This week’s post is by my good friend Mike Ritland. Mike and I go way back, in fact we were BUD/S classmates and did our first SEAL platoon together.
He has some of the best and most well trained dogs in the world and he hooked me up with Castor (it is one of the deadliest plants), my new personal protection dog. I can attest that having a dog is one of the best investments you can make. People have no problem investing $10-30k in a security system but scoff at spending that kind of money on a great dog. If given the choice I’d take a dog all day long.
Thanks for another great post Mike.
A Woman’s Best Friend
One of the most frequent questions I get asked by people regarding personal protection (PP) dogs is, “what is the best breed for PP?”
My first response is usually, “well, how much time do you have?” My point is that there isn’t really an easy answer to this question, and just like taking your time deciding whether or not you want to get a dog, you should take your time to decide which breed is the best fit for you.
I think the best comparison to be made is saying that it’s much like when we get asked which gun is the best to own for self-defense? Well shit, that depends on a lot of things now doesn’t it? It depends on who is using it, where they are going to be using it, what capabilities does the user have, how much experience do they have using them, how physically capable are they, and how much time are they going to have to do sustainment training with them?
All of these questions should be asked regarding dogs as well. You see, there is no right answer when it comes to the question of which breed to use, there is only a list of intangibles that we must know to make a sound recommendation on what fits your personality and lifestyle the best.
For ease of making a blanket recommendation, I would break it down into 3 categories.
This pretty much includes any dog. Realistically having a dog of any breed helps as a deterrent, and obviously the bigger and more physically imposing the better. These dogs don’t have to necessarily be defensive and edgy, but it certainly helps to ward off would be attackers. Upkeep is easy, they are just pets, maybe they bark at strangers at the door, maybe they don’t. No sustainment training is required, and the ease of taking care of the dog is as good as it gets.
2. Traditional Protection Breed
These are your Dobermans, Rottweilers, Mastiffs, Shepherds and any other dog that makes most people think that it would be a bad idea to kick the door in at the house they live at. Again, the bigger and more imposing the dog looks, the better chance you have at staving off an attack just based on the peacock feather approach. In terms of sustainment training, it’ s as much or as little as you can do with the dog. However, unless the dog has both the proper genetics and has been brought up correctly in terms of apprehension and handler protection type work, they are just frankly not going to be much of a formidable adversary when push comes to shove. Yes, these dogs may get between someone and their owner, they may nip at someone or growl or seem like they aren’t going to take any shit from an intruder but if someone is intent on doing harm and is willing to get after it with the dog; the dog, and you, are in trouble. Here is the good news, most times that is all you need to keep assholes from trying to do you harm.
3. World Class Pipe hitters
Ok, these are the dogs that when someone decides that they are going to bust in your house, take your purse at an atm, or god knows what while your on a stroll through the park, that are going to make them realize they just made a huge fucking mistake and wish they had a “do over”. These are Malinois, Dutch Shepherds, and some German Shepherds. Now before you say, “sign me up!!!” these dogs are also the ones that cost a fortune, take an inordinate amount of sustainment training to keep sharp, and also ones that you aren’t going to get away with making many of same correctional mistakes you would with your average “dog”. As with anything, there is a trade-off with something that brings that much more to the table.
This is merely an over simplification of the basics of a personal protection dog. However, should you find yourself in the market for something like this, I would say heed the following: Anyone who is worth their salt as businessman and trainer will take each client on a case by case basis and make recommendations based on the whole picture, and not just try to sell you the moon and laugh all the way to the bank. There are certainly some instances where the “ a protection dog just isn’t a good fit for your situation” should be applied, but unfortunately it isn’t.
The happy medium in my opinion is to get a dog that looks the part, and have a reputable protection dog trainer work with you both to get some defensive behaviors reinforced in the dog, and keep it up on a regular basis. The upkeep on the dog is much less extensive, and you have some wiggle room on not being perfect in terms of timing for correcting and rewarding the dog as needed.
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From Stylist Sally Lyndley @For Those Who Notice (FTWN.com)
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