How to Train Your Dog to Protect Your Family

Medium
4-8 Weeks
Work

Introduction

Most dogs have a natural instinct to protect the members of his pack, which in this case happens to be you and your family. Often, a family dog will also protect members of your extended family and close friends. However, while this may be a natural instinct in some dogs, you may have to teach your pup to behave in accordance with these instincts. Of course, you should keep in mind that the intent here is to train your dog to protect you, not to become an attack dog, which may require special licensing or even be illegal in your town, county, or state.

The best age to start training your dog to protect you and your family is when he is still very young. This doesn't mean you can't teach an old dog to do the same. One thing to keep in mind, however, it will take longer to train an older dog than a younger one. Also worth noting is that the more loyal your pup is to you and your family, the more active his desire to protect will be; it will also make it easier for you to train him. 

Defining Tasks

While your dog is already a very important member of your family, training him to protect you will on only increase this value. Once trained, your dog will always be on the alert, checking for strangers and threats to any member of your family. Bear in mind that your dog sees you and the rest of your family as part of his pack. As such, you should be seen as the Alpha leader and the rest of your family as part of the pack, one that it is his nature to protect from strangers and other forms of danger.

How well he will protect or how easy your dog is to train is in part dependent on his breed. Some, like Doberman Pinschers, German shepherds, and Rottweilers are natural protectors and require minimal training. The idea is to train your dog to bark and act in a slightly menacing manner towards strangers, you are not teaching him to attack. You are training him to be a protector, not a killer. 

Getting Started

Before you start training your dog to protect you and your family, you must first ensure he is fully competent in the basic commands, including 'sit', 'stay', 'quiet', 'come', and 'down'. Along with this, you need to make sure your pup is fully socialized, or you will have to include this in the training. This means socialized with people and other animals.  Of course, there a few things you need to go along with the training, including:

  • Treats: As a reward for the right behavior.
  • Leash: For training and keeping your dog under control.
  • Places to train: Choose several areas where there are other people and dogs.
  • Time to train: Training your dog to be protective is going to take some time.
  • Patience: Your pup needs you to be very patient, your pup will get it figured out soon enough.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that by training your dog to protect, you are only enhancing what is a natural instinct. Take your time, be patient, and in time your efforts will pay off. 

The Panic Word Method

Most Recommended
3 Votes
Step
1
Choose your panic word
You need to choose a panic word that can be used by any member of your family from the youngest to the oldest. Be sure you choose a single word that is not something common like "bark" or "attack", pick something like "panic" or even "help".
Step
2
Use an enthusiastic tone
When you give your pup the command word, you need to be happy and enthusiastic. Believe it or not, this works better than using an angry or frightened voice.
Step
3
When a stranger approaches
The average dog is likely to bark any time a stranger approaches. Take advantage of this behavior by having a stranger to your dog come to your front door and ring the bell. At the moment your dog first starts to bark, give him the command word. Let him bark for a few seconds and then give him the 'hush' command. When he does this, be sure to give him lots of praise and treats.
Step
4
Keep practicing
You will need to keep repeating this step using the combination of ring the bell, bark, hush, treat until he is able to associate the command with the action. This could take several days or longer.
Step
5
The outside world
Time to go for a long walk with your dog on his leash. As you walk along, arrange to have several people he knows and several he doesn't position themselves along the way. Let those he does know give him a treat and pet him. This reinforces the concept of friends. Then have those he doesn't know approach, give him the panic command. When he barks at them, gently pull back on his leash, tell him to hush, and when he does reward him. This reinforces the concept of stranger danger.
Step
6
The rest is up to you
The rest of the training program consists of lots of practice. In time, your dog will know how to discern between the good and bad guys and how to protect you on command.
Recommend training method?

The Leash Tug Method

Effective
2 Votes
Step
1
Clip on his leash
Clip your dog on his leash and take him for a walk.
Step
2
Going down the road
Walk your dog down a predetermined path with a group of people he knows and doesn’t know scattered along the way. As he meets the "nice" people let them pet him and give them a treat.
Step
3
The "bad" people
When he comes upon the strangers, give him a gentle tug on the leash as a cue. When he barks at them, let him give three barks and tell him to 'hush'. (Your pup should already know how to follow this command, but if not, try the steps in the 'Speak' method). Praise and reward him, this helps to reinforce the behavior and will soon lead to your feeling safer with your dog there to protect you.
Step
4
Repeat
Keep practicing this step until your dog masters the concept and will bark to alert you and protect you when a stranger approaches.
Step
5
Final test
In your yard with your pup on a leash, have other members of your family hold him while "strangers" approach. Have them use the leash tug and 'hush' cues and when he acts accordingly, be sure to reward him with lots of praise and treats.
Recommend training method?

The Speak Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Train your dog to be a socialite
If you are going to teach your dog to protect you and your family, the first step is to train your dog to be social. This means taking him out to the park where there are lots of people and other dogs. Let your dog get used to "good" people who will fuss over him, pet him, and even give him treats. While you are out, run the gamut of basic commands and each time he obeys, give him a treat. This lets him know who is the Alpha leader in the pack.
Step
2
Train the panic command
Have someone your pup doesn't know come to the door and knock or ring the bell. The moment (as close as you can) your pup starts to bark, use a "panic" command. Choose a word that you don't normally use and that is very simple. For example, you could use "panic" or "now." Repeat this process until you can anticipate his barking and make your pup bark using only the command word. Be sure to treat him for getting this one right.
Step
3
Train the hush command
Once your dog will bark on command, the next trick is to teach him to stop barking on command. To do this, allow your pup to bark no more than three times than give him a 'hush' command. Use "hush" or "stop" and instantly reward him when he stops barking. Repeat both of these steps until you have full control of when and how he barks.
Step
4
Become a barking coach
It is quite natural for your dog to bark at strangers. The goal here is to take what is a natural response and put it to use by teaching him to bark and protect you. When your dog barks at a stranger, allow him to bark no more than 3 times. Give him the 'hush' command and when he stops, give him a treat.
Step
5
Repeat for success
Repeat training will teach your dog the right time to bark and the right time to be quiet.
Step
6
On the leash
Clip your dog on his leash and stand inside your front door. Have a friend ring the bell. The instant your dog starts to bark, give your panic command word. Give him three barks and then tell him to be quiet. When he does, reward him with a treat.
Step
7
Out in the yard
Time to head out in the yard, starting with your dog on his leash. Have someone your dog doesn't know approach. Once again when your dog gets ready to bark, give the 'panic' command and give him the same three barks. Tell him to 'hush' and when he does, praise him and give him a treat. Practice makes perfect, just be patient and in time your dog will learn to protect you and the rest of your family when strangers approach.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Sasha
American bully
5 Months
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Question
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Sasha
American bully
5 Months

To protect me and my family

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
104 Dog owners recommended

Hello, to train Sasha in a safe way, you will have to contact a professional in the field. This is necessary so that Sasha, your family, other people, and other dogs are free from danger at all times. I will say that a well-behaved, well-trained dog does form a bond with the trainer and may have a natural tendency toward protection and loyalty. Sasha will have to go through obedience classes either way - she'll be a big and strong dog and you will want her to obey you so that you can control her well when on walks and in social situations. Call a dog training facility near you to get the basic training started. To begin teaching her commands at home, take a look here for excellent tips: https://wagwalking.com/training/obedience-train-a-great-dane. Good luck!

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Gordon
Bullmastiff
2 Years
0 found helpful
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Gordon
Bullmastiff
2 Years

All of these methods require a dog who barks. As a Bull Mastiff, my dog naturally does not bark. Are there any tips or tricks for dogs who do not bark?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
836 Dog owners recommended

Hello Raven, Will your dog growl? If pup will growl, then I suggest practicing something like tug of war to get him to play growl, and adding a cue word like "Watch" when he growls, then reward the growling. If he won't growl during play but will during other times, you can also catch him when he is naturally growling, like when he sees a cat outside the window, and say "Watch", then reward - doing this each time you catch him growling. Working on structured obedience, like a structured heel can also help with the intimidation factor. Walking down the street with a dog very tuned into you and at a heel is more intimidating than a dog who looks like they would run after the nearest cat if given the chance. Finally, you can teach pup to watch people and even to come over to you to alert you when they see someone. Have a friend your dog doesn't know well walk past your home and pointing the person out to your dog. Reward your dog whenever they watch the person. Practice this with a variety of different people until pup watches people in your area. Once pup will do that, if you want to add an alert, you can also teach pup to come get you if a person gets within a certain distance of your area. A growl will be more intimidating, but watchfulness is a good guard dog skill too add. True protection training where a dog is taught to bite and hold a person should only be done by a qualified professional trainer who specializes in that. Done wrong, it can cause fear aggression in a dog instead of useful protectiveness. True protective training is typically done using forms of positive reinforcement - often tugging and biting a bite bag for fun, and utilizes a dog's natural defense drive - which needs to be naturally present also. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Keanu
German Shepherd
5 Months
0 found helpful
Question
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Keanu
German Shepherd
5 Months

Getting him to bark at strangers he’s not a natural speaker I can get him to speak on command most of the time but never at strangers

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Gus
Basset Hound
16 Months
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Question
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Gus
Basset Hound
16 Months

My dog doesn't stand up for himself. He loves to play with other dogs, but if they are mean or try to hump him he just gives up. How do I teach him to stand up for himself?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
836 Dog owners recommended

Hello Sommer, Honestly, you can't directly teach your dog to stick up for himself better without it leading to aggression. Some dogs will learn how to as they age and are well socialized but you never want to encourage a dog to become aggressive - even when they are being pushed around. Instead, it's your responsibility to protect him whenever you can safely do so. If you show your dog that you will handle issues, he will likely learn to come to you when there is a problem to let you handle it for him, instead of just being bullied. You have to be careful when you do this to avoid potentially dangerous situations with other dogs yourself though. For example, with my own dogs we work up to an off-leash level come at an early age while not at the park - so that my dogs are reliable at the park later also. If there are a group of dogs beginning to fight, I call my dog over to myself to prevent her from becoming involved. If I see my dog being pestered by another dog and potential trouble, I call my dog over to myself, then calmly and confidently tell the other dog to leave - your body language is the most important part of being able to effectively do this. My body language is calm but very confident and firm - I mean what I say and dogs recognize that. If my dog continues to be bullied we go over to another section of the park. Pay attention when you first get to the park. You will notice which dogs' body language looks proud and like they are looking for a challenge vs. calm and relaxed. Go to the part of the park where the more relaxed dogs are hanging out. If the bully dog continues to follow us to the other part of the park, we leave for the day. Period. It's not the most fun thing to do, but you have to look out for your dog. Pay attention to which groups of dogs go to the park when. If you can time it so that you go to the park when a calmer group of dogs goes, do so. Dogs have different temperaments and different dogs get along with each other. Find ones that are more your dog's own speed. Advocating for your dog can make your dog feel more confident. They may not view themselves as the one in charge at the dog park (which you don't really want either), but if they see that you are in charge and not the other dog, and they know they can trust you, that can help him feel more secure. Again, be careful when interacting with others dogs - don't be afraid to calmly ask another owner to help you get the dogs apart when their dog is pestering yours if needed - then you be the one to take your dog to another part of the park so that the other dog doesn't just come right back. You have the struggle of a dog that is very submissive, that other owner is dealing with a dog that lacks manners in certain areas...Be sure to have compassion for each other as pet parents, you are both learning. My own dog River was very submissive while young and constantly picked on. She learned to look to me when nervous because of all the off-leash training I did with her and how I advocated for her around other dogs. When there is an issue, she looks to me to handle it, but she will also stand up for herself as needed now. She has become my best doggie assistant when I work with other dogs who struggle with dog-reactivity or need to be socialized. She is the dog I take with me to client's homes who have puppies who we want to socialize around other dogs, and the dog I use to help me desensitize client's dogs to dogs. She is fantastic with other dogs now. Also, consider that there could be other activities that are better for your dog than going to the dog park. Activities that also boost confidence and socialize him with other dogs in a calm way - such as having play dates with a couple of friends and their calmer dogs, joining an agility class (tunnels, weave polls, and A-frames can still be done by hounds), going on a group dog walk or dog hike, tracking groups, or walks through your neighborhood with a friend and their well mannered dog. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Kacey
Pitbull lab mix
5 Years
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Kacey
Pitbull lab mix
5 Years

I have always want my dog to protect me since she already attached to me. She barks but only at intruders. I was wondering if anyone can help me with that. That would be great!

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
104 Dog owners recommended

Thank you for the question. As mentioned in our guide, protection is the key word, not aggression or attack. The fact that Kacey barks at intruders means that she has a protective streak already. However, you do want to make sure that your dog is well socialized so that you can bring her on outings and have company over without her being overly protective or aggressive. My best advice is to take Kacey through all of the obedience levels so that you have a well-behaved and trained dog that has bonded with you. Knowing her obedience commands will allow her to listen to you when you really need it. All the best!

Can I call me to explain how to get started trinning my dog

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How to get your dog to be pertectves
Pit bull
10 Months
0 found helpful
Question
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How to get your dog to be pertectves
Pit bull
10 Months

Right now he likes to play and play but my jeans and he don't Brock at people cloes to the houes and people he don't know

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
836 Dog owners recommended

Hello Marvin, First, know that most natural protective tendencies tend to show up after the first year - pup may naturally become more protective with age if you work on establishing a relationship of trust and respect between you through consistency, and thorough socialization so that pup learns to tell what the difference between people acting suspicious and people acting normal are. I suggest starting by teaching pup the Speak command. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-to-speak Once pup knows that command, whenever someone passes your home, command pup to Speak. Reward with a treat when they do. Practice this until pup starts to speak on their own when they see a person pass by before you have given the speak command - in an attempt to get a treat initially. When pup does that, watch out the window and wait seven seconds between when pup spots a person and when you give the speak command to give pup an opportunity to speak without the command first. Reward enthusiastically if pup does so. If pup doesn't, give the speak command and reward with just one small treat then. Practice until pup will bark whenever he see someone walk past. Recruit friends pup doesn't know, and practice having people come up to your door and doing the same routine with speak whenever they enter your property. Practice until pup barks without needing the speak command when the person gets close. Also, practice the quiet command from the Quiet method linked below some, so that you can tell pup when to stop barking. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-to-not-bark Whenever you catch pup observing people in locations when you don't want them to bark necessarily, reward their awareness of people to help pup learn to be observant of surroundings when with you as well. If pup has a good defense drive, and you want further training, you can also pursue protection training with a professional - but training that involves things like bite work should only be done working with a professional who specializes in that. When done wrong it can lead to fear biting and biting the wrong people - including you. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Anatolian Shepard
Kangal
8 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Anatolian Shepard
Kangal
8 Years

I want to make him very very deadly and dangerous and more powerful so that he can easily kill a humam

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
836 Dog owners recommended

Hello, You need to hire a professional protection dog trainer. Done wrong, you can create a dog who is fear aggressive and will not be under voice control and will be more of a liability to you than protection. True protection training requires a high level of off-leash obedience around high distractions, working with a dog's natural defense drive using positive reinforcement - via bite bags and the tug response, and building a dog's confidence rather than instilling fear. This should only be done by a professional who knows how to accomplish those things without creating unwanted issues. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Qween
Pit bull
5 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Qween
Pit bull
5 Months

I just need her to guard me

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Jojo
Pit bull
3 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Jojo
Pit bull
3 Years

I have a large private patio with a neighbor who is threatening to come onto my property. I would like my dog to be able to bark and alert me if he ever does. My dog is very good with regular commands but never barks. He will growl slightly when people come to the door but that’s it. He’s quite meek and I’m not sure if he can become trained in basic protection because of this. Any advice is greatly appreciated

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
104 Dog owners recommended

Hello, whenever protection skills are sought, I always prefer to refer the dog owner to a professional who can work first hand to make sure that the safety of all involved is the priority. Being able to control Jojo in all situations is essential. I would start with taking him to obedience classes. The bond that is formed there is often enough to allow the innate protective nature to shine through. In this case, Jojo will also learn skills like recall and leave it, necessary for safety and good behavior. If you are looking to solely teach Jojo to bark when someone approaches, try the Bark at Strangers Method here:https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-rottweiler-to-be-protective. All the best!

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Shephard
German Shepherd
2 Weeks
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Shephard
German Shepherd
2 Weeks

Protect your house

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
836 Dog owners recommended

Hello Vitumbiko, Work on commands that build impulse control and respect for you at this age - that will lay a great foundation for more formal protection training later. Continue to pursue socialization with pup even though that can seem counter-intuitive, because a good protection and guard dog needs to know what's normal in the world, especially around people, so that they can tell when something is wrong correctly and not just react to everything and be unreliable. Good socialization also boosts confidence. Getting pup around a lot of people and places is great, but also work on pup's manners and obedience in those settings so pup is learning to focus on you around those exposures - like practicing heeling past people at a park, a Down-Stay at an outdoor shopping area, sitting for being petted, ect... To help pup learn better self-control and focus, practice the following commands over the next few months. Work up to pup gradually being able to do these things around distractions and for longer periods of time. For example, work up to an hour long Place command, heeling past people at the park, holding a Down-Stay while you walk away at the park while pup is on a long training leash and harness. Those types of commands can also help with respect and trust for you - which is important for guarding work later. Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Out - which means leave the area: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Leave It method - good for the mouthing too: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Place command: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O75dyWITP1s Down-Stay: https://www.thelabradorsite.com/train-your-labrador-to-lie-down-and-stay/ Heel- Turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Off- section on The Off command: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-train-dog-stay-off-couch/ Come - Reel in method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-whippet-to-recall Check out the article linked below for good respect building tips: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Many dogs will naturally guard if it's in their genetics and you have laid a good foundation of respect and obedience, once they mature mentally between 1-2 years of age. If pup doesn't, you can also teach pup to bark automatically when someone enters the property and be more watchful in general using reward based training. For anything that would involve bite work, you would need to pursue training with a professional protection trainer who knows how to utilize pup's defense drive, build confidence, utilize rewards like a bite bag and tug, and have the right staff and equipment to practice things like arms holds - this training should only be done with a professionals help and should not encourage fear or true aggression when done correctly - it's more like teaching pup a task, teaching alertness, obedience, building confidence, and encouraging a natural defense drive - opposed to poorly done training that encourages suspicion and fear to get a bite from the dog. To teach pup to bark, first teach pup the Speak command. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-to-speak Once pup knows the speak command, recruit friends pup doesn't know to step onto the property or come to the door while pup watches from a window or inside somewhere. Command speak and reward with a treat when they do. Practice with telling pup to speak each time the person is there, until pup barks on their own when the person tries to enter without saying speak. At that point, have the person come onto the property, wait seven seconds to see if pup will bark on their own, reward if they do, and command speak if they don't - then reward but give a smaller reward when you tell pup opposed to when pup does it on their own. Practice until pup will bark each time someone enters the property. Practice with different people you can recruit, that pup doesn't know so that pup will learn to do this with anyone who enters the property and not just that one person. Draw pup's attention to people outside or people on your property, and reward pup when you see them watching someone in general - so that pup will begin watching people and staying more alert as a habit. Pup doesn't have to bark to reward this one - just reward when pup is watching someone and you notice that. I also recommend teaching the Quiet command, so that you can tell pup when to stop barking after they alert. Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Minx
Siberian Husky
2 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Minx
Siberian Husky
2 Months

I would want my two month to learn how to protect the house no I

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
836 Dog owners recommended

Hello Amber, Over the next 6 months, work on commands that will gently build impulse control and respect for you at this age - that will lay a great foundation for more formal protection training later. Pursue socialization with pup even though that can seem counter-intuitive, because a good protection and guard dog needs to know what's normal in the world, especially around people, so that they can tell when something is wrong correctly and not just react to everything and be unreliable. Good socialization also boosts confidence. Getting pup around a lot of people and places is great, but also work on pup's manners and obedience in those settings so pup is learning to focus on you around those exposures - like practicing heeling past people at a park, a Down-Stay at an outdoor shopping area, sitting for being petted, ect... To help pup learn better self-control and focus, practice the following commands over the next few months. Work up to pup gradually being able to do these things around distractions and for longer periods of time. For example, work up to an hour long Place command, heeling past people at the park, holding a Down-Stay while you walk away at the park while pup is on a long training leash and harness. Those types of commands can also help with respect and trust for you - which is important for guarding work later. Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Out - which means leave the area: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Leave It method - good for the mouthing too: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Place command: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O75dyWITP1s Down-Stay: https://www.thelabradorsite.com/train-your-labrador-to-lie-down-and-stay/ Heel- Turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Off- section on The Off command: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-train-dog-stay-off-couch/ Come - Reel in method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-whippet-to-recall Check out the article linked below for good respect building tips: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Many dogs will naturally guard if it's in their genetics and you have laid a good foundation of respect and obedience, once they mature mentally between 1-2 years of age. If pup doesn't, you can also teach pup to bark automatically when someone enters the property and be more watchful in general using reward based training. To teach pup to bark and be more alert, first, teach pup the Speak command. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-to-speak Once pup is at least 6 months old and pup knows the speak command, recruit friends pup doesn't know to step onto the property while pup watches from a window or fence. Command speak and reward with a treat when they do. Practice with telling pup to speak each time the person is on the property, until pup barks on their own when the person enters without saying speak. At that point, have the person step onto the property, wait seven seconds to see if pup will bark on their own, reward if they do, and command speak if they don't - then reward but give a smaller reward when you tell pup opposed to when pup does it on their own. Practice until pup will bark each time someone enters the property. Practice with different people you can recruit, that pup doesn't know so that pup will learn to do this with anyone who enters the property and not just that one person. Draw pup's attention to people outside or people on your property, and reward pup when you see them watching someone in general - so that pup will begin watching people and staying more alert as a habit. Pup doesn't have to bark to reward this one - just reward when pup is watching someone and you notice that. I also recommend teaching the Quiet command, so that you can tell pup when to stop barking after they alert. Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark For anything that would involve bite work, you would need to pursue training with a professional protection trainer who knows how to utilize pup's defense drive, build confidence, utilize rewards like a bite bag and tug, and have the right staff and equipment to practice things like arms holds - this training should only be done with a professionals help and should not encourage fear or true aggression when done correctly - it's more like teaching pup a task, teaching alertness, obedience, building confidence, and encouraging a natural defense drive - opposed to poorly done training that encourages suspicion and fear to get a bite from the dog. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Sarge
Ridgeback
2 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Sarge
Ridgeback
2 Years

We rescued Sarge from a home where he was beaten about a year ago. He's come a long way but a few issues I am finding challenging to train
He is fine around my 5 year old, the cat, our little dog, other small children, most adults but children around 10 he will rear. He once was off lead and ran up to a child playing who was friendly and he jumped on him and started barking aggressively. I eventually got him back on lead and was extremely apologetic but now I can't let him off lead because I am so worried he will do the same. How can I train him with this without putting a child at risk?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
836 Dog owners recommended

Hello Danielle, This is definitely something that needs to be practiced with a trainer in person due to safety concerns. First, using measures like crating and desensitizing him to the muzzle are important first steps - the kids are first priority and need to be kept safe, and being allowed to act aggressive toward them will make the behavior in him worse, so don't feel bad about doing those things. Those are responsible first steps. Check out the videos linked below on desensitizing aggressive dogs to kids. Notice the safety measures always taken though and be sure to implement similar measures - crates, back tie leash, lines for the kids not to cross, constant adult supervision anytime there is an interaction between the kids and dog, and a basket muzzle. You can work on teaching pup to respect the kids and be more comfortable around them via desensitizing and their respect for you and your rules. Once pup is doing well, I still would not allow him to be around the kids without a lot of structure and precautions in case since pup does have a history - but training needs to be in place so that aggression is no longer the norm. Just know that even when pup does well, they shouldn't be completely trusted still since they have shown a lack of impulse control around kids and could bite. Explanation of why dogs often bite kids (the dog in this video who is closer to the kids doesn't have aggression issues - which is why you don't see the extra precautions taken, like in the rest of the videos I have linked - extra safety measures will be needed when practicing - such as a muzzle, back tie leash, crate, and greater distance between pup and kid): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7_0ZqiJ1zE&t=122s Use of crate, Place and tether leash: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9n0_27XY3z4 The dog is attached to the pole with a secure leash while on Place - notice the tape on the ground the kid knows not to cross - to keep the kid out of the dog's reach in case the dog lunges: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gblDgIkyAKU Teaching dog to move away from kids when uncomfortable: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYs76puesAE Later stage, up close desensitization - even though kids are close, there is still a line and pup is still on a back-tie leash so that pup can't actually get to kids to bite if they tried...This is a later stage exercise for pup once they can do well with the other above scenarios: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIJoEJfTS-E There is a good chance pup has been teased by kids since they are fine with younger kids. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Floofy
Great Pyrenees And Newfoundland mix
2 Months
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Floofy
Great Pyrenees And Newfoundland mix
2 Months

How do I train my dog not to jump up on me because she will be really big soon and i dont want her to knock people over

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
227 Dog owners recommended

Hello! Here is information on jumping. Jumping: Teach your dog that they receive no attention for jumping on you or anyone else. Teach your dog to do something that is incompatible with jumping up, such as sitting. They can't sit and jump up at the same time. If they are not sitting, they get no attention. It is important to be consistent. Everyone in your family must follow the training program all the time. You can't let your dog jump on people in some circumstances, but not others. Training techniques: When your dog… Jumps on other people: Ask a family member or friend to assist with training. Your assistant must be someone your dog likes and wants to greet. Your dog should never be forced to greet someone who scares them. Give your dog the "sit" command. (This exercise assumes your dog already knows how to "sit.") The greeter approaches you and your dog. If your dog stands up, the greeter immediately turns and walks away. Ask your dog to "sit," and have the greeter approach again. Keep repeating until your dog remains seated as the greeter approaches. If your dog does remain seated, the greeter can give your dog a treat as a reward. When you encounter someone while out walking your dog, you must manage the situation and train your dog at the same time. Stop the person from approaching by telling them you don't want your dog to jump. Hand the person a treat. Ask your dog to "sit." Tell the person they can pet your dog and give them the treat as long as your dog remains seated. Some people will tell you they don't mind if your dog jumps on them, especially if your dog is small and fluffy or a puppy. But you should mind. Remember you need to be consistent in training. If you don't want your dog to jump on people, stick to your training and don't make exceptions. Jumps on you when you come in the door: Keep greetings quiet and low-key. If your dog jumps on you, ignore them. Turn and go out the door. Try again. You may have to come in and go out dozens of times before your dog learns they only gets your attention when they keep all four feet on the floor. Jumps on you when you're sitting: If you are sitting and your dog jumps up on you, stand up. Don't talk to your dog or push them away. Just ignore them until all four feet are on the ground. Please let me know if you have additional questions. Thank you for writing in!

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Harley Quinn
German Shepherd
4 Years
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Harley Quinn
German Shepherd
4 Years

We have an approximately 4 year old dog that we adopted a little over a year ago. We just did her DNA. She is German shepherd, samoyed, American Husky & Rottweiler. She doesnt even bark when people come to the door. I want to train her to bark & look mean when necessary. I am a single woman mostly home alone being my kids are older. I am hoping to get her to be a little more protective if possible.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
836 Dog owners recommended

Hello Penny, You can either hire a professional protection trainer to train pup formally, or you can work on teaching pup to bark when someone comes onto the property and generally be more alert of surroundings, on your own. For any bite work, you will need to hire professional help though. To teach pup to bark and be more alert, first, teach pup the Speak command. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-to-speak Once pup knows the speak command, recruit friends pup doesn't know to step onto the property while pup watches from a window or fence. Command speak and reward with a treat when they do. Practice with telling pup to speak each time the person is on the property, until pup barks on their own when the person enters without saying speak. At that point, have the person step onto the property, wait seven seconds to see if pup will bark on their own, reward if they do, and command speak if they don't - then reward but give a smaller reward when you tell pup opposed to when pup does it on their own. Practice until pup will bark each time someone enters the property. Practice with different people you can recruit, that pup doesn't know so that pup will learn to do this with anyone who enters the property and not just that one person. Draw pup's attention to people outside or people on your property, and reward pup when you see them watching someone in general - so that pup will begin watching people and staying more alert as a habit. Pup doesn't have to bark to reward this one - just reward when pup is watching someone and you notice that. I also recommend teaching the Quiet command, so that you can tell pup when to stop barking after they alert. Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Bear
Black labodor
6 Months
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Bear
Black labodor
6 Months

should I do this with my dog he is so sweet and kind but we live in a bad area.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
836 Dog owners recommended

Hello Mariah, Only you can decide what you want your dog to learn. Done correctly, you can teach alertness and intimidation without encouraging fearfulness or true aggression in your dog. It's very important to purpose socialization, where pup learns to love those you are comfortable with still. Since you don't want pup to become aggressive, only to look intimidating, if you decide to train pup, I would recommend the Speak method, so that pup is still being thoroughly socialized and is learning when to become quiet after barking. What you don't want to do is encourage fearfulness or true aggression, but a dog who is under your voice control and is alert can deter many people still by looking intimidating and by keeping an eye out for suspicious behavior. https://wagwalking.com/training/protect-your-family Many confident dogs will naturally bite if their people are in danger, but for any formal bite work training, I would hire a professional protection trainer to work with you in person, who uses primarily positive reinforcement type methods to reward the dog for biting and holding using things like bite bags and games of tug - so that the dog is becoming confident, self-controlled, and learning to bite on cue, and not due to fear or true aggression. There is still an increased liability with any dog being taught such work, but the right type of training is far better for maintaining a great disposition in your dog than someone who uses a lot of intimidation to train bites. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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