Would your dog protect you
Do you feel safe with your dog
Through meeting many people through dog training i have heard comments about how the owner feels safe walking their dogs.A prime example was a woman with a female Rottweiler 3 years old.She is advanced training and is a very well trained dog.The owner takes her dog for a walk either early mornings on dawn or later at night down along the walking paths near our main river which runs through adelaide and its suburbs.Due to work commitments this is the only time she can walk the dog.
We had a discussion before a class one day regarding if an owners dog would protect them in a situation.Most people commented that they felt safer if they were walking with their dog and quite a few also said that they felt that their dog would protect them if the need arose.
Its funny how an owner can assume things.Comments like my dog watches other people as they get close or my dog will stand between me and a stranger make the owners feel better but what would the dog do?Sit there and as the person approaches and starts talking to you relaxes and maybe even expect a pat?Just before the stranger grabs your hand bag and runs or whatever.
So we got the aforementioned owner and her rotty put a harness on her (the dog that is) and placed both of them against a wall.
So the first steps of finding the character of the dog.Just by looking at the dog we know its temperament is good yet will it do as the owner thinks it will and protect her.So with a whip in one hand and a bite sleeve on i come forward to them cracking the whip making myself look big by standing very straight walking in a zig zag fashion even with a bit of growling on my behalf.The dog looked looked and looked,as i got closer saying arrhs and cracking the whip what did the dog do?Cowered behind the owner and the fence.Not a bark not a lunge nothing.Fear was the only thing that filled that dog no aggression towards me and the worst part is that the owner thought the dog would protect her naturally.That is a VERY RARE dog one that protects naturally.99% of dogs will prefer to do into flight mode rather than fight mode.
Most dogs need to be taught how to protect and fight.They even need to be taught that barking can send a person away especially one that isn't on the other side of a fence that is walking past and goes away on his own accord due to the fact he is walking on the footpath.That is why lots of dogs bark at people as they walk past their house.The dog thinks that running up to the fence and barking at the person is making the person go away.In reality the person was going away anyway but it gives the dog that reinforcement albeit wrongly that barking at the posty or whoever makes them go.
I can hear you say my dog barks at people to warn them not to come inside .If that was the case you would have no visitors.Again most dogs will bark at you and BACK away as they do so.Flight before fight.As they back away it seems to the dog that you are getting further away so their barking is working.WRONG
Lots of untrained dogs even some trained ones can have resource issues.Food ,toys beds,YOUR bed,YOUR couch.How many times we hear about dogs growling at owners when they try to remove them from the owners couch or bed.or even taking their food awayAnd when the dog growls? The owner backs away.Win for the dog.The owner isn't a resource of the dog.There is no reason why a dog needs to growl or attack some other person because its protecting its owner.Its called resource guarding and few dogs regard their owners as a resource.Hence the reason a dog that barks at someone entering its yard wont bark at the same person if the dog is on a lead in the street.So in fact the dog isn't protecting anything or anyone.
You have to teach a dog in real life circumstances to bark,growl and attack a person when you want them to.And this is where bite training comes into effect.No im not going to get into the nitty grittys of how to change a dogs fear into fight mode as i would be inundated by the "new age" don't correct a dog group.
No doubt a feeling of safety does ensue when they walk their dog especially if it's a larger dog as just the sight of the dog is a deterrent but would the dog protect you.Would your dog on a word put its life on the line and in a word would it stop and become the playful dog that licks your kids to death.
So would your dog REALLY protect you?
I know i will get comments from people telling me how their dog HAS protected them with no formal training.And it will seem that i will get none from people telling me im right.I don't really care .As i said there are is a minuscule amount of dogs that will protect naturally but a lot more that wont ...so don't be fooled by your dog