There are many people in the world who are interested in having a dog for personal protection. Whether it’s because they are well known, they live in a certain part of the world where the streets may bring danger, or they simply feel safer with a protective pup by their side, personal protection dogs are top of the line defensive animals. The breeds that are typically chosen for this type of work generally have a reputation for being particularly intimidating, not to mention highly intelligent. Among them are the German shepherd, the Belgian Malinois, the Rottweiler, and the Doberman Pinscher.
The Doberman particularly carries an air of menace with its sleek, black coat and its thin, yet powerful body. Popularized in media and reality both, the Doberman is a smart choice for any owner who is in search of a dog for protection training. The breed is intelligent, quick, highly responsive to training, and fiercely protective of the family. However, protection training is not for the faint of heart. Defending the home may seem like something a dog is born to do, but in the wrong hands, an improperly trained protection dog may very quickly become a dangerously aggressive one.
Protection training is more than just being able to intimidate and attack, as movies and television are prone to showing. It is a rigorous set of training regiments that not every dog may be suited for, whether or not his breed is ideal. Temperament is an important factor when it comes to protection, immediately disqualifying dogs who are anxious, nervous, fearful, or overly friendly.
Protection involves advanced obedience and pairs it with a dog’s prey drive, then relies on the owner’s level of control to end an altercation. To train a protection Doberman, he must not only be able to make snap decisions and respond when you are in danger, but he should also be able to release on command and return to you once the incident has been de-escalated. With obedience training beginning as soon as your puppy is old enough to bring home--at about eight weeks old--you should start early and expect to continue training for a year or more before you can safely rely on your Doberman as a protection dog.
There are several things you will need to get started with protection training. Before anything else, your Doberman should be temperament tested and should receive a health check from a veterinarian to ensure that he is capable of protection work. Once you receive approval, training should begin immediately.
Determine if your dog is food or toy motivated and use that in order to start training obedience. Other items that will come in handy are a six-foot leash, a sturdy muzzle, and a bodysuit or protection sleeve for attack training. When possible, training should be supervised by a professional in order to prevent injury.