A dog by instinct will be protective towards his master and the other members of the family. It will also be protective towards people who frequent the house such as family friends. However, there are some measures which can be taken by you, in order to help your dog save you from harm. Protective dogs need not always act like conventional guard dogs and can instead take on roles of aid-dogs. These dogs help their disabled or unwell masters, in carrying out basic functions, which they themselves cannot do. Even though it is easier to train dogs while they are still puppies, an older dog can also be trained to protect its master.
Tips for Training Your Dog to Protect You
Use Proper Commands!
A dog acts according to how it has been trained. Never underestimate the significance of commands while training your dog. If you expect your dog to protect you, you must make it very clear to the dog that it is supposed to come to your rescue. The only way to do this is through commands, or your own body actions and sounds. Command the dog to attack by saying the word "Attack" loudly. Use a prop which can represent the threat or enemy.
Command your dog to attack that specific prop. Soon enough, whenever you use the command 'Attack!', your dog will understand that it needs to fight the thing you are pointing at. While you are training the dog to attack, you must also train it to stop the attack. Use the command 'Stop Attack!' whenever you want the dog to stop attacking the prop.
It is very important to introduce your puppy to people and let him interact with them. A good guard dog is friendly around people and children. This exercise is very important, because it will help the dog understand and differentiate between good people vs. bad people. People who are safe, will be those he is allowed to come close to and those who are allowed to pat him. The second way to let the dog know that the person is unsafe, is to use a leash while taking your dog out for a walk.
When you do not wish someone to pat your dog or want your dog to scare something or someone away. You should pull the leash away from the object of threat. The fact that the leash is being tugged by the owner will let the dog know that, it must be aware and keep his master as well as himself away from the object.
Teach Night Guarding
Teach your dog to keep a check on the house by taking it around the house and making it sniff the area. You will need to do this a couple of times, so that the dog understands that it needs to keep a check every night. After a few days, the dog will begin to do this exercise on its own, it will check the house and return indoors. This will help your dog, train as a guard dog.
If your dog does not come inside, you will need to command it to get back. Use the command, "Come" and it will return indoors.
Reward for Good Behavior
Giving rewards such as a pat, hug, verbal praise "Good Dog!" or treats is an excellent way of letting the dog know that you are happy with his behavior. Since you are the master, it is your responsibility to make sure the dog is rewarded for its behavior and punished for bad behavior. Punishment involves scolding the dog, by using the command "Bad Dog!" Or "No, Very Bad!".
You will also need to use punishments such as leaving your dog to stay alone in its kennel and restricting it from coming to you. This will help the dog learn that it must not do certain things, as it upsets you.
Disadvantages of Aggression Training
Professional Training vs Home Training
There is a general conflict of opinion, over whether it is wise to train your dog on your own, to become an aggressive / guard dog. Many truly believe that it is a very bad idea, to encourage your dog to act aggressively at your command. Professional trainers as well as many dog owners believe, that dogs must be trained by seasoned dog trainers and behaviorists, as they can predict the reaction and aptitude of the dog.
The fact is, that not all dogs are meant to act as protectors, and when given the option between flight or fight, they will choose to flee from danger. While on the other hand, some dogs will instinctively come to your rescue, the moment they sense your distress, without any prior training.
When Training Backfires
There have been instances wherein home-trained dogs have shown aggression towards the master and family members. Such blunders take place when the dog is taught to be aggressive continually and therefore doesn't realize where it should stop! A guard dog can turn into a grim nightmare, if not trained in a controlled manner, which is why professional training is a must.
Expensive Licenses and Legal Hassles
An aggressive dog is a liability and requires special permits and expensive licenses for owning such a dog. Secondly, in case your dog physically attacks another human being or someone's pet, you will be held responsible for the damage and will incur fine and legal warnings. If the instances occur often, the law may require you to put down your dog and have it destroyed.
Following these basic steps, can go a long way in teaching your dog to guard you and the other members of the family against danger. The most important requisite is to treat it with a lot of love and care. This does not mean that you pamper your dog. Remember that the dog must treat you like its master and not as an equal, only then will it protect you efficiently.