The Presence of a Protection Dog

When using a dog to thwart danger, an obedient and sizable dog may be the best choice.


Guard dog
Many people want a dog who will make bad guys think twice about bothering them, but according to dog trainer and retired police K9 handler Julia Priest of Galt, Calif., the reality of a “protection” dog can be quite different than folks imagine. “Walking around with a protection dog can be riskier than carrying a loaded gun,” she says.

“A trained protection dog can inflict serious damage, and unlike a gun that does nothing independently, the dog may respond if the owner forgets the dog’s watching and starts wrestling with someone in fun,” Priest says. Because absolute obedience always remains a priority, training never ends with a protection dog and responsible owners must learn to become qualified handlers.

Priest says the best canine defense for most owners is a well-behaved dog who heels, sits and lies down on command. This offers a high-profile presence that others notice.

Medium to large size adds to that presence as does proper conditioning – an overweight dog looks less impressive than an obviously fit canine. For travel, train your dog to ride wearing a car harness, providing a more visible deterrent than if she travels in a crate or behind a barrier.


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Marlene   Welland, ON

4/4/2012 9:06:19 AM

Properly trained "protectin dogs" have a distinct advantage - they have a on and off switch. Making them a safer than the average house dog. However, any RESPONSIBLE trainer would not train just any dog for the money - they also have the responsiblily of ensuring the stability of the owners prior to any training, and then a complete breakdown of the dog to ensure it is balanced.

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Terry   Orlando, FL

11/7/2011 4:57:03 PM

Priest is a retired K( handler, NOT a protection dog trainer. Protection dog training is completely different from the training an LEO patrol K9 recieves, as is the desired temperament of the dog.

I have Dobermanns trained for protection, and have been training dog in protection for years. I have NEVER had a dog bite without clear provocation or explicit command. How many 'pet' owners can say

Advising people that a large obedient dog without bite training is safer is ludicrous. It breeds false confidence, and if the dog ever faces a true threat, it will likely blow it's anal glands and run or hide. If it does try to fend off an attacker, and the attacker submits, the dog likely won't call off on command. So not so great

This article was paramount to telling people that real guns are prone to shooting on their own, so they should carry toy guns painted to look real. Not good.

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Hannah   Malvern, AK

2/6/2011 11:46:00 AM

A well-trained Protection dog will not Quote "the dog may respond if the owner forgets the dog’s watching and starts wrestling with someone in fun"

#1. the handler will know better then to wrestle with someone. The person should be aware at all times that the dog is

#2. Most protection dogs do not attack on there on will. Most will wait for a command from the handler

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Janet   Bethlehem, PA

12/31/2010 9:27:03 AM

Amazing what some dogs are able to learn

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