PP, (a dog that is already out of control, mind you). Victoria takes him to a place that trains dogs for this, and shows them how much of a huge time commitment it is. If you do it half-assed, you could end up with a very dangerous animal. They realize that they really don’t have what it takes to train an animal to that extent. Maybe see if you can the episode somewhere and show it to your friend.
Post # 10
You’re right on track. Unless the dog is TRAINED in bitework, you don’t want your dog biting.How is a dog supposed to know ‘grandma’ from ‘THIEF’? An aggressive dog is just an aggressive dog, not a PP one.
Post # 11
I speak my mind, I am very kind, but I tell people what my opinions are, in a tactful way. If you have concerns, I think it is okay to ask her about them.
About the actual situation- if I wanted a dog for protection (if we lived in the country or something and I was alone at night) I would probably get a BIG DOG- like a giant Great Dane. I would never train it to attack people. Any dog that I have ever had has natural instincts – when anyone comes to the door they FREAK OUT. I have actually trained them to never ever make a peep- except when there is a stranger at the door or someone suspicious outside. They know when it is someone “okay” and they also listen when I tell them “quiet” if I think it is okay. I would never train a dog to actually attack people. What if it bites the mail carrier or a neighbor, or (heaven forbid) a wild running child? If a dog IS going to be trained to attack, it should be ON COMMAND and it takes special guided training (as in- you should take a well respected course!)- in these courses the dog is trained to attack on command, not “at will.”
ETA: What I meant was that I would get a dog that LOOKS scary, but would never want my dog to actually be aggressive- IF I was afraid at night (you see a giant Great Dane and it can put fear in you) but I would only ever want (it to be) a sweet non-agressive dog. Beyond that, you need to have special training for you and the dog to protect ON COMMAND.
Post # 12
Totally with the opinion of NOT having untrained people getting dogs for protection. That is a great way to end up with a bitten kid or harmless stranger. It is a HUGE investment to get a properly trained protection dog and most people really aren’t prepared for that. If you are close to them I would suggest kindly that maybe getting the other dog when they already have a large, untrained dog might not be the best idea.
Post # 13
Any intruder will just shoot a dog.
Post # 14
Thanks for all your responses! I’ll have to let her know how much time and money is involved in training a protection dog properly. Hopefully, she’ll make the right decision.
Post # 15
@justelope: Exactly. My house got broken in to and the police said that an intruder would likely shoot or pepper spray a dog. Even if the dog is highly, professionally trained, they would just shoot it.
Post # 16
The dog she wants is not a protection dog, it’s a liability.
I understand wanting to have a large dog around, I live in the middle of nowhere and I feel exponentially safer with my Great Dane in the house. *I* know she would never hurt anyone, but when visitors see a dog that stands almost 3 feet tall with her hair on end, growling a deep throaty growl, chances are they’re going to second guess coming into my home uninvited.
If she wants a protection dog, she needs to get a well trained one and keep up on it’s training. Otherwise she’s potentially going to get a dog that’s unpredictable and a huge liability.