Millions of people have dogs that go through training and while by nature dogs are great at alerting owners about impending danger, some people go one-step further by having their canine friend complete guard dog training.
This type of training is different from standard obedience training and designed for one very specific reason – teaching dogs to protect owners at any cost. Although there are methods used for training a guard dog at home, the recommended option would be to have the dog trained professionally.
The reason we suggest that you have guard dog training done by someone with years of experience is that most breeds trained are more dominant but also, if training were done wrong, you could end up with a mean dog opposed to one trained to be protective.
Now, when proper training is done, guard dogs are gentle with family members but deadly against people trying to do harm. Additionally, a professional trainer would be able to provide guidance to the type and degree of training needed specific to the reason for training.
For instance, training for a dog to guard a business versus one to protect the family would have different dynamics.
Guard Dog Breeds
The first step would be in choosing the right breed to work as a guard dog. Experts agree that for a dog to be successful in this type of role, there are five considerations to include the dog’s age, actual breed, gender, level of loyalty, and temperament.
Age – Interestingly, the age of the dog going through guard dog training would have a significant impact on the outcome. Typically, any breed should be anywhere from six to twelve months old although dogs up to two would be a possibility. Anything older than that would lessen the effect of the training.
Breed – Without doubt, certain breeds of dogs make much better guard dogs than others. While most breeds, even smaller dogs are great “watch dogs”, there is a difference in the duties performed between this type of dog and one trained to protect. In order of recommended breeds are the Rottweiler, Doberman Pinscher, Belgian Shepherd, Bull Terrier, American Bulldog, and German Shepherd.
Gender – As far as the preferred gender, both male and females do extremely well with guard dog training. The most important thing is the way in which the dog bonds with its owner. Now in saying that, one thing to think about is that often female dogs bond easier with male owners and male dogs with female owners but breed would be the more important criteria.
Loyalty – One of the most important things when choosing and training a guard dog is the loyalty factor. Because dogs are naturally pack animals, they must see you as the owner as the leader. Otherwise, the dog before but especially after training would try to take a dominant position. Therefore, as a part of guard dog training it would be helpful if some of the focus were on teaching the dog his place within the “pack” or your family.
Temperament – Another critical factor is temperament. The good thing is that among the recommended breeds, most often temperament can be determined while the puppy is still quite young. The goal would be to choose a puppy that can mingle and play with the other pups in the litter yet one not afraid to venture off alone. What you want to avoid is the puppy that remains isolated, as well as the puppy that demands attention.
Remember, some dogs are trained to be protective of the family while other dogs are trained to be aggressive.
The primary difference from a training perspective is that a dog being protective of the family may simply need good obedience training whereas one trained to engage in case of a threat would usually wait for you to give the command of attack. If your goal is to have a dog that would protect and be aggressive in certain situations, then guard dog training would be essential.
You will find many different techniques used when it comes to guard dog training but one that has received outstanding reviews is called Schutzhund Training. Initially, this training started in German and for many training schools, organizations, and even law enforcement this method is preferred.
In addition to obedience, Schutzhund Training includes tracking and protection. When finished with the training course, dogs have the ability to remain calm and in control until the command to engage were given.