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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,
Is it possible to train my 10months old lab girl to protect me and the kids from my abusive husband, given he was part of our pack since we got her in May?
(Kids and I fled in October)

She never growled at him or similar; in hindsight however I am pretty sure he abused her as well (e.g. misusing her electric shock collar from her invisible fence).

She is the sweetest thing I have ever known, literally will not harm a fly, is scared to death of everything and anything but guard dog material.
 

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I hesitate to reply on this topic.

I don't know if you can train a dog to specifically target an individual. I know a dog can be trained in a Protective mode, but I have no knowledge as to how or what breeds a biddable in this mode.

If you haven't, I suggest you get a restraining order implemented. I think your most prudent course is with the legal system.
 

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I hesitate to reply on this topic.

I don't know if you can train a dog to specifically target an individual. I know a dog can be trained in a Protective mode, but I have no knowledge as to how or what breeds a biddable in this mode.

If you haven't, I suggest you get a restraining order implemented. I think your most prudent course is with the legal system.
Thanks Knute!

Restraining orders tend to expire after a while and unfortunately will not safe my childrens' life nor mine.

On a side note....I walked into my place tonight and over to my puppy.
Sweet girl was snoring away and was completely oblivious to the fact somebody had entered the home/her room even after I was crouching down right next to her saying her name.
While she is everything to me and the kids, I am thinking she might simply lack any and all guard-dog potential 😉😍
 

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There are alternate paths you can take to help mitigate the situation. Some include moving, installing alarms, self protection class, firearm purchase and training.

I still believe the law is your best ally in this situation. Talk to domestic abuse experts about what steps you could take. Services are available to help.

I agree, if the dog is that disinterested. I doubt if Protection training would be successful.
 

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I first want to say that I'm deeply sorry that you're going through this. It's not something anyone should have to deal with, and I absolutely understand you wanting - and needing - to do whatever possible to protect your family. I'm wishing you lots of luck in getting through this unscathed and returning to a place where you and your family can start to recover.

Onto the guard dog side of things. A genuine protection dog - one trained to actually bite an intruder/target - is legally considered a weapon. The training really needs to be done by a professional and is very intensive, similar to police or military training, and yes, requires a dog with an appropriate temperament. This is because protection training done poorly creates a dangerous dog, one who may decide who to bite on its own without being directed to, or who starts biting out of fear or frustration. I also believe you need special insurance to own a protection trained dog.

I'm basing some of this on your other posts, but here are my suggestions:

Invest in cameras. They're getting more affordable all the time, and you wouldn't need a very high-end one to be able to see if anyone's hanging around your door that you're not expecting/wanting. Might also be very useful if you do need to pursue legal action, or even deciding whether you should (I know restraining orders don't save lives, but just covering the bases). At the very least, they'll be able to offer you peace of mind.

Train her not to guard, exactly, but to alert. Teach her to bark on cue, then teach her to do so when things happen like the doorknob rattles, door opens, etc. Or you could get creative and have her ring a bell or horn or similar, so it's more clear that she's alerting to the door rather than, say, a cat out the window. I know this is the opposite of what most dog owners want, but your situation is exceptional.

Reconsider the invisible fence. They have downsides to begin with, but if you suspect she's been abused with the collar in the past, you have an extra consideration where she may become fearful or reactive when the collar's on and/or near the boundary of the fence due to her previous bad experiences. I hate to even bring this up, but an invisible fence also offers no protection if she's outside alone and someone wants to come onto the property to hurt her.

Give her time, and start looking for resources for fearful dogs, since she's now uncomfortable around strange men. Don't force interactions when she's giving you signs she's not okay, and don't punish the growling - it's communication that she's scared or uncertain. Dr. Patricia McConnell is an experience animal behaviorist and has an inexpensive book called The Cautious Canine if you want a place to start. I have not read that one specifically, but have other books for different issues and her writing is very clear, digestible, and solution-focused. There's also a lot of resources online, but I'd urge you to focus on ones that use force-free methods - fearful dogs and training that uses physical force or intimidation don't tend to mesh well.

Again, I wish you so much luck and hope this is only a brief chapter in your life. You did an incredibly hard thing by getting out of that situation, and I hope something I suggested will help in some way.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
There are alternate paths you can take to help mitigate the situation. Some include moving, installing alarms, self protection class, firearm purchase and training.

I still believe the law is your best ally in this situation. Talk to domestic abuse experts about what steps you could take. Services are available to help.

I agree, if the dog is that disinterested. I doubt if Protection training would be successful.
Agreed.
While the lawyers, courts and agencies are handling the legalities, I am in the process of setting up any and all self protection and defense mechanisms I can think of.

Looks like my pup doesnt have what it takes to protect my kids and myself - which is okay, she is perfect the way she is 😍.
 

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I'm sorry that you are going through this.

As DaySleepers said, trained Personal Protection dogs (and even protection sport dogs) can be considered a weapon, depending on where you live. It takes thousands of hours of training, as well as the right personality, to make a PP dog. Most dogs simply don't have the temperament it takes, especially one that is already fearful.

Also as Day Sleepers mentioned, working to help her with her fear and reactivity is a must.

I hope things work out for you and your family.
 

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I'm not trying to be snarky, but you're an apex predator and your dog is a baby housepet. It's your job to protect her, not vice versa. A labrador retriever against a grown human male is not a fair fight even if the dog did have the will to fight, which would be really unusual for a lab.

My Giant Schnauzer (a breed that is used for personal protection pretty frequently) has shown a healthy protective instinct - he once pinned down a tradesman who had, without warning, let himself into my house. No teeth, didn't hurt the guy, but wasn't going to allow a stranger in his house. Sure, knowing that my dog wants to protect me makes me feel safe. The problem is, realistically, if that tradesman had been an actual bad guy and had intended my household ill, he'd have had a knife or a gun, and my poor brave dog wouldn't have stood a chance even though he's huge.

Just the visual of a big black dog (I assume yours is a black lab, from your profile pic?) is often enough to serve as a deterrent to would-be impulse attackers and thieves, the kind of person who sits at the park and waits for a victim to come by, or walks down a quiet street testing whether the doors are locked. But a dog against a determined person with a plan doesn't really stand a chance unless they're highly trained and being deployed strategically by a handler, because it's easy enough to "neutralize" the threat of a dog if you come prepared for it.

Good on you for getting you and your children (and your pup) out of that situation, by the way. That takes guts. I hope that POS stays far away from you.
 

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I had a 116# black lab who was quite protective of my wife and children and could put on an impressive show if he thought they were threatened. Still, for actual protection and not just a convincing bluff, the only large breed probably less suited than a lab is a Newfoundland.
 
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