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Discussion Starter #1
Looking for suggested books, articles, videos, and trainers (in NE Texas), that may be able to shine some light on how to properly train a dog into becoming a protective one (on command only, of course).

We have a 10.5mo. GSD x Belgian Malinois female that we would like to do extensive guard-dog training with.

Insight, please!

TIA.
 

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It helps to define exactly what you mean by "guard dog". Are you talking about a property guardian? Are you talking about a personal protection dog? Or are you talking about a bite sport dog? The three are quite different, and not exactly interchangeable.

A property guardian dog works pretty much on their own in an enclosed area, and will go after anyone who gets inside their area.

A personal protection dog is trained to go after anyone who tries to accost you.

A bitesport dog is just that, one who is trained to participate in one or more of the various bitesports, such as IPO, French Ring, Mondio Ring or PSA.

Finding a good trainer for the first two is difficult. Finding a good bitesport club isn't nearly as hard, and there are several clubs in Texas. All three of them can play hell with your homeowners insurance, though.
 

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First, remember that a large percentage of purpose bred personal protection and law enforcement type working dogs "wash out" before ever getting on the job so to speak.

Second, check if you can even afford the insurance. Heck, homeowners insurance is hard enough to find with any ol' blocky headed short haired stocky dog but PPDs are specifically called out even by insurers that do not breed discriminate.

Third, consider if you have any need to board the dog in the future or to have a dog sitter in the home. PPDs are often excluded from these services due to insurance/liability.

Lastly, personally I would go watch a bunch of trainers in person. The more you see, the more of a feel you get.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
It helps to define exactly what you mean by "guard dog". Are you talking about a property guardian? Are you talking about a personal protection dog? Or are you talking about a bite sport dog? The three are quite different, and not exactly interchangeable.

A property guardian dog works pretty much on their own in an enclosed area, and will go after anyone who gets inside their area.

A personal protection dog is trained to go after anyone who tries to accost you.

A bitesport dog is just that, one who is trained to participate in one or more of the various bitesports, such as IPO, French Ring, Mondio Ring or PSA.

Finding a good trainer for the first two is difficult. Finding a good bitesport club isn't nearly as hard, and there are several clubs in Texas. All three of them can play hell with your homeowners insurance, though.
Personal (and property), protection dog for sure.
I believe somewhere in the future the hubby would like to enter her into local events for the heck of it (if that is even a possibility), but she won't be joining a "force" of any kind.
She is just an extremely smart pup for her age and is a working breed, so it would be lovely to have her attentive, obedient, and responsive in a task or "sport" if you will, that is tuned to her breeding.

We have a family full of children and other animals, including livestock, and it would be great to have a dog that we know will keep it all safe.
 

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First, remember that a large percentage of purpose bred personal protection and law enforcement type working dogs "wash out" before ever getting on the job so to speak.

Second, check if you can even afford the insurance. Heck, homeowners insurance is hard enough to find with any ol' blocky headed short haired stocky dog but PPDs are specifically called out even by insurers that do not breed discriminate.

Third, consider if you have any need to board the dog in the future or to have a dog sitter in the home. PPDs are often excluded from these services due to insurance/liability.

Lastly, personally I would go watch a bunch of trainers in person. The more you see, the more of a feel you get.
Luckily, the cost of insurance isn't too much of an issue...

And fortunately enough, I am a manager at a dog training facility (I have just never personally trained a protection dog before and not about to pretend I know how), so boarding is a non-issue (-:

I wonder where I could go to watch trainers specifically for this type of obedience? We don't do anything like that at my facility (we have a trainer that does that kind of work off-site only, but lives exceedingly far from me), so perhaps I just need to Google for dog events in the area ...
 

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The thing is what you're looking for are very different ventures, and not interchangeable.

If you're wanting to get into bite sports, the people that do them will tell you that it takes over your life. Training every weekend for full days, full stop. These are not really things that you dabble in every now and then for fun, like other sports can be.

If you're just looking for something for your dog to do that involves the brain- why not regular competition obedience, rally, or agility?
 

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Luckily, the cost of insurance isn't too much of an issue...

And fortunately enough, I am a manager at a dog training facility (I have just never personally trained a protection dog before and not about to pretend I know how), so boarding is a non-issue (-:

I wonder where I could go to watch trainers specifically for this type of obedience? We don't do anything like that at my facility (we have a trainer that does that kind of work off-site only, but lives exceedingly far from me), so perhaps I just need to Google for dog events in the area ...
Excellent that you have your own facility.. you can always see about bringing in Guest speakers for Seminars or workshops of any subject. Contact people all over the country majority of them travel to do speaking engagements, or workshops. You might find one that is near enough that putting you on their schedule is on their way to their next location for them to stop at your location, you sell tickets for people to attend to cover the cost of their engagement fees. I've traveled all over my state to attend other training facilities events. Most people who do SAR drive hours to participate in training and work shops by the best of trainers. I was willing to drive 3 hours one way when I applied to be accepted for a working club.
 

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Well, you see ... the hubby has his heart set on teaching this dog protection, either for the kids, the livestock, the property, etc. Regardless, since changing his mind is basically a mute point, I would prefer he go about it in the most responsible fashion possible. So, I am just looking for information (-:

I would love to work her agility or more advanced obedience, but again, she isn't technically my dog and the hubby isn't interested in any of that.
 

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I agree that sports seem more the appropriate direction to take compared to protection (personal protection and livestock protection are very different things for example), if he is bound and determined than I think an important trait in a trainer is the willingness to tell an owner if their dog is not suited to being a PPD. Not a trainer who will happily take someone's money and train protection work in a dog not mentally and physically cut out for it. That creates dangerous dogs.
 

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I agree that sports seem more the appropriate direction to take compared to protection (personal protection and livestock protection are very different things for example), if he is bound and determined than I think an important trait in a trainer is the willingness to tell an owner if their dog is not suited to being a PPD. Not a trainer who will happily take someone's money and train protection work in a dog not mentally and physically cut out for it. That creates dangerous dogs.
Totally with ya on that one!

I suggested to him that we check out a few shows, trails, etc. first and see what he thinks. He seemed okay with it.
 

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Excellent that you have your own facility.. you can always see about bringing in Guest speakers for Seminars or workshops of any subject. Contact people all over the country majority of them travel to do speaking engagements, or workshops. You might find one that is near enough that putting you on their schedule is on their way to their next location for them to stop at your location, you sell tickets for people to attend to cover the cost of their engagement fees. I've traveled all over my state to attend other training facilities events. Most people who do SAR drive hours to participate in training and work shops by the best of trainers. I was willing to drive 3 hours one way when I applied to be accepted for a working club.
Are you saying to have a trainer who specifically turns out PPD to come and speak at the facility?
 

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Again though, those trials are going to be for IPO or bite sports, not for a personal protection dog (A dog who will protect you against a threat) or a property guardian dog. Each of those three things are different and require different training and are not necessarily compatible with each other.

It sounds like you're talking about bite sports but then you go and say you want to teach it protection for the kids and that isn't the same thing. And all of these three are full time training commitments, not things you dabble in every so often.

You (or he) need to figure out what you're actually wanting and go from there.
 

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I would love to work her agility or more advanced obedience, but again, she isn't technically my dog and the hubby isn't interested in any of that.
Aside from the livestock protection aspect (which is mostly an inherent behavioral trait in LGD breeds such as Pyr's), in my opinion your husband and his dog are going to need advanced obedience training as a basic foundation for further advancement. I would start there, CD level and perhaps CDX if it were me.

I'm curious what type / level of training this pup has achieved so far.
 

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Well, you see ... the hubby has his heart set on teaching this dog protection, either for the kids, the livestock, the property, etc. Regardless, since changing his mind is basically a mute point, I would prefer he go about it in the most responsible fashion possible. So, I am just looking for information (-:

I would love to work her agility or more advanced obedience, but again, she isn't technically my dog and the hubby isn't interested in any of that.
I think you and your husband need to do a lot of research into the training requirements and legal ramifications of owning a dog who is trained in any of these things. I don't think you and your husband even understand what you're asking.

Going by these definitions:

A property guardian dog works pretty much on their own in an enclosed area, and will go after anyone who gets inside their area.

A personal protection dog is trained to go after anyone who tries to accost you.

A bitesport dog is just that, one who is trained to participate in one or more of the various bitesports, such as IPO, French Ring, Mondio Ring or PSA
If you want a property guardian dog, get an LGD, or in other words, a breed that is hardwired to guard property and livestock.

I personally don't think that the average citizen needs to own a dog who is trained in personal protection. What specifically do you need protection from? Honestly, if anyone actually wants to hurt you or your family, they're going to stab, shoot or otherwise go right through your large dog. It's better to teach your children proper safety when they're outside, and to be prepared to protect your home in case there's an intruder than it is to rely on your dog to do these things for you. A dog should be the LAST line of defense, not the first.

I find that most people who want to own a dog trained in protection just want to do it for the machismo or the 'bad ass' reputation that comes along with it. Which is silly. And dangerous. And not worth it.

If you want to do bite sports, great. There's a much larger community that will help support you, and your dog's breeds are at least generally suited for this type of work.

Keep in mind that most dogs wash out of this type of training. Dogs who succeed are generally from long lines of dogs who are purpose-bred to do this type of work. They are also generally trained for many hours a day, every day. Protection training isn't something that you dabble in occasionally for kicks and giggles. It's a lifestyle. And if your husband, you and your children aren't fully prepared to commit to that lifestyle, it's a mistake to attempt that type of training with your dog.
 

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If he wants to seriously pursue bite sports, then yes, it's pretty much a lifestyle commitment. He'd also need to decide which sport to focus on. While to a certain extent all bite sports are similar, each one has slightly different requirements. A dog trained for Ring is allowed to bite pretty much anywhere (arms and legs are both fair game) whereas an IPO dog is expected to only go for the arms. IPO also has a tracking component, that isn't expected in other organizations. All of them require obedience. I do have friends who "dabble" in bite sport, but they go into it as simply something to do with their dog, and no expectation of being truly proficient.

That said, a bite sport dog doesn't necessarily make a good PP dog. Personally, unless you and/or your kids are at a high risk of kidnapping, etc., I'd not even consider a PP dog.

There are lots of sports out there though, including obedience, rally, and tracking, agility and nosework. If he wanted to do something herding style, look into trieball, aka "herding with no livestock".
 

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There has already been discussion above about the washout rate of personal protection dogs. When I was actively engaged in protection sports as well as police service dogs the wash out rate was in the neighborhood of 95%. Considering that many dogs were from select Breedings thought to produce the " perfect dog" it's pretty discouraging. Often the first basic test was enough to disqualify a dog. Occasionally these were retested a year or so later and again failed so it wasn't as if the test was incorrect or the dog wasn't a good dog, they just were not able to handle the training. These dogs have to have the genetic background and the proper training to be successful.

Training is not for the beginner. When I was started I not ever to work young dogs only trained and experienced dogs. It was really hard to properly " catch" or take a hit from 90-100 pound dogs. I was instructed actually pretty carefully. Macho (macha..female) was absolutely forbidden. Each " catch" was critiqued and not gently. A mistake or wrong move was sharply criticized. A lap around to training field in protection gear in 90 deg weather wasn't fun. You learned very quickly. Misreading what a dog presented was treated something like the old school days of the " dunce in the corner" except in front of the other trainers and handlers. It forced extreme concentration on what was going on and not some party game.

To try and learn this on your own by watching videos is plan and simply laughable. Harsh? Yes it is meant to be. I ask this question, would you allow an alien being who can only vaguely understand hand signals or voice signals that cannot speak or understand your language, play with and guard your kids with loaded, cocked guns both hands?

Also already noted is a lifelong commitment to training several times a week throughout the dog's life. You could purchase a trained dog....about five figures. Even they required review training and practice.

Since you manage a training center how about inviting a protection sport club to train at your facility? In return for helping you select and evaluate and train your dog. Possibly they would teach you protection training and the required obedience training that goes with it. You don't have to enter the sport but all of the training does have street value. Most of these dogs will protect on command and are very gentle around people. Once again the fallout is very high.
 

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Here is a video you need to watch. He has three videos so you might want to search him further. He talks about exactly what I was taught over 25 years ago about protection dogs.

Watch and learn.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=3uhJfdFuC2I
 

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Is he actually into training the dog now? Did he do basic Obedience with her or were you the one doing most of the work?
Maybe he'll get bored with it or not motivated to practice enough and quit? ;)
I commend you for wanting to give her a job, but you'll have to find the right job for her.
This could have very serious consequences if gone about in the wrong way. Do your research and as someone mentioned, visit some places or events. I would Not recommend doing this on your own (him or you). Even though you train dogs, this is a whole other ballgame.
Good luck & best wishes to you.
 

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So I have an almost 3 year old bull dog (hard to believe she'll be 3 in a couple of weeks!) - I had a similar mindset when she was a pup. "She's SO smart!" "She needs a job!" So naturally, I started researching which jobs would suit her best based on her breed and personality. IPO and other bite work is huge in my breed. When I started researching things like IPO, etc. I discovered exactly what everyone is saying above. A trained protection dog is more often a liability rather than an asset. And training a dog in protection "for fun" isn't really giving the dog a job when those skills are never actually put to use. For dogs like ours, where "guarding" and "protection" really come naturally, training in obedience is the best way (IMO) to mentally and physically stimulate the dog, while also not squashing their genetic tendencies.

I'm very happy that the people here on this forum are so knowledgeable and were honest enough to tell me about the downsides of training in any sort of formal protection work before I went off half-cocked into that world. We have moved through advanced obedience, and she's a fantastic dog with a natural protectiveness that I don't have to train or manage, really. She understands boundaries, and pity the fool who tries to open the car door while she's in there - or the strange dog who comes onto our property. Just yesterday a large brown lab showed up at our house (I live on 20 acres in a rural setting) and she just stood her ground and barked him away. I didn't teach her that, she just automatically knew what to do. When I told her to "leave it" and come back to me, she ceased her barking and did just that. So. As I see it, obedience training really serves to support and enhance their natural instincts. I have come to believe that the only reason anyone should train their dog in IPO or other bite sports is if that is going to be the dog's *PRIMARY* function, which is going to require full time dedication above and beyond a 40 hour per week job. These dogs are not pets in the standard sense of the word. If I were you, I'd encourage your husband to focus on going through obedience levels, forgetting the protection training, and perhaps pursuing the CGC, and/or other things like agility. Since you are active in a training facility, I'm sure you're exposed to all the different paths to keeping your super smart dog happy and stimulated.
 
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