Aside from being your best friend, dogs have protective instincts.
While it’s known that dogs can be trained to do many things including sit, stay, fetch, and even protect, those who are fairly new to the concept of dog ownership may wonder if their new pup needs any specialized training to protect the property.
Of course, when dogs are young and chewing on a pair of your shoes, it is hard to imagine that they could grow to be protectors, especially if they have a friendly nature.
So, this begs the question: What training (if any) is necessary to teach a dog to protect its owners?
Will An Untrained Dog Protect Its Owner?
Usually, an untrained dog will protect its owner. However, it is purely dependent upon the presence of a natural protective instinct which is largely based on an individual dog’s personality. Additionally, a dog’s protective capacity may be influenced by its breed.
The Basics of Obedience Training
Although training may not be necessary for your specific dog to protect you, especially if your dog is a naturally protective breed, your dog’s friendly demeanor could have you questioning whether or not they have a protective instinct.
If this is the case, you may want to go ahead with behavioral training. This begins with obedience training.
True, commands such as sit, stay and give me your paw may seem like they have absolutely nothing to do with teaching a dog to protect its owner, but these basic obedience skills must be taught before your dog will have the capacity to complete more advanced training.
While it is certainly possible for you to teach your dog these basic commands at home, you can seek the assistance of an experienced dog trainer if this proves to be challenging.
Socialization is a recommended part of effective dog training, so it’s advisable to expose your dog to other pets, and new people and environments.
You’ll also need to speak each command firmly and clearly, so your dog understands that you mean business.
It’s especially important for your dog to learn to obey the commands to bark or stay quiet during the training process.
Training Your Dog to Control Their Impulses
Many dogs behave differently in the presence of strangers.
While some dogs may bark, growl, or even attempt to bite an unknown guest, other dogs go wild with excitement when they meet a new person.
Each dog’s behavioral instincts around strangers are individual to that dog and dependent on their particular demeanor and personality.
When a dog is exposed to strangers, they will impulsively act upon their individual instincts, whether it be growling or wagging their tail while they lather the visitor with sloppy kisses.
Impulse control training involves incorporating basic obedience techniques while your dog is in the presence of visitors.
Basically, it’s teaching your dog to sit and stay while you have company over.
You’ll also need to teach your dog to bark when a stranger knocks on the door if they don’t already do so, and reward them accordingly.
Teaching Your Dog Their Territory
Animals are often territorial by nature, so this step shouldn’t prove to be all that challenging in most cases.
Once again, you’ll be building on the initial basic obedience lessons by combining them with a post-lesson run around the perimeter of your property.
Although your dog likely already knows where his home is, this will teach them the specific area that they are expected to protect.
Of course, it’s not all about just protecting the home front, but protecting the people who live within the home, including the dog’s owner, but when it comes to dog training, the concept of protecting people and property often goes hand in hand.
Training Your Dog to Protect The Home in Your Absence
Naturally, you want your dog to protect you, but that’s an instinctual response that is further developed through bonding with your dog.
While that remains the ideal goal, the reality is that there will be times when your dog is home alone or there with other household members in your absence.
Once you become more confident in your dog’s ability to protect the property, leave them alone in the yard occasionally, and allow them the time and opportunity to practice their new skills on their own.
Continued Practice and Testing Your Dog’s Protective Abilities
Of course, practice makes perfect, so continue with the lessons periodically and gradually increase the level of distractions during each lesson to perfect your dog’s focus and resilience to tactics that unwanted prowlers may use to gain your dog’s trust.
Finally, once you are comfortable with your dog’s capacity to protect you, test their abilities by asking an unfamiliar person to approach the yard and reward your dog when he responds appropriately.
Frequently Asked Questions About An Untrained Dog Protecting Its Owner
What Dog Breeds Are Most Protective of Their Owners?
Although a dog’s protective nature depends on its individual personality, some breeds are known to be more protective than others. This includes German Shepherds, Rottweilers, and Doberman Pinschers, but some areas may have breed restrictions.
What Is the Most Aggressive Guard Dog?
Hands down, the most aggressive dog is the American Pitt Bull Terrier. However, Rottweilers and German Shepherds have also been known to have aggressive tendencies.
What is the Most Loyal Dog?
When deciding on a good dog for protection, it’s wise to look at loyalty instead of aggression alone, as aggressive dogs can be unpredictable and difficult to train, whereas loyal breeds may bond with their owners easily and protect them due to instinct alone. The most loyal dog breeds are Yorkshire Terriers, Doberman Pinschers, German Shepherds, and Golden Retrievers.
While it’s certainly possible for an untrained dog to protect its owner based on a strong bond and protective instinct, you can’t always solely depend upon your dog’s instincts.
Certain breeds are naturally more protective than others, while some dogs simply have a lovable demeanor.
Fortunately, you can increase the chances that your dog will come to the rescue when needed if you follow the steps mentioned earlier.