An Introduction to Personal Protection Dog Training

Personal protection dog training may sound like a great way to teach your dog to protect your property. However, most dogs don't have these instincts and won't make good protection dogs. If you have any questions about your dog's capabilities, consult an experienced protection dog trainer.

Components of Protection Training

Protection competitions involve courses where dogs guard objects and lunge at people dressed in full body suits to bite them when they leap out at them or stand across long distances. For the dogs, this is more like a game than an act of aggression. Though it does involve barking and biting, dogs are taught to do this through games, leading them to believe the competitions are fun and exciting.

Thus, personal protection training often begins with simple games of tug, using toys that progressively look more and more like objects they are expected to bite in competition. During training your dog will be taught to lunge and bark at sacks or bite sleeves on command. Owners can then use this command when protection is needed at home.

Temperament Testing

However, before any of this begins, your dog will have to be temperament tested to determine if he is suited for protection work. If your dog barks at other dogs or people on this street and seems to have a short fuse, he is actually not suited for protection work.

Because your dog will be taught to use his mouth as a weapon, your dog must be calm and well-socialized so he will only attack when told, not when frightened. Aggressive dogs are not suited, nor are fearful dogs.

A good protection dog is very calm and sweet. Most of the time, they are very friendly with strange people. It is less important that your dog be friendly with all dogs, but a true protection dog is friendly all the time, unless told otherwise.

However, your dog also must have a high prey drive. If your dog doesn't try to chase rodents or love games of tug, he may not have the right energy for protection work. This can be trained, but a strong prey drive is largely instinct.

Beginning Training

Training involves teaching your dog to utilize his prey drive on command. This usually begins with games of tug, increasing in intensity. You can begin this with any type of toy, but special protection toys are best if that's your goal. These can be found on protection websites and are often scented to make them more enticing.

To build prey drive, do not leave these toys lying around. They should only come out when you are going to play with your dog, to make them more exciting.

Begin by playing with the toy with a partner or alone. Don't allow your dog to get to it. Tease him but keep it just out of reach. After a minute or so of this, begin to play with your dog.

Always end the game when your dog is still excited to play. Thus, if your dog gets bored after 3 minutes, only play for 2. You can gradually build the length of the game.

If your dog loves these games and you think he may have the correct temperament, consult a professional protection dog trainer to help you. Because this can be dangerous, a novice should not attempt it.