- 0.1 Best breeds for guard dogs
- 0.2 Setting the fine line
- 1 Guard dog training methods for child protection
- 2 Guarding your home
- 3 What if my dog gets afraid when a stranger approaches?
Many people like sweet and affectionate dogs. But as much as these pooches are clingy, you can also train them to protect you and your home. Take note, though, that not all breeds are fit for the job. Can you imagine a Poodle being aggressive against a burglar? As much as you can train the doggo, their dog nature dictates a different reaction. Knowing how to make my dog more aggressive and protective required me to understand the real purpose behind it.
First, you wouldn’t like your dog to become very aggressive. I’d like to take German Shepherds as an example. These doggos aren’t really vicious but they can be trained to be guard dogs. Their hard-wired instinct to be watchful and doubtful makes them a perfect dog for protection.
Best breeds for guard dogs
Not all canines can fit the job of being a guard dog. According to the American Kennel Club, breeds like Akita, German Shepherd, Beauceron, Bullmastiff, Doberman Pinschers, and Appenzeller Sennenhund are the best guard dogs. Remember that these canines aren’t advisable for first-time owners. They need an experienced and strict handler.
You may want to avoid breeds like Great Dane, Newfoundland, Great Pyrenees, Saint Bernard, and Basset Hounds. They look big and intimidating, but they won’t give a fuss about a stranger going into your house. These gentle giants are best as family pets and service dogs.
Setting the fine line
Just because you want to know how to train your dog to protect you doesn’t mean you’re going to make canine monsters. You can train them to guard your house, bark to strangers, and chase trespassers. However, it shouldn’t go beyond that.
Responsible dog owning requires you to ensure that your pet isn’t a threat to the neighborhood. If your doggo becomes overly aggressive, it might chase an innocent kid or someone holding food. That spells trouble for you.
Being protective and being aggressive are two different things. Protecting comes with discipline while aggression is a behavioral problem. Although some owners prefer to let the negative behavior prosper, it’s not a wise choice for most households. This is true especially if you have a child that interacts with the dog.
The right purpose of training your dog to be protective
Being imposing isn’t always a bad thing for dogs. If you train them well and set the limits, your pooch will know what to do. The best thing here is you can teach your dog to protect your home and your child (we’ll focus on these two aspects in this post).
Expert trainers can help you with it. I don’t recommend doing guesswork here or your training may border to aggression if not controlled. Knowing how to make my dog more aggressive and protective includes professional guidance.
Dogs have the natural tendency to protect his pack. You can boost this so your dog will be brave enough to defend you against any harm. However, don’t let them become the leader of the pack! You’d still want to have the upper hand and to call the shots at home.
Here are some of the tips I want to you read carefully before training your dog for protection:
Never start guard dog training without going back to the basics of obedience training. It would be impossible and almost futile to train a disobedient pooch as a guard dog. Most likely, they will perceive the drills as a threat, thus showing aggression.
Focus on command recall before anything else. Your dog should know how to stop when you say ‘no’ and when to go when you say ‘yes’. Getting the basics covered would be enough for starters. Remember the more stubborn the breed is, the more intensive the obedience training should be.
🐶Train in a familiar area
Always train your dog in the area he’s going to protect. The more he develops familiarity with the area together with the people present in it, the better. Walk him around it and establish the limits through the reward system. Throw treats outside the limits and teach your dog to leave it. Give him twice the amount of treats when he follows. If not, skip the reward as a form of punishment.
🐶Defeat the distractions
Knowing how to train your dog to protect you includes boosting your dog’s attention. It’s important that your dog can follow your commands no matter how many distractions are in place. You can do this by doing obedience training with the distractions. If he gets to fight over the urge of going after it, reward him with a treat.
Here’s a short guide to prepare your dog for the guard training courtesy of Howcast:
Guard dog training methods for child protection
Here, we’ll cover three of the most effective methods as prescribed by Wag Walking. This applies to protecting a child.
For the three methods, you need a leash, a bag of treats, and the child you want your pooch to watch over. Don’t forget to bring in a lot of patience because this will be challenging.
The Leash Method
This method is a bit tricky but it pays in dodging suspecting people. Walk your dog around the neighborhood on a leash. Let the ‘safe’ people pet him and get near him. But as you walk, tug the leash whenever an unsafe-looking individual passes your direction. This is how to make my dog more aggressive and protective, but without building negative behavior.
This way your dog will recognize the typical appearance of a person that they need to be alert of. The tugging will be a signal that the person is not to be trusted. However, avoid telling this verbally or you’ll be in trouble.
You need to do this drill multiple times until your dog automatically retreats and shield you when a shady person comes close.
Once your pooch is getting the hang of it, let your child hold the leash on your next walk. This way, the dog will automatically go to your child’s side when an unsafe-looking person comes near.
The bark method
It’s normal for dogs to bark when they feel threatened, overly excited, or anxious. You can train them to put this into good use. Start by letting the doggo bark to strangers 3 times before pulling the leash, signaling that he should stop. When he responded to the ‘quiet’ signal, give the dog some treats or reward him of affection.
Through this, the leash becomes your connection to your pooch. By tugging lightly, you can let them know who to bark at and to whom they shouldn’t. Like the first leash method, do this multiple times until your doggo stops barking right after you pull the leash.
The next step is to test the pooch’s response to a ringing doorbell. Ask someone to ring it for you. Mostly, dogs would bark in response to the noise either as a sign of aggression or to alert their owner. If your doggo isn’t barking, encourage him to do so but pull the leash after 3 barks to stop him.
After that, go outside and let your child hold the leash. Ask some people to dress differently and act up provocative actions toward your child. If the dog barks, ask your child to tug the leash to stop the barking. Let the child reward the pooch with a treat right after. Do this repeatedly until the dog exhibits the protective behavior even without treats.
The Alert Method
For this method, you’re going to use a “panic word”, much like a password that will activate your dog’s protective nature. Choose one that your kid can remember and pronounce and something that your dog can easily recognize. Knowing how to make my dog more aggressive and protective requires patience, as you see.
Whenever your dog barks into a person, you either say ‘quiet’ for him to stop or say ‘attack’, ‘panic’, ‘help’ or other words of your choice. Always use the same word every time. Do this repeatedly for better recall.
Next, let your child sit beside your dog and ask someone to go near. When your dog barks, give him the command that’s necessary for the situation. It’s either attack or quiet.
Practice this both indoors and outdoors until your dog remembers the command. Always use treats to encourage him to follow but start laying it off as the training progresses.
Guarding your home
When it comes to having a watchdog for your property, you should get the right breed first. Why does this matter? Let’s take the Bernese Mountain Dog as an example. These large pooches are intimidating, but remember, they are called gentle giants. They won’t bark or run after a burglar. You can train them to be more aggressive, but you can’t go as far as what you can do with a Doberman or a Pitbull.
The approach for this would be different from that of protecting a child. Since there’s no one to give the commands when you’re away, your dog needs to work independently.
For this, you should prioritize obedience training and impulse control. This way, your dog’s attention is solely focused on guarding. I only have one method here composed of these steps:
Step 1. Set the boundaries.
If you have an unfenced yard, you should instill to your dog his boundaries. This could be a challenge for some breeds with extreme tendencies to wander. Like what’s discussed earlier, reward him whenever he stays within the limits. This is a matter of teaching your dog about his territory. As you know, canines are territorial beings. If someone tramples their property, they will impose their authority.
Step 2. Leave your dog alone.
Once your pooch is familiar with the place he’s guarding, leave him alone in it. Let him roam, sniff, and get extremely hooked in his territory. Remember, though, that this training should start when your dog is at least 8 months old.
Step 3. Ask someone to make a noise
It’s time to put your dog’s territorial instincts to the test. Ask someone to make a noise in the fence or window that will catch your dog’s attention. Make sure that your pooch hasn’t seen this person before or he will just ignore the sound. Your dog should bark and approach the spot where the noise is coming from.
Step 4. Build his confidence
Once your dog is barking, ask the person to run off and look afraid. This way, your dog will realize that his presence and barking can send strangers away. Otherwise, your dog may fear the presence of an intruder which is something you don’t want to happen. If the person told you that your dog just approached the fence, wagged his tail, and looked friendly, you have to train the pooch more.
Step 5. Employ distractions
Usually, intruders will try to trick your guard dog by giving some yummy treats. This is something you should prepare your dog for. Introduce food distractions like a piece of meat, smelly treat, and toys. If your pooch stopped barking and went on to retrieve the distraction, ask him to leave it. If he does, reward him with a bigger treat. Do this repeatedly until your dog completely ignores distractions.
What if my dog gets afraid when a stranger approaches?
This could mean you’re taking things a little bit too fast. Just be patient and repeat your drills as often as you could. If your dog isn’t exhibiting progress after a few weeks of training, you should seek the help of a professional trainer. You might be missing something that led to the inefficiency of your training sessions.
Remember, too, that the breed is a determiner. Some dog breeds are just too friendly while others have the gene-wired territorial tendencies.
How to make my dog more aggressive and protective? It entails a lot of training and curbing negative behavior. As much as you want to have a watchdog, you should be a responsible pet owner as well. Make sure that your pooch’s behavior isn’t bordering to excessive aggression or else, it will be a threat more than a help to the neighborhood.