The key characteristic of a protection dog is that it operates under the direction of one of more handlers rather than simply acting off of its own volition. This is what separates them from guard dogs, who protect and defend a site rather than people while using its own initiative. A good protection dog must possess a number of qualities and traits which include (but are not limited to) friendliness, approachability, calmness, intelligence, obedience, and of course a protective edge as and when required. For a protection dog to be truly effective, it must combine these traits and qualities.
While they may initially seem like unusual additions to this list, we cannot stress the importance of friendliness and approachability for any effective protection dog. Before it is used for security purposes, a good family protection dog can be enjoyed for being and live as a dog. This is particularly important if you have children, as your dog will also likely act as a companion for them as they are growing up. To this end, a protection dog that can successfully assimilate into a family environment will – with the right people it has been socialised with – be friendly, playful, and enjoy their company. Similarly, it should be approachable enough to allow normal interactions without demonstrating undue aggression or protectiveness. To aid the development of these traits, we ensure that all of our dogs are fully socialised around adults and children, thus helping them to make smooth transitions into family environments.
Additionally, a good protection dog should be calm, especially when it will live in a normal home setting. While certain breeds such as the Malinois have extremely high work drives that makes them excellent for military and police protection work, this renders them unsuitable for most types of home protection. They will simply be too hard for the average owner to adequately care for. Instead, naturally calmer and more relaxed breeds are often more appropriate. We have found German Shepherd Dogs, Giant Schnauzers, Dobermann Pinschers, and the Cane Corso to be most adaptable to home environments, but occasionally find individual dogs from other breeds with an appropriate degree of calmness.
Also of paramount importance are intelligence and obedience. Intelligence is necessary to learn commands and how to respond in certain scenarios (i.e. the difference between an approaching postman and intruding burglar), while obedience means that your dog will follow your commands. If a dog is disobedient, then you will struggle to adequately control it, which is always an undesirable situation to be, especially with dogs as powerful as those that we sell. To ensure that you will not find yourself in this situation, all of our dogs undergo an extensive course of obedience training, and we are always available to help clients develop their own post-purchase continuation training programmes. Obedience training is also an excellent way of developing a strong handler-dog bond, and we recommend that this is conducted on a very regular (ideally daily) basis.
An effective protection dog must also have strong protective instincts so that when necessary, it will protect you and your family. However, this should not be confused with being aggressive. A protective dog can be controlled and commanded to hold, bite, or release at the appropriate time. An aggressive or overly driven dog will not respond to such commands, and as such should be avoided. At Protection Dogs Worldwide, the simple act of releasing an apprehended suspect on command is one of the most important protective skills we teach all of dogs before selling them, so that while they will protect with or without command, they can still be fully controlled at all times.
We are often asked what kind of dog is best for personal and family protection. The short answer is the four breeds that we specialise in: German Shepherd Dogs, Dobermann Pinschers, Giant Schnauzers, and the Cane Corso. This is because protection dogs fulfil a very specific role,…