Puppy Forum and Dog Forums banner

1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

My wife and I are planning on buying a puppy when I get back from Iraq. Currently in the household is myself and my wife, along with two cats and a child who will be 7 when I return.

I'm looking for a dog that is a loving and gentle companion, but is also a dedicated and furotious protector. We live in a military town that has a fairly high crime rate. We're in the process of buying a house and my wife is always looking up crime statistics for every neighborhood. The military requires that I'm gone quite a bit and it will be nice to have protection in the home while I'm gone, as well as someone that can look after them if they decide to go to the park.

My first choice was to buy a Rottweiler, but my wife has heard too many stories about them "turning" on family members. I've always believed that wouldn't happen unless they're mistreated. The only Rots I've met loved attention, were loving and very protective of their owners.. particularly female family members. We're a family that would never abuse animals, so is there any risk to buying a Rottweiler?

So now I'm considering a German Shepherd.

Do any of you have any suggestions or opinions on the two choices I've mentioned? Also, is the gender of the dog an important factor? I'm admittedly "dog ignorant" but my thinking is a male dog will tend to be more protective of female owners.

Thanks for any suggestions.

Edit: We're going to have a large back yard and we'll be able to provide plenty of exorcise for the dog.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,966 Posts
My first thought was that you are going to have to be really careful about the breeders you go to. Both the Rottie and GSD are very popular breeds and there are a lot of people out there trying to breed for money with no clue what they're really doing. What you end up with is a lot of Rotties and GSDs with very unsound temperament. Make sure you go to a good breeder, so that your dog is free of hereditary diseases and temperament issues. Socialisation from an early age is also key.

http://www.wonderpuppy.net/1breeding.php has a ton of useful information on how to pick a good breeder. I think Inga and Xeph (who are our resident Rottie and GSD experts, respectively) will be able to help you with finding a breeder in your area.

As long as you do that, you have nothing to worry about with either a Rottie or a GSD. Both make excellent dogs, wonderful companions, very solid when raised right with the proper amount of time and commitment they deserve. They are very high-drive dogs and need to be kept occupied and well-exercised in order to avoid becoming bored...boredom often results in them trying to amuse themselves (ie digging, barking, escaping, chewing). Exercise to a GSD or Rottie means at least an hour of walking twice a day... some will need more than that, especially in their prime years. Be sure that your wife can provide that.

I would also caution you not to rely on your dog for protection... YOU protect your dog, not the other way around. Just the sight of a Rottie or a GSD is enough to deter most criminals from trying anything funny, but if some idiot actually does attempt to break in or harm your family, you should never expect your dog to recognise or attack him unless it has been professionally trained in protection work or schutzhund. I cannot stress this enough. Get some sturdy locks, an alarm system, get a gun if you absolutely have to. Do not depend on your dog as a primary source of protection... firstly, for your dog's safety, but also because no dog that has not been professionally trained for the job is reliable enough. I know about 10 GSDs and Dobermans and out of those 10 dogs, I know 7 would turn tail and run if they were suddenly placed in a threatening situation. Not all dogs are instinctively protective. If someone breaks into your house, your dog MAY attack him... he may also just stand there barking while your wife tries to fend the baddie off, or he may run behind the couch. Unless you have professionally trained him to be a protection dog, there is no way to tell. Don't rely on your dog to defend you unless you have professionally trained him to do so.

Sorry for that spiel... one last note on the gender of the dog. No, actually male dogs tend to be a bit more goofy and, you know, "every stranger is a friend". I have no experience with male dogs but I have heard that they are a little more attention-seeking and velcro. Females are quite literally bitchier and tend to be slightly more reserved and aloof. (Though looking at my girls, you would never know...*rolls eyes*)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,072 Posts
I would actually recommend avoiding both Rotts and GSDs because of the ban on them in base housing and your potential to need that at SOME point during your career, even if it's only temporary.

Since your wife is going to be the primary caretaker, and it sounds like she's uncomfortable with Rotties, I'd recommend that you keep looking and give her final veto power. A backyard and exercise are nice (and exercise is a necessity) but even more important is training.

Dogs can have several reasons for 'protective' behavior. The best is when they are actually protection trained. Responsible owners of protection dogs train ot a level that the dog does NOT get to make the decision to bite a human on his own- ever. He's told when to, and without that ocmmand, he won't do it. Irresponsible 'protection' dog owners (and I put that in quotes because most of the irresponsible folks play at working dog trials and 'protection' trials and/or sell 'guardian' dogs without any real responsibility for the damage they are doing- it's like putting a loaded gun in the hands of a toddler.) There are dogs doing schutzhund and other bitework sports (mondio, FR, etc) that work entirely in prey drive and are just having a blast killing the SLEEVE and might or might not actually be protective when push comes to shove. Last- and these are unfortunately the most common- are dogs with bad temperaments or no training which are allowed to act aggressively in the name of 'being protective'. These dogs are typically either fearful ("you're making me nervous/my mom is acting nervous, so I'm going to growl and snarl in hopes of scaring you away"- the only plus to this type of dog is that they generally will NOT bite unless they feel cornered) or resource guarders ("my mom is MY toy/food/treat dispenser and you don't get access to her.") These are the ones you want to watch out for.

Unless you (AND your wife) are seriously committed to being responsible protection dog owners, I'd recommend you just look at large breeds that come in black and find one that fits your needs in every other way. Nearly ALL dogs will bark at an intruder. (And it's actually very easy to put 'bark-and-bounce-in-place' on a cue - this can be scary from a big dog, without actually being ANYTHING aggressive :p).

So, other than 'protective', what are you looking for in a dog? Energy level? Type of personality? How much dog experience do you have? What type (and how much time) do you plan to do, training-wise?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the relpies, guys.

I'm not looking for a professional protector (I'm in Iraq and we have bomb sniffers and protectors here). First and foremost it will be a family dog. But I also wanted one that would have a natural instict to protect my wife or daughter if they were ever attacked. If someone breaks into my empty home, truth be told I'd rather he steal my stuff than put my dog at risk trying to fend him off. But I also believe as long as the dog barks that's an unlikely scenario.

So basically I'm looking for a full sized dog who's intelligent, loving and a natural protector. I also want one who will be patient with my daughter always wanting to play and one that loves attention. One that is easy to train is also a plus, because we're both going to be new dog owners.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,851 Posts
Dogs are not to be considered reliable protection unless they have been trained for that work. Whether you are prepared for the commitment in money and time, that such ownership requires, is another question.

Most miscreants want no part of any protective dog, and will avoid them. A small percentage of drug addled psychos will not be deterred by any dog. For that type, you want a handgun in a caliber that begins with "4", or a short barreled shotgun. Any alert dog can be trained to act as your early warning system (and without the liabilities involved in owning a protection dog).

If a trained personal protection dog is the thing, consider some medium sized breeds that are generally off the radar of breed ban ordinances and base housing bans. A properly selected and trained Standard Schnauzer, Kerry Blue Terrier, or Decker Terrier can give a good account of himself in CQC. They fight way above their weight class.

Semper Fi.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,966 Posts
Dogstar and MM brought up good points about housing regulations. There is no such thing here so it slipped my mind to mention it. Many people have difficulty finding housing or getting insurance when they own breeds for a reputation for being dangerous (ranging from Pit Bulls to Dobermans, and certainly GSDs and Rotties). You definitely want to look into that -- ask the relevant authorities before you decide on a breed.

I would go so far as to say that ALL dogs of ANY breed can be trained to bark when they hear someone approaching (save those that are physically unable to bark). If this is sufficient for you, then your options are much wider and you will have to start looking into other criteria like grooming requirements, exercise needs, temperament, trainability, specific activities... I would not rely on the "protective instinct" of any dog, be it a toy breed or a livestock guardian dog. A dog is trained to protect or it is not. In the former case it is reliable, in the latter it is not.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,323 Posts
There have been numerous threads on the subject. The bottom line is that the dog is really more of an early warning system than a defense mechanism. You want a dog that will make a lot of noise BEFORE anyone gets into the house. A barking dog will deter most burglers. It's much easier to break into the quiet house next door.

Big black dogs tend to have a deterent effect just because of their looks.

For your other requirements: good, smart pet, a kid in the home, I would recommend a lab (black if you want) or a smooth collie (especially tri colored). Both of these are good barkers if people come near, protective (although not aggressive) of kids, and smart.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
257 Posts
Doberman.
Don't listen to all the stories about their dog turning on them.
Do a lot of research on the breed you want.

P.S. thank you for serving the country.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
I would suggest a Husky, they are excellent with kids, very protective and loyal and they are kind of that stealth scary dog. I am female living alone and I felt very safe with Tensing in the house and when he passed in December 08 I had another Male husky back in the house by Mid January for that reason.

May I also say please go to Petfinder.com and find a rescue, because if you look you can find just about any age dog on it and you will be saving a life and saving in your wallet.

Please stay safe until you get home. Thank you for serving your country!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,072 Posts
Huskies absolutely should NOT be protective. It's entirely foreign to correct breed temperament.

I would suggest a Husky, they are excellent with kids, very protective and loyal and they are kind of that stealth scary dog. I am female living alone and I felt very safe with Tensing in the house and when he passed in December 08 I had another Male husky back in the house by Mid January for that reason.

May I also say please go to Petfinder.com and find a rescue, because if you look you can find just about any age dog on it and you will be saving a life and saving in your wallet.

Please stay safe until you get home. Thank you for serving your country!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for all the feedback. I think the biggest thing I learned is that no dog is considered reliable protection unless it's trained for such. It's just hard for me to imagine certain breeds, like Rotties standing by while one of their family members are attacked. I guess it's a matter of they (might) protect the owner but you never know?

I have kind of a harsh story that involves protection dogs. There was military person here (I won't say what branch) who was a dog handler. He shot himself in his room and later died from his wound. After surrounding people heard the shot they ran in and tried to get to him. The dog wouldn't let anybody near him. Fearing they would shoot the dog (you would kind of have to) another dog handler put the dog in the cage himself-- allowing himself to be bitten. His arm was pretty bad as he had it in a sling after he went to the aid station.

I was actually worried they would put the dog down after it had bitten, but the handler said, "Nope. The dog was doing what it was trained to do" I was happy to hear that.

But it brings up a bit of a point. Shouldn't the dogs (or can they be) trained to allow "friendlies" to approach its wounded handler?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,534 Posts
GSD, Rottie and Dobes are all good family dogs, they all need to start training as soon as the puppy shots are done. All are intelligent breeds and have a good gaudian instinct.

You ARE going to need to be VERY choosy about your breeder, I'd look up the local breed club and get in contact with the breeders THEY reccomend, DO NOT get a pup from a pet store or newpaper/craiglist breeder. You need to get a dog that has parents of PROVEN tempement, conformation and working ability that are HEALTH TESTED with certs through OFA, and CERF as clear of joint, heart, thyroid and eye problems as well as Von Willibrands if you choose Rotties or Dobes.

Read this CAREFULLY Finding a good dog breeder

It's hard fora dog to determine who's friendly and who isn't, most gaurdian trained dogs look to their owners for guidance on who is and isn't allowed to approach. The owner/handler is the leader.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
257 Posts
I would suggest a Husky, they are excellent with kids, very protective and loyal and they are kind of that stealth scary dog. I am female living alone and I felt very safe with Tensing in the house and when he passed in December 08 I had another Male husky back in the house by Mid January for that reason.
May I also say please go to Petfinder.com and find a rescue, because if you look you can find just about any age dog on it and you will be saving a life and saving in your wallet.
Please stay safe until you get home. Thank you for serving your country!
I would have to disagree with you.
Siberian Husky do make wonderful pets, but worst guard dog ever.
And also they aren't loyal at all...
Huskies aren't for protection.
You might have a husky mix with a gsd or something.
Maybe that might be the reason.
They will show the thief where is the money. :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,966 Posts
Thanks for all the feedback. I think the biggest thing I learned is that no dog is considered reliable protection unless it's trained for such. It's just hard for me to imagine certain breeds, like Rotties standing by while one of their family members are attacked. I guess it's a matter of they (might) protect the owner but you never know?
Yeah, definitely. It's hard to imagine a Rottie standing by while their owners are attacked... it's also hard to imagine a Golden Retriever snarling viciously and attacking another dog. But both happen. Often. It's all got to do with breed reputation. I'm not saying there's no such thing as predisposed instinct... but instinct is a funny thing. Sometimes it's there in huge doses, sometimes it's barely there at all. Whichever one it is, when it comes to lives on the line, you can't count on the probability.

I have kind of a harsh story that involves protection dogs. There was military person here (I won't say what branch) who was a dog handler. He shot himself in his room and later died from his wound. After surrounding people heard the shot they ran in and tried to get to him. The dog wouldn't let anybody near him. Fearing they would shoot the dog (you would kind of have to) another dog handler put the dog in the cage himself-- allowing himself to be bitten. His arm was pretty bad as he had it in a sling after he went to the aid station.

I was actually worried they would put the dog down after it had bitten, but the handler said, "Nope. The dog was doing what it was trained to do" I was happy to hear that.

But it brings up a bit of a point. Shouldn't the dogs (or can they be) trained to allow "friendlies" to approach its wounded handler?
There are a lot of variables in the case you mentioned... how the dog was trained, especially. I'm more inclined to believe that the dog was highly confused. I can't see suicide making any sense at all to a dog. The confusion may have led to severely defensive or fearful behaviour... trained protection dogs take their jobs very seriously.

As for your question, protection dogs take direction from their handlers. They do not randomly attack when they sense danger is present. The onus is on the OWNER to decide what is dangerous and what is not... leaving that decision up to the dog is a big mistake and can lead to horrible accidents (little kid climbs into your yard to retrieve a ball, guest comes over unexpectedly, etc). I don't know that much about protection work but I do know that. I would expect that handlers would have a similar "relax, it's okay" cue.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
I am just guessing but that dog that was protecting his service master was a highly trained service dog and probably has/had a rank and I am glad too that they did not put the dog down, but I am sure that it is going to take some work to get that dog to accept a new handler. Their is going to be some really work ahead of that dog.

I am sorry, but really you can't have your cake and eat it too, and I agree with the poster before me, that if you are going to train your dog to be sorta like that service dog you are asking for more problems then it is worth.

Let me tell you about the story of my Male husky Tensing. He was a rescue to me and I had mention earlier that usually huskies are excellent with kids unless then have been taught to not like kids. They are very loyal to kids, and Tensing really showed it with his first two families. The story goes that the women accepted Tensing and the Men couldn't stand him and his puppy behavior and was throughly absused my both men, but he was very protective towards the women that he was with and kids to the point one night that one of the men kicked him across the driveway trying to get to the family, because poor Tensing was only 35lbs when I got him. Just before the cancer took over his body he got up to about 72lbs and really didn't look too terribly big but all muscle. If he was that big to have to fight those men they probably wouldn't of had much of a chance if they were that hostile. If someone has a gun then it is most likely all over for the dog in any case.

2nd part of the story I was coming home one night after work and got stop for speeding some how the cop thought I had been driking or was high on something. I failed both tests, because I was really sick with a cold and massive ear infections. They couldn't tell so the orginal cop said I couldn't drive home and had to take me home. Late at night when head lights come to the big pix window in the living room the dog would know I was home and the cop got out just to make sure I got to the door and got it open and said to me boy that is a big dog and I said that is my female Husky you should see my male. She on the small side so it kinda made him think twice.

3rd story ~ I needed some help getting some gravel delived and had to hire some help along with a couple other things. The guy came over and was taken aback by Tensing. I told him the ground rules, that if you do nothing to threaten me or Nikki you will be fine, but I wouldn't want to be you if you decide different. He from right there on for the few times that he had to come to the house that he totally respected my dogs and wanted to know where they were. In the house or yard. Man these things are the closest thing that you can get to a wolf without owning one and at night when it is dark they sure look like one. I know I have scared some people up at a cabin and we got their late and other people were asleep and woke up to see Silver and there room and they had to think for a minute and realize it was Silver, but the comment in the morning was they thought they had a wolf in their room that night. Tensing was also the most stealth gaurder of the yard even when sleeping in the yard and always aware of what was going on. He also always was generally guarding the door encase something was to come in.

I would say that it is more important that you treat the dog well and keep them very happy with the family and if something really threating comes along that a bigger type dog will get involved and asess the situation. I would also say that if you are that worried about the negihborhood get ADT and make sure that someone is always out with the kids and always have a charged phone with you outside. Take a phone to bedroom with you so you can call 911 if someone breaks into the house. JMO

Karen

I personally don't know abut Rotties and Pitbull and in fact I got a little worried watching this Pitt at the vet a month ago and thought that dog was going to try to eat some other dogs for lunch, so I just don't know about kids so much.

I will state again, that it is not the dog it is how they are raised and trained to be. If they are in a bad situation they will be a bad dog. Just look at what the rescue groups have done with the Bad Rap Dogs and Victory Dogs. They are all pretty changed dogs and are all now thriving in their new environments. Those are just two very highly exposed cases.



 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top