This is footage that my friend Dave sent me, of his young german shepherd dog. Dave’s a new dog owner and wanted to know my thoughts as to whether his dog had enough drive to someday do personal protection work.
¨I have read your book and what a difference it has made!
You are a wonderful trainer and I look forward to reading more of your publications. I keep up with your web site and you are posting very informative information– keep up the good work! I will share with you some background information about my situation…
I adopted an 8 month old male Rottweiler from a rescue not far from my house on January 5, 2001. His name is Gideon and he is the most wonderful dog I have had the pleasure of being around. He was nutritionally neglected and physically abused before I adopted him (which made his training a little more difficult for me because I had to really be careful about negatively motivating him). He is very obedient and has a wonderful down-stay I might add! He minds very well and is non-destructive in the house. Great dog! He plays very well with other dogs (male and female).
When people come over to visit, they really like him and he is friendly to everyone– even strangers. This is my problem: I live alone and although I love his disposition, I would like him to let me know when someone is knocking on the door (he doesn’t even bark) and just overall be a little more protective. I by no means want him to be aggressive! I would just like him to be somewhat protective of me and my house. I have read some of your articles online and picked up on what people refer to as a “control switch.” Is this something I can teach my Rottweiler? Any information would help. What kind of training could I pursue with him to change his behavior slightly to act more like a protector. He is kind of a sissy 😉 I know with his background this may be somewhat difficult, but I have his whole life to work with him Thanks in advance as I know your information is valuable.
Have a great day and I look forward to hearing from you very soon
– Brian Phillips and Gideon.”
There are a couple of issues you need to understand.
First, your dog is still a puppy. I know he looks a lot like an adult dog… but he’s not. It’s usually not until the dog is 9 months to 1 ½ years-old before we see dogs start to become territorial. Furthermore, Rottweilers are generally not dogs that bark a lot anyway. They are typically much less vocal than other guard dog breeds such as the German Shepherd dog or the Doberman.
Secondly, I would urge you to be very specific in asking yourself WHAT “being more protective” means. I have no idea what this is. And your dog probably doesn’t either. See, in the dog’s mind everything is very black and white. Either he’s friendly and sociable or he’s not.
Most people don’t actually need a dog that will do protection work. If a potential assailant isn’t already intimidated that you’ve got a Rottweiler in the house, then the truth of the matter is that:
YOU DON’T NEED A DOG, YOU NEED A GUN.
The dog’s best role for most people is as a deterrent to crime or as an early warning system. If your attacker is so intent on causing you harm anyway, the dog doesn’t make a very good weapon in light of the amount of liability it possesses.
I’ve done a complete 180 degrees on this issue from my earlier days as a dog trainer. I now feel that most people don’t have the time, discipline or awareness to properly handle a protection trained dog. Nor are they willing to invest the necessary time investment. (Upwards of 100 hours, plus weekly maintenance of 3 to 4 hours per week.)
(Please note: I said MOST people… not ALL people.)
I recently downloaded and read your “Secrets” book and have to tell you how refreshing it is to find someone else with common sense! I’ve been involved in “dog sports” since the late 70’s and have trained and titled in both AKC obedience and Schutzhund.
I’ve taught classes with a few groups and given private lessons as a ‘sideline’. I’ve always trained under the principle that all dogs are different and that what works well with one will not necessarily be so good with another.
Like you, I am NOT “politically correct” and have not jumped on the “clicker” bandwagon and the “positive reinforcement only and the ban the “pinch collar” school of so-called “trainers”. My position cost me
acceptance into the NADOI (I got over it), [Editor’s note: I don’t know what NADOI is, either… probably some pseudo-professional association] BUT two different judges made the remark that mine was one of the “happiest” Rottweilers doing obedience work that they had seen and several of my “students” have earned various titles, so something must be working!
Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I thoroughly enjoyed your book and tapes. One of my long time “dreams” has been to do “dog work” as a full time job – I’m 45 & getting short on time I know! I will be ordering your Dog Training Business Kit in a few weeks and look forward to forward to a working relationship with you in the future. Keep up the good work.
I hope you and your loved ones have a great holiday season.
For the Sport!
– Chris Amick