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You cannot go wrong with a German Shepard or a Doberman if your main priority is to have a working dog that will be deterrent. Between their bark, their look (oh my those teeth are white and sharp!) and their reputation. Most criminals will just pick another house.

I have young kids so I personally would probably not have either of those breeds. If I lived alone, maybe a German Shepard, because I love them, but that's a lot of dog, and I'd like my kids to be a little older. A buddy of mine had three Dobermans and he swears by them, although not the dog for me, and that is OK. A Rottweiler will also send a potential criminal looking for a better opportunity that is less of a hassle. Remember, most criminals are lazy, and a lot of them are stupid, they will choose easy victims.

Any dog is good though, as long as they like to bark when they sense something isn't right. The noise is a deterrent.

A friend of my wife's was telling us how she had a German Shepard and the house next door to her was broken into. The Police came to interview her to see if a anyone saw anything, and the German Shepard was sitting there watching the Police Officer very closely.

It turns out in the course of the interview the officer mentioned that her other neighbor was also recently broken into. My wife's friend was like, oh no should we be worried?

The Police Officer noted the dog and said, no probably not, they probably saw that dog, and decided to not even chance it.

Criminals hate dogs, they will leave houses alone that have dogs and just go someplace else. Too noisy, too many teeth.

I have two dogs that are as sweet as pie. we spoil the daylights out of them, so as a result they are both extremely protective. They like to announce their presence to strangers and they are serious about guarding their territory.
 

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+1

"Criminals hate dogs". I think the noise more than the bite, because a barking dog has the same feel as a huge spotlight shining down on your actions. But then, no one likes to get bit by a dog - any dog.

But as important as breed is, the pedigree of the dog is equally important. German shepards are often used as guard and military dogs because of the mix of natural aggression combined with intelligence and desire to please their owners and handlers. But take this same dog and focus the breeding on just escalating the aggression part of their nature, and you have the Czech Shepard - a dog bred abroad for its aggressive and savage tendencies. These dogs were for a long time denied entry into the United States for just these tendencies. People smuggled them in however, because they wanted the toughest and most intimidating guard dog they could find. Big difference between these dogs and normal German Shepards.

That being said, other then barking making thieves nervous and warning the owners, dogs are over-rated as deterrent because of bite. Sure, some dogs have extraordinary jaw strength - the top of the pack is over 700 pounds per square inch. But with a dog, you only have one head containing one set of teeth to deal with. The rest of the dog is pretty much benign unless it is a large dog that hits you with a full head of steam.

I raised Rottweillers for 25 years and my first pair were the best guard dogs a person could hope for. Intelligent, loving, but very protective. The next one was a show dog imported from Germany from a very aggressive line. One of the most beautiful dogs I have ever seen, he won all his early dog shows - passed obedience training at the top of his class but had a flaw. The aggression that was bred into him through a long line of aggressive German Schutzhund dogs would occasionally surface in a terrible way. It was like the turn of a switch would occasionally turn him into a crazy psychopathic attack dog. I got my clothes shredded by this 140 pound dog 3 times and he tried to kill me once by sinking his canines in my thigh all the way to the bone and then going for my throat. But as I said earlier, you control the head and you control the dog. Holding his head away, he couldn't land another bite. Speaking to him, he finally calmed down enough so I could lead him to his run and lock him up.

Dogs are much more easily killed, contained or controlled than most people believe. And if you wish for a naturally more aggressive dog for guard duty, let us hope that he will guard you from lawsuits should he decide to bite someone not intent on criminal activity.
 

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We have three dogs, it can be a real zoo at times! The boss is a 6 pound Yorkie / Chihuahua mix, he barks at any noise outside. You couldn't get within 25 yards of my house in a windstorm. He hears everything.

We also have a 10 year old Black Lab. She is a great family dog, she loves everyone and will totally ditch you for a treat. I think she would sell us out to a thief if he had a dog biscut. Not a guard dog by any means, but she is very intuitive, I completely trust her character judgement of strangers. If she growls at a person I am on red alert.

Last is our German Shepherd. She is only 6 months old but is already guarding my home and children. She is only 60 pounds, but is very muscular. I think she will end up around 80 pounds or so. Her bark is very intimidating as is her overall look, that alone would detour the majority of criminals.

Any criminal that would get past my three dogs would have to face my Arsenal SAM7SF that is always ready to back the dogs up, and the AK47 has a fierce bite!
 

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I have been deterred more than once by a seriously pissed off Chihuahua with an attitude. Size did not matter in such an event.
 

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AS noted by several people above, do you want an alarm dog or an actual protection dog? Weather is important. General environment is important. What will your insurance company say about it is important. (Here in the People's Republic of California getting homeowners insurance if you own some breeds of dogs is either difficult and pricey or impossible.) You want to ask about this BEFORE you buy an expensive dog.
 

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The only way I was able to get insurance on my home in California with 2 Rottweillers was to lie by omission. When they asked if I had dogs, I had to change to subject to something that implied that I didn't have dogs. This was important because if I couldn't get insurance, the bank would renig on my loan.
 

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Shar-Pei thousands of years of breeding to be a guard dog. I have two, a male and female. They patrol the property, patrol and search the house. They don't chase or even care about other dogs or animals. They just sit, patrol and watch. They actually seem to have some sort of reasoning ability, If someone shows up they don't even bark or threaten, they just sit and watch. They have razor sharp teeth and are 55 and 60 pounds of solid muscle. They weren't my first choice of dog, I'm a sporting dog type of guy, my wife and kids fell in love with the wrinkles. Turns out they are one of the best guard dog breeds around.
 

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I think it could be most any dog. We used to have a mixed breed dog, and I think that she would really bite a stranger, if she felt that stranger was a threat. We had to be careful with her. She didn't trust too many people outside of the family. We used to have a large German Shepard and she was an absolute sweetie pie. Not a evil bone in her body. She would probably show a burglar around as to where all the good stuff was. We had a couple of Chihuahua mixed breed dogs and those two were absolute terrors. loud barking, nipping at the heels, and carrying on like crazy dogs. They were fast, you couldn't kick fast enough to chase them off. But they were very lovable to us though. I don't think any stranger they didn't like would be able to do anything with them around. A friend of mine had a couple of Dobermans and those two dogs were shy lovable sweet animals too. So it is hard to say what dog would be good or not as a guard dog. I tend to lean towards Chihuahuas though, they are amazing little dogs.
 

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Great thread, great stuff. I was always fortunate enough to have dogs when I was younger. Not as fortunate over the last decade or so. Miss my buds. Man's best friend, for sure. (Aside from 1911s.)
 

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The next one was a show dog imported from Germany from a very aggressive line. One of the most beautiful dogs I have ever seen, he won all his early dog shows - passed obedience training at the top of his class but had a flaw. The aggression that was bred into him through a long line of aggressive German Schutzhund dogs would occasionally surface in a terrible way. It was like the turn of a switch would occasionally turn him into a crazy psychopathic attack dog. I got my clothes shredded by this 140 pound dog 3 times and he tried to kill me once by sinking his canines in my thigh all the way to the bone and then going for my throat. But as I said earlier, you control the head and you control the dog. Holding his head away, he couldn't land another bite. Speaking to him, he finally calmed down enough so I could lead him to his run and lock him up.

Dogs are much more easily killed, contained or controlled than most people believe. And if you wish for a naturally more aggressive dog for guard duty, let us hope that he will guard you from lawsuits should he decide to bite someone not intent on criminal activity.
Damn, that must have been nerve-wracking having that dog bite you like that.

How long did it take you to recover from that injury?
 

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Damn, that must have been nerve-wracking having that dog bite you like that.

How long did it take you to recover from that injury?
Not as long as one would think. I was limping around for quite a while but payed a lot of attention to cleaning the wound and keeping it clean - lots of irrigation at first, lots of changing of bandages etc. But I was pretty used to patching myself up from this dog even before this instance as I mentioned. He had already bitten and torn the inside of my arm and wrist as deep as his canines would reach - he only missed the radial artery by centimeters. I used to go to emergency and they knew me and my dog by name. They don't have to report a dog bite as a dangerous dog if it is the owner that is bitten. I was still a bit worried that this dog would be reported and I absolutely LOVED this dog - which is why I put up with all his nonsense. So since my wife was a nurse, I just had her sew my arm up on 2 different occasions. Amazing how tough the skin and flesh of the arm is to put a needle through. Learning experience for me.
 

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toofew; I cant believed you loved a dog that tried to kill you. I would not own a dog that bites its master. What if he had done that to your wife. To much liability here, I would have terminated his employment quickly after that attack.
 

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toofew; I cant believed you loved a dog that tried to kill you. I would not own a dog that bites its master. What if he had done that to your wife. To much liability here, I would have terminated his employment quickly after that attack.
Amen Mike ..... Unfortunately, had to terminate a "rescue" Doby that my wife brought home when he lunged to bite my granddaughter as I picked her up. Love dogs and have been fortunate to own and/or work with many great, life saving LE "partners" during a 30 year career.
 

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This is a picture of my devil dog as a puppy. The second pic is all grown up. I finally ended up having to put him down. He could no longer walk up the stairs to my bedroom because of bad hips, but it was his last attack that made the decision that I couldn't trust him in public anymore. I used to keep him in his own spacious dog run and adjoining yard but when I moved, didn't have that luxury anymore. When I had him out for a walk on his leash (heavy steel choke chain actually for control), he got excited over a cement rabbit, and when I wouldn't let him have any more time whining at the rabbit, he attacked me when I pulled him away.

People gave me the strangest looks as I walked this now very orderly and obedient dog down the sidewalk on the way home, with my dress shirt and dress slacks torn to ribbons and dangling from my appendages. You could see my whole naked leg up to my hips through tattered and torn long shreds of fabric. He didn't get me, but he sure got my clothes.
 

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I'm late to the party, I just came across this thread. I'll put my responses in colored font:

As to the first part, we do agree. A golden retriever might very well try to guard his family, but he is not likely to fight an intruder. That is a tough thing to teach.

As to the second, that is kind of an older way of seeing protection and working dog drives. Nowadays, most dogs are trained in prey drive, not in defense drive.

When you say "most dogs", you'd have to clarify what you're meaning. If you are talking sporting dogs, maybe. Working dogs, no. With patrol dogs, we look for and train with all three drives; play, prey, defense. Play drive for detection work, prey drive for apprehension/ tracking, and defense for some bitework. A dog that has only been trained using only prey drive may look outstanding in certification, but implode on the street. Some defense work is needed for all patrol dogs to see if they are going to stay in the fight. When they are getting punched and choked on the street is not the time to find out if they will stay in the fight.


There are a couple of reasons for this. First, a dog is comfortable in prey drive. It is genetic. Dogs, and wolves, are very bad hunters when compared to big cats. They are mainly unsuccessful. Generally things we are bad we don't do a lot, but through evolution dogs have survived because they love to hunt as much, or more, than they love to eat. Therefore, even though they suck at it, they keep hunting. In a training/home scenario, this is manifest in things like ball and tug. Think of how obsessed a dog can be about these games. They have no reason to hunt a ball or kill a tug toy. They just do it because it feels good. Contrast this with guarding behavior. These are extremely high stress situations where the dog feels like it is in a life or death struggle. Training in this drive, defense drive, is hard on the dog, and it often leads dogs with weaker nerves to shut down and display avoidance behaviors. The avoidance behaviors are what you see in that Golden Retriever who tries, but runs off once it is kicked. The old fashioned training of dogs in defense is why these dogs, trained this way, are terrible family pets.


You and another poster made similar comments about patrol dogs and defense-trained dogs making horrible pets. That doesn't have to be the case. Dogs are as varied as humans. A human can be extremely aggressive when needed and still tender and caring and calm the rest of the time. A dog can too. If you have a dog that can't switch it off, that's not a dog I would work. I can't, on a public forum, tell you the number of felons my partner sent to the ER, or the severity of their injuries. Suffice it to say it was a large number. Yet he is the sweetest, most gentle dog I've ever had or worked with (I've trained/ owned 4 working dogs over the years). I briefly had a dog that couldn't switch it off. I returned him to the vendor and he was sold to a different agency.


Another reason for working more in prey drive is that there has been a general switch from the older defense breeds, the dobies, rotts and even some old style GSDs to Mals and Dutchies. Mals and Dutchies are more sensitive dogs in many ways, and they tend to have psychotically high prey drives. They learn quickly in prey, stress out in defense.

So, the move to working in prey has been accompanied my more "modern" dog training overall. Basic obedience is taught earlier, and taught with food rather than compulsion. After that, most work is taught with a ball or tug as reward. That allows the dog to come off a bite, but not come out of prey drive. It is just transferred from bad guy (real or fake) to prey object. The dogs much prefer this since there is less pressure (punishment) and the relationship with the handler is more solid. It also makes for dogs that aren't any more dangerous to live with than other breeds.

Of course, there is eventually pressure and compulsion, but it has moved from a 20/80 have to/want to split for the dogs, to a 90/10 want to/have to. At the same time, and anybody here who is active LEO or military can attest to this, the dogs are better workers and handler aggression has diminished to almost nothing. Cops carry rubber balls or tug toys along with a collar.


Every dog is different, some will need more correction, some need more reward. They all use a mix of toys, food, and pinch/ e-collar. It also depends greatly on what it is you're training the dog to do. Most are dual certified, so they get trained in narcotics/ explosives detection, patrol, handler protection, area search, building search, tracking, article search, etc. I see a growing trend of police dogs that are trained like a sporting dog, look phenomenal in certification, and then are proven worthless on the street. And the sad thing is they are rarely replaced by that point. The handler is usually stuck with an expensive tax-payer funded pet that rides with them in their car for a few years and pretends to do police work. The old days of being brutal to police dogs in training are mostly over. But a balance is needed. I wand a dog I have to reel in, not one I have to push forward. And often with a dog like that, a healthy amount of correction is going to be required. One thing I should also mention is the amount of talk we're giving to "training". Disposition has far more to do with how a dog will actually perform in real world situations than training. Our lead instructor used an analogy I completely agree with; training can change a dog's drive a maximum of about 10%. You can take a 30% dog in a certain drive area and make him into a 40% dog in that area. You will never make a 40% dog into a 70% dog, with all the training in the world. If a dog is not emotionally tough, no amount of training will make him/her stay in a fight once injury starts happening.

With herding, which is what I do, it is a little easier. My dogs don't need a ton of traditional obedience, and the reward for good work is more work. The punishment for disobedience is to be kept off stock. Anybody who doubts this should watch a good herding dog work. Getting kicked in the head doesn't change their behavior, but being tied out while the other dogs work does.
 

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Since this is the Disaster Prep subforum, I am assuming you are thinking of a guard dog for a SHTF scenario? Dogs are worthless in SHTF. They are a burden until you are starving, and then they are source of food, but a goat or pig is a better option.

Read "Surviving the Economic Collapse" by Ferfal, who lived through the Argentina economic collapse. He describes how skilled criminals and gangs just threw poisoned meat to guard dogs, waited for them to die, and then attacked in the middle of the night.
 

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My retired greyhound is very alert to every action but he would never be an attack dog. My bluetick hound prefers to sleep as he's getting old but his bark has persuaded many sales people to stay away from my door. They have both done an excellent job of protecting my home safe from squirrels, cats and other animals.
 
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