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Dogs for Personal Protection

Dogs for Personal Protection
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This is the first guest post I have added since opening up the blog to other writers.  I have been interested in Dogs for Personal Protection for a long time, and at one time did a little work helping train some protection dogs, but I realized I don’t have the attention to detail that it takes to be successful.  This is one area where you need some help and guidance from someone with lots of experience.

Dogs for Personal Protection

Any of us are susceptible to an invasion of our home or personal space.  Having another soul to rely on can make a situation a lot less frightening and a lot more safe.  A dog, for example, can be not only an extremely loyal companion, but an excellent source of security.

General Positives and Negatives of Owning a Dog for Protection


Safety – if you live in a big city, bad neighborhood, etc. having a dog can be a constant reassurance of safety, and in general the image of a dog being with you makes you less susceptible for attack

Confidence/fulfillment – achieving goals with your dog is motivating and helps you feel accomplished

Companionship/emotional support – having a dog can be highly stress relieving

Socializing – you meet a host of people when involving yourself in training dogs


Responsibility comes with owning a dog – and that means time on the owner’s part.  You gain respect and loyalty through your efforts, however, which is well worth it.

Expenses, such as training and maintenance costs

There’s a chance of aggression in a high-drive dog if mis-trained or improperly bred

Frustration and difficulty – dogs can be very hard to understand for the uninformed, and it can be difficult to help them learn something when you are unaware of how they learn.  At times, dogs also can be stubborn, which is why consistency is extremely important.  Getting all others who may live with the dog on the same page can also be cause of further hindrance.

Remorse if your dog is hurt or killed from protecting you

Choosing a Breed

If you don’t already have a dog, or are considering obtaining one for safety, than there are some more capable of protection than others.  It’s also important that you find a reputable breeder, preferably one specializing in high drive dogs (dogs that are not docile, but love to work), with a healthy and impressive pedigree.

Great breeds to work with for personal protection:

  • German Shepherd
  • Malinois
  • Dutch Shepherd
  • Rottweiler
  • Mastiff (variety)
  • Pit Bull (variety)
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • Dogo Argentino
  • Cane Corso
  • BoerBoel
  • Ridgeback (variety)
  • Akita Inu

These such dogs could be effectively trained to not only watch, but act.  There are certain breeds designated to alert (many small breeds), and others to react quickly – the protection dog.  The German sport Schutzhund (literally “protection dog”) has rules  and a scoring system which are effective standards of everything a protection dog should be able to do – obedience, tracking, and protection.  Tracking is often the least interesting when dealing with personal protection, and more appealing to police and investigative work.


There are drawbacks with this method of safety assurance, such as the costs of the dog itself (a good German Shepherd on average is $1300.00), maintenance, as well as having the patience, time, and money to train.  You’ll need the proper equipment, such as body suites or hidden arm sleeves, which are rather expensive, and not easy to make from scratch.


Giving the dog the ultimate amount of exposure possible is also necessary, such as preparing him/her for as many situations as you can.  Mondeo and French Ring Sport are great sports which challenge the dog’s courage and reaction traits.

Situations to be prepared for:

  • Yelling/threatening
  • Gun Shots
  • Attacking from a car window
  • Assault on owner or dog itself
  • Masks (on the offender)
  • Attacking in narrow spaces
  • Purse snatching
  • etc.

The more varied the environment and situation the dog is trained in, the better suitable he/she will be as an attack dog.

Considering a Dog for Protection?

The first place to start is to find a reputable breeder, with proper papers to prove a satisfactory bloodline in the dog.  In America, AKC certified dogs do not mean a dog is of good quality, so keep this in mind.  Germany, on the other hand, has very strict breeding practices in their country as far as qualifications go.  It’s best to do your research beforehand.  Note that if you already have a dog, it is very possible to train him/her in protection – it just may take more time and effort.  It will not always happen, as some dogs are simply just too docile/submissive.

Secondly, you should supply yourself with proper equipment and a trainer if you don’t wish to self-educate.  Good trainers usually have titled dogs in protection sports, or have a list of references of the work they’ve accomplished.  If you get a puppy, train early!

Dogs have shown to be courageous hero’s in wars, police work, and for personal guarding.  Most dogs have an intuition in and of themselves, and are aware of their surroundings when need be, making dogs an excellent form of defense.


Published inSelf Defense, Security, & Shooting


  1. time2ride time2ride

    2 things I would like to see here or maybe as a follow-up post. One is the concern and added challenge to stock up food to feed and care for a dog if SHTF. The other is the value in a SHTF situation of a hunting dog. They may not be as intimidating as a GSD but they can be trained to be more protective, they bark to sound an alert AND they chase off nuisance animals protecting your home and food supply PLUS you can take them out and find more food. Hunting dogs also tend to be better rodent dogs and that can also be a bonus.

    • Anonymous Anonymous

      Thanks a really good idea. Maybe I can find an expert to make a guest post…

  2. Preppingtosurvive Preppingtosurvive

    Very timely topic. I have been giving this a lot of thought lately, especially with regards to our livestock. They (poultry especially) are picked off pretty regularly. Great Pyrenees are usually good for livestock, as are Anatolian Shepherds, but sometimes they don’t attach to people very well or wander off if not enclosed in a fence with animals to protect. I want a multi-purpose dog. We have 2 “porch ornaments” (Dane mixes) which scare some people at first by their size, but they are very docile and not at all protective.

    Not sure what we should do. Are any of those breeds above good for both personal protection and livestock? I don’t need my own dog eating our chickens.

    There are LOTS of petty and not so petty thefts around. I’ve personally caught 3 different people driving up our long driveway to case/rob our house. I expect to see more of that kind of stuff as the economy continues to tank.

    I looked into Mastiffs over the weekend. I saw no inclination to protect livestock and some indication that they are iffy with children. We have a bunch of those, who would like to lavish love on another dog, and they are part of what we want to protect.


    • Anonymous Anonymous

      We have a Great Pyrenees ourselves, he has been well socialized, but the other day while my wife was walking the dog, a man approached to quickly and he did growl, so I am happy he is worth his feed….

    • time2ride time2ride

      You don’t think if it very often but German Shepherds WILL protect livestock. They are a Shepherd, they were original bred for herding and still retain those characteristics – some times more so in different lines. Especially in perimeter herding back in Germany the dog was shown the perimeter in which the owner wanted the livestock kept and with training it was the dog who kept the livestock in the designated area. We have a GSD that is a big time herding dog. While he get great enjoyment out of moving (some people see this and think he is chasing them – it simply takes a little training to turn chasing into herding) the horses or chickens around – he is also very defensive of them. We have no trouble with coyotes, stay dogs, raccoons or other trouble makers. On a side note – German Shepherds and Rottweilers (yes they are herding dogs too) are often used with cattle as opposed to sheep. Certain cows can become accustomed to herding dogs like Australian Shepherd and Collies and can learn to ignore them or intimidate them. Rotties and Shepherds are not intimidated and don’t let cattle push them around and can be very effective in this manner.

      We have another GSD who could care less about the livestock – but is exceedingly protective of his pack and property. It seems to be the perfect mix. We are the only house on our rd that hasn’t been broken into for 10 years.

      For the record my neighbor also had two Great Pyrenees he had with his cows. When i would go for a walk in the neighborhood, their bark as you approached the fence felt like it rattled my bones. You could not pay me enough money to try sneaking up on his place in the middle of the night.

      • Preppingtosurvive Preppingtosurvive

        Thanks for your input. I will keep it in mind. I’ve always thought that GS were very prone to hip dysplasia pretty early on, though. Has that tendency been bred out now?

        I’ve been doing more research. I spoke to another breeder last night after doing more reading.

        The things I had seen before were for “rescues” on places like Petfinder (that are great organizations, but I realize now are not the places I need to look). Those animals often have special issues, were mistreated, don’t trust humans, etc and would not suit my needs. I’m pretty certain I will need to buy a puppy to raise with our family in order to have it bonded and protective of all things we own.

        The personality of the Mastiff seems to fit best so far. I didn’t find any reports of health issues. They are very good with children, cautious and protective without being outright “aggressive,” not prone to wandering off, and by nature guard whatever they are raised around, even cats according to one thing I read. They are reported to “read” their owners actions about strangers and react accordingly. If in doubt, they are more likely to slowly, menacingly advance, even pin an intruder (they can be 200+ lbs) rather than going for the kill. It’s very important to us that we not worry our dog will attack our children’s friends.

        • time2ride time2ride

          It depends on what lines you are looking at. Hip problems are more prevalent in show lines of GSDs than working lines (because they breed for the sloping body line, and more refined bone structure and working lines are not bred for those things). Our two are from working lines – and we have had no troubles with them.

          Rescues can be tough because they can require alot more rehab and retraining work, which can make them not suitable for beginning dog owners – but most problems can be over come, with an experienced owner and time. From what I have heard GSDs do re-bond to new owners and are just as protective. But you will have that unknown element for bloodlines and not know if your rescue will someday succumb to hip dysphasia. So you are probably setting yourself up better by going with a puppy from a reputable breeder.

          Mastiff is a good choice as well, but there are many lines of those too. Be sure you pick a kind that will get up off it’s butt and protect your family and home. One of my friends’ has one and the dog thinks the world is coming to an end if he has to actually get up and go do something…LOL! On the other hand our dog trainer has a breeding pair African Bull Mastiff’s (they are used to chase off lions and elephants down there) and they don’t mess around with strangers, are plenty active, and great around kids.

          It’s great you are doing your homework – so many people don’t, and that’s why there are so many homeless dogs…

  3. James James

    I love this article. I would not sleep at night while my husband is working out of town if I didn’t have my dog. He’s a Karelian Bear Dog/Bullmastiff cross. He is a lot of work because he’s so high energy but he’s my big protector 🙂

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