Protection Dogs

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So I'm considering getting and training a protection dog to look after my family and belongings. I really like the Doberman as a breed, highly intelligent, loyal, strong, and a short coat so not so much hair everywhere. They have some genetic issues that are worrisome but most breeds do. I'm interested if anyone here has advice, stories, etc.
 

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So I'm considering getting and training a protection dog to look after my family and belongings. I really like the Doberman as a breed, highly intelligent, loyal, strong, and a short coat so not so much hair everywhere. They have some genetic issues that are worrisome but most breeds do. I'm interested if anyone here has advice, stories, etc.
AKC registered breeders corrected that decades ago.
 

Bill Mattocks

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So I'm considering getting and training a protection dog to look after my family and belongings. I really like the Doberman as a breed, highly intelligent, loyal, strong, and a short coat so not so much hair everywhere. They have some genetic issues that are worrisome but most breeds do. I'm interested if anyone here has advice, stories, etc.
I'm interested in what you think a protection dog should do.

I'm not an expert in this field, but I'm risk-averse. I have dogs but they are pets, and they are mutts. Over 50 pounds each and protective and VERY barky around anyone who isn't my wife and myself. I think they would dissuade anyone from breaking into our house to be honest, even if they aren't trained to attack people. It's the noise factor.

I'm also concerned with labels. A 'protection dog' is, to my way of thinking, a liability. If you have a dog that you've purchased and trained specifically for that purpose and it bites someone, that's something that any good attorney for the person bitten is going to use against you. Same thing signs warning of 'guard dogs' or 'attack dogs' or even 'beware of dog'. My dogs are pets. They are not intended to harm anyone; if someone breaks into my home and gets hurt, well, that's on them, dogs will bite when threatened.

I love dogs and I think dogs are great at protecting people, that's not my point. Just interested in the potential liabilities in our increasingly litigious society.
 
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I'm interested in what you think a protection dog should do.

I'm not an expert in this field, but I'm risk-averse. I have dogs but they are pets, and they are mutts. Over 50 pounds each and protective and VERY barky around anyone who isn't my wife and myself. I think they would dissuade anyone from breaking into our house to be honest, even if they aren't trained to attack people. It's the noise factor.

I'm also concerned with labels. A 'protection dog' is, to my way of thinking, a liability. If you have a dog that you've purchased and trained specifically for that purpose and it bites someone, that's something that any good attorney for the person bitten is going to use against you. Same thing signs warning of 'guard dogs' or 'attack dogs' or even 'beware of dog'. My dogs are pets. They are not intended to harm anyone; if someone breaks into my home and gets hurt, well, that's on them, dogs will bite when threatened.

I love dogs and I think dogs are great at protecting people, that's not my point. Just interested in the potential liabilities in our increasingly litigious society.
I think even a basic pet doberman would bite someone if they were physically assaulting the doberman's person. These are working dogs and they require regular exercise, may as well be useful training. As with anything you get out what you put in. To have a doberman trained to a professional K-9 level costs many thousands of dollars and as you say could be risky legally.

I'm more of a mind to teach the dog standard obedience stuff i.e. come, sit, stay, fetch, etc. The only other commands I might explore are seek (track), and patrol (roam about the perimeter of the property looking for trouble.) To avoid legal risk I'll probably forego bite training. I figure the dog is programed with that on a genetic level.
 
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Agree with Bill on all counts. That out of the way, I've had a lot of dogs over the years, all rescues, and all great dogs. The two breeds that I am personally familiar with that were/are excellent pets and also overtly protective were my St. Bernard (that's her over on my avatar) and the Great Pyrenees. The Pyrenees is the more difficult dog to train (by far) but they are such good dogs, if you are up for the challenge. Both breeds benefit from having a job of some kind, so training is a good outlet for them.
 
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Agree with Bill on all counts. That out of the way, I've had a lot of dogs over the years, all rescues, and all great dogs. The two breeds that I am personally familiar with that were/are excellent pets and also overtly protective were my St. Bernard (that's her over on my avatar) and the Great Pyrenees. The Pyrenees is the more difficult dog to train (by far) but they are such good dogs, if you are up for the challenge. Both breeds benefit from having a job of some kind, so training is a good outlet for them.
I love both of those breeds, especially the St. Bernard. I think Dobermans get a kind of bum rap, it seems like whenever you see one in hollywood it is a viscous scary dog. I grew up watching Magnum P.I. and I always loved the scenes with Higgins and the 'lads'. I would say any dog is better protection for the home than no dog, even a little yapper.
 

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I love both of those breeds, especially the St. Bernard. I think Dobermans get a kind of bum rap, it seems like whenever you see one in hollywood it is a viscous scary dog. I grew up watching Magnum P.I. and I always loved the scenes with Higgins and the 'lads'. I would say any dog is better protection for the home than no dog, even a little yapper.
The thing with Dobermans, Rotties, and many bully breeds is that they have such a negative reputation that I kind of cringe a little when people think about those breeds for "protection" or as guard dogs. In my opinion, I would specifically NOT want to feed that rep by getting one of them for protection. If that makes sense.

We had rotties growing up and they were great dogs (though almost as hard to train as a Pyrenees). They were, indeed, naturally protective, but they were just pets. And even then, people were often really afraid of them due to their reputation.
 

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We have four dogs. A Cairn Terrier, a Border Colllie/Great Pyrenees mix, and two Great Pyrenees. They're all socialized and reasonably well trained (Pyrs are notoriously stubborn).

If you come to our door they will go nuts, as is typical for dogs. I think their presence can be considered a deterrent. They were bred for that purpose. Pyrenees are still used as livestock guardians. They are big enough and loud enough to convince a bear to find another place to get lunch. And they generally do it without fighting.

I think the Cairn Terrier is the most likely to bite, but she's certainly the least intimidating.
 
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The thing with Dobermans, Rotties, and many bully breeds is that they have such a negative reputation that I kind of cringe a little when people think about those breeds for "protection" or as guard dogs. In my opinion, I would specifically NOT want to feed that rep by getting one of them for protection. If that makes sense.

We had rotties growing up and they were great dogs (though almost as hard to train as a Pyrenees). They were, indeed, naturally protective, but they were just pets. And even then, people were often really afraid of them due to their reputation.
I think some breeds definitely give an outsider bent on no good more pause than others. How many people jump a fence surrounding a Rottweiler? The Rotties I've known were big teddy bears but I would not want to tangle with one when it's protecting it's family or it's turf.
 
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We have four dogs. A Cairn Terrier, a Border Colllie/Great Pyrenees mix, and two Great Pyrenees. They're all socialized and reasonably well trained (Pyrs are notoriously stubborn).

If you come to our door they will go nuts, as is typical for dogs. I think their presence can be considered a deterrent. They were bred for that purpose. Pyrenees are still used as livestock guardians. They are big enough and loud enough to convince a bear to find another place to get lunch. And they generally do it without fighting.

I think the Cairn Terrier is the most likely to bite, but she's certainly the least intimidating.
Worst dog bite I ever got was from a Cocker Spaniel. What is it with the little dogs??
 

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I'm interested in what you think a protection dog should do.

I'm not an expert in this field, but I'm risk-averse. I have dogs but they are pets, and they are mutts. Over 50 pounds each and protective and VERY barky around anyone who isn't my wife and myself. I think they would dissuade anyone from breaking into our house to be honest, even if they aren't trained to attack people. It's the noise factor.

I'm also concerned with labels. A 'protection dog' is, to my way of thinking, a liability. If you have a dog that you've purchased and trained specifically for that purpose and it bites someone, that's something that any good attorney for the person bitten is going to use against you. Same thing signs warning of 'guard dogs' or 'attack dogs' or even 'beware of dog'. My dogs are pets. They are not intended to harm anyone; if someone breaks into my home and gets hurt, well, that's on them, dogs will bite when threatened.

I love dogs and I think dogs are great at protecting people, that's not my point. Just interested in the potential liabilities in our increasingly litigious society.
Agreed. I'm not so sure that dogs are effective form of protection in the first place.

Put yourself in the criminal's shoes. If you're going to commit burglary or home invasion, are going to assume that there will be zero resistance and go in unarmed? I sure as hell wouldn't. Against an armed intruder, dogs are of zero help.

Furthermore, even if the intruder is unarmed, you've got a lot things in your house that can be used as improvised weapons against the dog. And even if we get past that hurdle, don't ever assume that "mean breed" dog > young healthy man. Humans tend to have a fear of other species that doesn't seem to exist much among animals in the wild, and we often underestimate our abilities against other species - and especially dogs.
 
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Agreed. I'm not so sure that dogs are effective form of protection in the first place.

Put yourself in the criminal's shoes. If you're going to commit burglary or home invasion, are going to assume that there will be zero resistance and go in unarmed? I sure as hell wouldn't. Against an armed intruder, dogs are of zero help.

Furthermore, even if the intruder is unarmed, you've got a lot things in your house that can be used as improvised weapons against the dog. And even if we get past that hurdle, don't ever assume that "mean breed" dog > young healthy man. Humans tend to have a fear of other species that doesn't seem to exist much among animals in the wild, and we often underestimate our abilities against other species - and especially dogs.
To my mind a protection dog is a part of a layered system of defense. For example we have camera's and alarms, perimeter fencing, deadbolts etc, both occupants of the house are martial artists, and we have firearms. We also currently have a 90 pound grey hound in addition to other pets. He is a friendly beast but has a nice loud bark when someone comes around and on at least one occasion he did protect my fiancee from a threat.
 

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Worst dog bite I ever got was from a Cocker Spaniel. What is it with the little dogs??
Haha, so far Ive only been bit by smaller dogs. I think smaller dogs are maybe more popular with needier people and their neuroticism transfers to the dogs. Real men get real dogs!! Lol.
 

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Weve always had Rhodesian Ridgebacks. Smart dogs. Naturally very aware of their environment. Naturally on guard. Will protect. Only bark when really needed. Amazingly patient with children. Virtually no grooming. Self cleaning. Negatives: Strong chase instincts and definitely need exercise.
 
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Haha, so far Ive only been bit by smaller dogs. I think smaller dogs are maybe more popular with needier people and their neuroticism transfers to the dogs. Real men get real dogs!! Lol.
LOL, I was about seven and it was my Pastor's Cocker Spaniel. We were visiting for lunch and you know being a kid I was down on the floor playing and the dog bit my face. Let me tell you whatever powers are required for faith healing the Methodists don't have it. I bled like a stuck pig.
 

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I have worked with guys who do security dogs that bite people.

It is a responsibility. They were mussled and caged a lot. A cage in the back of the car. Mussled when it went out. That sort of thing. A house that the dog couldn't escape from. Home made l3ash that was basically unbreakable.

And by the way a ram mussle is one of the coolest things I have seen.

Otherwise shepherds and malinois were their weapons of choice because they are very pack focused rather than just murder things focused.

 
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I have worked with guys who do security dogs that bite people.

It is a responsibility. They were mussled and caged a lot. A cage in the back of the car. Mussled when it went out. That sort of thing. A house that the dog couldn't escape from. Home made l3ash that was basically unbreakable.

And by the way a ram mussle is one of the coolest things I have seen.

Otherwise shepherds and malinois were their weapons of choice because they are very pack focused rather than just murder things focused.

Most Impressive!
 

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Otherwise shepherds and malinois were their weapons of choice because they are very pack focused rather than just murder things focused.
That's one of the things I like about our Pyrs. They've been bred to protect flocks from predators. But not by fighting. Predators don't want a fight because getting hurt today could mean starving tomorrow. They're huge - 150lbs is not uncommon - with thick fur and a ruff that could pass as a lions mane, and they're loud. My understanding is that actually biting is an extremely uncommon occurrence.

I don't think most criminals are really looking for a fight either. They want an easy, fast, score. We always have outside lights on. Coming on our property turns on more and basically rings the doorbell. Which activates the dogs. Between them, I think that's likely to deter the average opportunistic crook.

We have a mat at the front door that says "Don't bother ringing the bell. The dogs already told us you're here."
 

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