Most dogs are instinctively protective of their owners and families. However, not all dogs know how to effectively protect their family in a threatening situation. Training your dog to have the skills he needs to warn off an attacker before the situation escalates provides effective protection. Some breeds are more naturally protective than others and harnessing and directing these behaviors so you have an effective protection dog will prove more successful than training a dog that lacks confidence. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is one of those naturally protective dogs. Sometimes 'Staffies' are referred to as 'The Nanny Dog' because of their ability to guard and because they are naturally good with small children in their home. This trait can be harnessed to make a 'Staffie' an excellent protection dog as his instinct is to guard and protect his 'people' from threats. If you are interested in training your Staffordshire Bull Terrier to be a protection dog, make sure you have the resources available, the assistance of a reputable professional trainer, and that you are aware of regulations in your area involving 'bully breeds'.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is fearless, tough, and oddly enough, nurturing of their people. This combination of traits will make an excellent protection dog, providing that their protective behaviors can be controlled and directed. This is where training your Staffie is important. You will want your dog to respond immediately to threats and, with complete control, to directions to break off aggression. Staffies are very loving dogs and training them with attention and praise can be effective. You will not only need to teach your dog to 'heel', 'sit', 'stay', and 'come', but also to 'Leave It', 'Sit-Stay', and 'Down-Stay' so that you can call off protective behavior when it is misplaced. Exposing your Staffie to lots of different situations is important. To be protective, you will train your dog to bark when necessary, and if you feel that further protective behaviors are required, you can train your Staffie to attack to protect you. But you must also ensure you can call off attack behaviors. Attack training should only take place with the guidance and resources of a professional trainer.
She won't learn to stop using the bathroom in her kennel over night. Also, I want her to learn when to bark at a stranger or when to attack.
Hello Dre Neal, First, make sure that her crate is the correct size and does not have anything absorbent inside it, including a soft dog bed or towels. If you want to add bedding, look into PrimoPads.com for tough, non-absorbent waterproof beds. The crate needs to be big enough for her to lay down, stand up, and turn around, but not any bigger. She should not be able to pee in one end and stand in the other end to avoid it. If she can, then the crate will not encourage her natural instinct to hold her urine. Also, clean the crate with a pet safe cleaner that contains enzymes. The enzymes will break down the poop and pee molecules that she can still smell if you used any other type of cleaner or no cleaners before. It must be enzyme based. Simply look on the bottle and something like Natures Miracle should say enzyme on it somewhere if it contains that. Look at her feeding and sleeping schedule, that could be the issue. Make sure that you are taking away all food and water two hours before bedtime, so that she will be empty by the time you take her to go potty last thing before bed. When you take her to go potty, take her right before you put her in her crate and turn out the light for the night. Not forty-minutes or an hour beforehand, but right before, and set up her sleeping area so that she will actually go to sleep when you put her in there and not be woken up by people, other animals, lights, or the TV. Her body is only able to hold her urine for longer while she is asleep. She should be able to make it ten hours overnight if you do the things above. Right when she wakes up the next morning, she will need to go potty because he bladder will become active again too. Take her out right away, don't wait. If she is still having accidents after that, then she needs to be check out by your Veterinarian, especially if she cannot go for longer than four hours during the day. She might have something medical that is going on that is effecting her bladder capacity. That could be as simple as an infection that could quickly be treated with antibiotics. To teach her to bark at strangers you can teach her a command that means "Speak" but use another word, like "Who's That?" or "Pay Attention", and whenever you see a stranger give her the cue to bark., with practice she should start to bark on her own when she sees someone, to get a treat. You do not want to encourage actual aggression, simply awareness and appearing intimidating. To teach her to bark, check out the article that I have linked below and decide what you want her cue to be, likely something more discrete than "Speak", and use your own command word in place of the speak command while teaching it to her. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-to-speak To teach her when to attack, take her with you to as many places as you can and work on her obedience while encouraging calm behavior and focus. You want her to observe a huge amount of all different types of people, so that she will learn what is and is not normal. When she is with you and around a lot of people and being taught to be calm and focused through obedience, she should become more aware of your own reactions to people, people's body language, smells, and what is and is not normal to watch for. When she understands what is normal, then she will be more likely to react appropriately when something is not right and people's body language and smells are different than usual. You can also do formal Schlutzhund or protection training with her for further help, but that should only be done through professional training, either a trainer or through a club, where you can learn from others with more experience. It involves high level training and control. The dogs who do it are not actually aggressive, they are rewarded for being extremely obedient and in-tune with their handlers and training, so that they react exactly as they are taught in certain situations. These dogs are very well socialized, highly trained dogs, who understand when it's work time and when it is not. These are the only ways that you should ever train a dog for protection, otherwise you create a dog who is dangerous to you and everyone, and not just dangerous people. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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I have recently rescued nico and am unsure if she is too old to train as a guard dog to me
Hello Liz, She is likely too old to train for true protection work because things related to age could effect her work, like arthritis pain, mental decline, vision issues, hearing loss, and fatigue. She is probably not too old to train a few tasks that could help keep you safe though, like barking when someone approaches uninvited, learning to pay attention to strange people better so she is more aware if something is unusual, and staying close to you when you tell her to. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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I want to teach her protection and when to attack strangers of danger i want to know when to bark at strangers and to heel everything else she basically knows
Hello, Protection training requires a high level of obedience, socialization, off-leash reliability, trust and respect. Protection training - where the dog is trained to actually bite in a dangerous situation is something that I only recommend a professional with years of experience with such training do - if done wrong by someone less experience you can actually ruin a dog and create terrible aggression instead. Protection dogs are typically trained using drive training - which is like a form of positive reinforcement, where the dog is rewarded with tug of war type bite bag for biting an assistant in a padded body suit who is pretending to attack, not through fear or intimidation to get them to bite. Protection dogs are actually socialized extremely well around people prior to the training so that they are friendly and confident around people when not working, and not spooky or mean. This allows them to tell when someone is acting normal or suspicious - because they understand what normal human behavior looks like, and for the owner to bring the dog places with them safely to protect them instead of being a hazard in public due to aggression. Look for a trainer who understands these things and has a lot of success working with dogs such as Police Dogs and privately trained protection dogs - training protection work. As far as barking, a trainer can help you with this part too, but this is something that can be taught more easily on your own than bite work. To help with this area I would need to know a bit more about what you are wanting to teach. Are you wanting to teach pup to bark at all strangers, strangers who come onto your property, strangers who are acting "suspicious", or just strangers that approach you in general. There are a lot of specifics that you have to decide about when and how often you want pup to bark. The training is then practiced in those locations around people, who are doing those types of things, commanding the dog to "Speak" in those situations, then rewarding pup. After lots of practice you slowly phase the Speak command out and just practice that situation, waiting for pup to bark on their own, then rewarding, giving a Speak command hint if pup doesn't bark after a few seconds (you will need volunteers to help with this part most likely - such as someone to practice walking around your yard suspiciously while you command your dog to "Speak!" and reward him for barking). https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-to-speak For the heeling, check out the article and video linked below: Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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