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Would your dog protect you

Updated on November 16, 2010

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 don't be fooled by your dog


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    • profile image


      2 years ago

      I have a german shepherd. I am a woman, and I had a man square up and give me some lip. My dog stayed to my back/left in a crouch and didn't growl or anything, just waiting to see what would happen I guess. When the man noticed I had my dog behind me, well he backed up. I think that Greta knows I'm the alpha and was ready had I need her. I am not kidding, she just stared at him and didn't make a sound, she was dead ready to tangle. It was kinda awesome really.

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      Just had the weirdest thing happen. It's late at night and went outside for a quick smoke, my dog staffiexsharpai was in doors. I do however have a doggy flap as I opened my back door I saw a shadow by my back fence it moved very quickly but was to big for a cat as I was going through the door my dog ran around to where the shadow was growling hair up and circling the area.

      I called her saying good girl she sat right next to me growling never had an experiencel Ile it with her before.

      My dog would definitely protect me and my children, she also warns people when I'm out walking her.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Your dogs should not have to protect you, it can be traumatizing for them. You as a pack leader, should protect your dog from harm. No doubt they would maybe help but most likely just stand on the sidelines unless attacked themselves.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I've seen two sides from my dog (American staff) which I raised to be a big lap dog/suck. Twice the have been fights around my dog. The first time I was having a party and two ppl I know started to fight. I saw it coming and brought my dog into my bedroom and closed the door. Right as I did the door was knocked down knocking me over with 2 ppl fighting now in my room. My dog for the very first time bared teeth and lunged at them. I was luck to push him in mid air then grab him while others broke it up. The second time I had drank way too much and ended up getting into a fight my self with a very good friend. This time my dog went and hid in a corner. Long story short never rely on an untrained dog as they are unpredictable. I do believe that even tho I raised my dog to be a 70lb lap dog it would protect me from an unknown person attacking me but if he is frailer you you he wouldn't do a thing. Nor would he attack for someone breaking in while I wasn't home. My only defence there is he "looks" mean

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Dogs are very intuitive and know when their owner is fearful and in trouble. The "Test" you described , both you and the owner of the dog KNEW you weren't gonna hurt anyone, therefore all the dog saw was you acting crazy causing the animal to be fearful. Someone with the true intent of hurting the owner and the owner genuine fear, I'm sure the majority of dogs would aggressively step in.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      If you want a dog that would protect without training get Fila Brasileiro or Bully Kutta, if they are unchained and intruder is in range they wont waste time barking ,but be careful when you have guest or friends.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      The Westie and Wolfhound mix also had distinctive low growls. I've never heard it other than those two times. It wasn't a panicked growl. After Chaos calmed down, he would always stay between me and the kid who did the fake jab to me. I'm certain Chaos would destroy anyone who physically attacked me. Otherwise, he loves all people, kids, cats, etc unless they physically threaten me

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      My current dog(Irish Wolfhound Mix) and childhood dog both have protected me. I used to get bullied in grade school. One day I was walking Max, the westie, we ran into a kid who bullied me at school. Max never met or saw this kid before and he showed his teeth and growled as the kid approached. Max was a super human friendly dog, but he knew I was in danger.

      Chaos, the wolfhound mix, recently lunged at an old friend's arm, because the kid threw a fake punch at me. I'm pretty sure my old friend's arm would be mangled if i didn't grab his collar.

      Dogs sense danger and fear. Most will protect their owners, not saying all, but most. The above experiment didn't work, because the owner knew the dog trainer really wasn't going to harm her. I'm sure her dog would react differently if a complete stranger came up and really attacked her.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Well.. Thanks for bursting my bubble.. I'll think twice before sending my son out with his "guard dog" next time:). Although.. The look of her is intimidating enough I'm sure. I have 2 german shepherds. One we got from a family who got surprised with pups, Jasper, she's pure bred.. 11 months old, but has no pedigree papers. Our second pup is Kelsey only 8 months old, she came with pedigree papers, her sire is actually from Germany. Your article makes sense to me now. It's absolutely AMAZING how different my 2 dogs are. When play fighting at home my husband will pretend to hurt me and I'll fake a painful yelp. Jasper will get anxious and start barking at me! Like the sound frustrates her and she wants me to shut up:). Kelsey on the other hand will immediately place herself between me and my husband and try to fend off his hands with her mouth or paws (gently of course), and if he persists.. She'll start to whine. So.. Is it safe for me to assume that kelsey's the better choice for my son to take on his walks?

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I think my dog would protect me.

      She is dominant, strong-willed, and she isn't afraid of much. She also is is very resistant to pain. Although she loves people she is quick to see what is different and react to it (Hackles, growling, barking, according to how 'suspicious' it is)

      A little while ago me and my brother were coming back from a walk. (At night) We got on our driveway and my dog raised her hackles, and started a mixture of barking/growling/snarling. I could tell something was there But I didn't know what. Then I saw a person coming from the shawdows. Suddenly I recognized the person as one of my brothers. My dog was so happy to see him. Just as quickly as she got defensive she was thumping her tail and begging for a petting.

      Although I'm not certain, I'm fairly confident that she would.

      She is a Lab/Rotti runt.

    • allbreeds profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Adelaide,Australia

      Depending what you mean by a guard dog? Most dogs will guard its "home" in some form or another barking etc.A personal protection dog is trained to do certain things on in teaching a dog to sit on command and teaching a dog to bite on command are similar but of course not as simplistic as i mention it.If anyone was to attack me,grab me he will "help" on his own accord unless i tell him not too yet the aggressor can then pat my dog after the "trouble" has passed.Having a guard dog that just wants to eat anything that comes into its property isn't a pet dog its there for one reason only.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I have to admit - I'm a person that thinks my dog would protect me. You've given me some serious food for thought. Let me ask you this - I was once told by a dog trainer that you can have a guard dog or you can have a pet but you can't have both. Would the type of (bite) training you mentioned turn the dog into a potential lawsuit?


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