« Encouraging English Course Students to Talk | Main | When Students Evaluate their English Instructor »

November 15, 2005

DIY: How to Train a Guard Dog (To Attack on Command)

Today's "How to" article courtesy of English-blog contributor Rachael T.:

The Right Way to Train Dog Without Biting the Hand That Feeds

When one thinks of a highly trainable animal the first thing that most often comes to mind is man's best friend, the dog. They're intelligent, obedient, and very easy to train to do numerous things such as opening a door on their own and attacking potential threats. Dogs are seen in movies doing amazing stunts and listening better than most human actors, and police dogs are often used to take down a dangerous criminal with extreme ease. How does one just pick out a dog and train it to be a guard dog or an animal actor? Being an animal actor doesn't seem practical, seeing as not everyone has Hollywood contacts, but being a household protector is. To teach a dog, or puppy, to be an ideal guard dog there are certain things trainers must do and steps they must follow . . .

. . . First things first, getting a dog. Picking out the perfect canine for the job isn't as hard as one would think. Rottweilers, Doberman Pinchers, and Pitbulls are what people generally purchase but they aren't the only dogs that are capable of guarding ones home. Any large dog can be used including mixed breeds. It's not about the dogs ability to hurt someone, it's mostly about looks. If the dog has strong looking jaws, a thick chest, and an intimidating color that imitates a Pitbill or Rottweiler people will generally steer clear. That doesn't mean that looks alone will be guarding the house, it may not always work. Sometimes a really vicious bark will send any one running. Although it's hard to tell a dogs bark when it's just a puppy, owners can usually train the dog to bark a certain way. It's a very tricky process and not suggested for amateurs, as one may get frustrated beyond all reason, but it can be done.

After the dog is chosen the next step is teaching it to attack with out harming anyone. Impossible one might say, but it is very feasible. The trick is to make the dog think it is a game and to only attack clothing, not flesh. The trainer simply slips his/her hand up their sleeve and say in a very friendly and playful voice, “Get it.” The puppy will think it is a game of tug-o-war and immediately bite down on the cloth. They start to shake the sleeve back and forth and really get the puppy worked up, then tell it to drop it and pry the puppies mouth away and pull their hand through the sleeve. After a while the puppy will know what “drop it” means and to not attack the hand. Keep in mind that this must be practiced often and should always be a game. Don't use words like “Kill it,” or “Sic 'em!” These words can trigger something in a dog and they will indeed kill it, this is a mistake many people make and as a result, have their dogs turn on them. When the puppy gets older start running while he has a hold of the sleeve, this will teach him to keep hold until it is told to let go.

Now that the guard dog has the basic 'grab it and don't let go concept,' it's time to teach Rover to bark viciously to ward off burglars and whatnot. It's mostly imitation, if the dog hears a deep fierce bark it will learn that that is what it should be doing. Now the owner can sit there and bark at it's dog, but the results may be less than perfect. Instead, the owner should find a video with a particularly nasty sounding bark and replay it over and over with the dog present in the room. Hearing the bark may startle the dog at first, and he may not like it much, but he will imitate in time and be barking like a pro. Owners should keep in mind, that the bark from a dog barking on the film has to be somewhat similar to the 'learning' dog. If the guard dog is a Pomeranian and the bark being played is that of a German Shepard don't expect any miracles. The Pom will still sound like a rat being strangled.

As the dog is being trained there is one very important rule to keep in mind. Never, under any circumstances, should the dog be beaten or mistreated it in any way. This doesn't just apply to guard dogs, any dog that is being beaten should immediately be taken away from its owner. Mistreating animals is possibly the lowest point a human can achieve. The reason many dogs turn on their masters and their family is because they were mistreated. Sadly, when a dog turns, it is not the owner who is punished, it's the dog. They're taken away, put in the pound and usually put to sleep. The dog is punished for suffering and lashing out. If the dog doesn't listen or seems very inattentive, it's still no reason to beat it or hit it. The owner should do something else instead, like play with him or give him a break, he obviously doesn't want to work today.

Making sure the dog is happy and healthy is the most important step for every dog owner. Being fed, watered, and loved will make any dog man's best friend. Play with them, take them out for a walk, and take them to regular checkups in the vet to ensure a healthy happy dog. Just because Rover is protecting a house, doesn't mean the poor guy has to be the very avatar of suffering.

Along with care and love, training a dog to be a guard for the home doesn't have to be like what is shown on television. No one has to dress in foam and run away from a near rabid dog to teach it to the basics of guardsmen ship. And most importantly, a mean dog doesn't make a guard dog. By making it a game and abuse is absent, the chances of Rover turning on its master is decreased drastically. If everyone followed this process, there wouldn't be any news reports on a dog attacking and nearly killing its master, or children shirking in fear as a dog snarls viciously from the other side of a fence. It is because of people mistreating and improperly training their dogs that people have this primal fear of a Rottweiler or a Pitbull. If treated right, these dogs are about as threating as a little Pomeranian and not nearly as annoying.

~Rachael T.

*NOTE: For more English-Blog DIY or "How to . . ." articles, please click HERE!

Comments for Rachael's article "The Right Way to Train Dog Without Biting the Hand That Feeds?" Please leave them below:

Posted by lhobbs at November 15, 2005 11:49 PM

Readers' Comments:

The Right Way to Train Dog Without Biting the Hand That Feeds, written by Rachael T., effectively explains the proper way to go about training a dog to protect rather than harm. All of the steps that are mentioned will help a person train a dog to be a successful protector of a home.

The steps that are mentioned include picking out a dog that will be right for the job of protector. “Rottweilers, Doberman Pinchers, and Pit bulls are what people generally purchase but they aren't the only dogs that are capable of guarding ones home.” Rachael tells her audience that although the mentioned dogs are generally trained to be guard dogs; many other dogs can perform that job just as effectively. Another step mentioned is that playing with the dog in a way that will help him understand the meaning of different phrases that are typically used when dealing with dogs. “The trick is to make the dog think it is a game and to only attack clothing, not flesh.” The next step Rachael mentions is that intimidation is key in training a successful guard dog. It is possible to train a dog to imitate another bark that will be more intimidating. One thing that some one who is trying this technique should know is that the bark needs to resemble the dog it is being taught to. “If the guard dog is a Pomeranian and the bark being played is that of a German Shepard don't expect any miracles.”

Another issue that is addressed is the fact that the dogs that are being trained still need to receive the love and care that any dog deserves. If a dog is not properly trained or cared for, it is possible that the dog may turn on his owner. “The reason many dogs turn on their masters and their family is because they were mistreated.” Mistreating a dog is definitely the wrong way to train a dog. The results will not be pleasant. If the dog lashes out due to being mistreated, it will most likely be the dog, not the owner that is punished.

I completely agree with Rachael when she said that “mistreating animals is possibly the lowest point a human can achieve.” There is no reason to abuse an animal. Some owners will beat their pet if he is not listening to them, but like Rachael said, maybe the animal just does not want to work that day. I also agree that the dog must be properly cared for. He must be fed, taken to the veterinarian for regular check ups, and be cared for like he was another human member of the family.

Rachael’s essay addresses the many steps it can take to train a guard dog. She does not just mention the actual training, but also the basic steps involved in caring for a dog. Any person that wishes to train their dog to guard their home would most likely benefit from following the steps that are laid out in the essay.

Ali L.

Posted by: Ali L. at April 10, 2006 01:46 AM

Lee,

Im Dr. Anthony Llamas of the Philippines and would love to learn how to train guard dogs for our farm. I would just ask if you have free newsletter that I san read to so to upgrade my knoledge on guard dogs. Thank ypu very much and

Godbless.

Dr. Anthony Vincent Llamas

Posted by: Dr. Anthony Vincent Llamas at June 20, 2006 11:25 PM

Great Site!!!
I have two male shepard,s That I am going( TRY) to traine to be guard dogs. Can you tell me where to get a vedio of a barking dog ? I have had little luck!
Thanks
Jeff

Posted by: Jeff W. Smith at July 26, 2006 07:29 AM

i getting a pitbull puppy in about two weeks and
really would like to know how long will this process take and are you absolutly sure it works.

Posted by: arnette at September 28, 2006 02:56 PM

This article was written by someone with little guard dog training experience. The explanation above relates somewhat to training a personal protection dog, but really has little to do with training a guard dog.

Guard dogs are training using defensive drive and teh explanation above encourages the use of prey drive. This plays a small art early on, but one will never end up with a guard dog only working in prey drive.

Working defensive drive is dangerous and should not be taken lightly.

A major issue with the explanation above is to truly protection train your dog one MUST be physically aggressive him. Protection dogs must learn they are powerful and can fight back. This requires puttiing pressure on the dog.

What you acheive in scenario in the above article is a dog that is really good a tug. Any hi prey drive puppy can master this. Does this mean you have a guard dog that will protect you...absolutely NOT.

It is important that after about 6 months of age you are NEVER the decoy for your dog if you plan to be the handler. This will confuse the dog, and it is a great way to get bit in legs during agitation exercises.

Further more, selecting a good working dog is a very hard process that takes a great deal of skill. Just selecting a guarding breed does not mean you have a good working dog.

The words "kill em" and "sickem" mean nothing to the dog. They are no more impactful than any other word you choose. The typical words used are "PAS AUF" for bark and "PACHEN" for bite.

You teach he dog to bark on command the dog must be taught that its bark motivates the decoy to move. There is no reason to bark at your dog, or find a video with a barking dog.

The above article a is a great way to teach you puppy to play tug with your clothes, but that's about it.

If you would like some legit info on how to protection traing a dog....feel free to contact me at mrgmfoster@yahoo.com

-------

Thanks Mic for your input. Remember, this article was written to fulfill the requirements of a written assignment by an incoming college freshman student. I hope that anyone who is truly interested in training a canine will actually research the subject thoroughly for the latest methodologies and not rely solely upon the opinions expressed this essay.

-Lee

Posted by: Mic F. at January 2, 2007 11:06 PM

Thank you for the great advice. I will start training my pitbull puppy as soon as possible.

Posted by: Tevin Young at February 19, 2007 10:26 PM

IF I WAS TO TRAIN MY 9 MONTH OLD DOBERMAN HOW TO ATTACK...IS HE STILL GOING TO BE THE SAME DOG? WILL I STILL BEABLE TO TAKE HIM TO DOG BEACH TO PLAY WITH OTHER DOGS, WILL HE STILL BEABLE TO HAVE CONTACT WITH HUMANS THAT HE DOESNT KNOW? WILL I BEABLE TO PLAY ROUGH WITH HIM? AND IF HE WAS TAUGHT TO ATTACK..WILL HE STILL BE OKAY LEFT ALONE WITH MY OTHER 2 DOGS?? I WOULD LIKE HIM TO BE MORE OF A GUARD DOG THEN HE IS NOW...BUT I DONT WANT TO HAVE PROBLEMS LATER DOWN THE ROAD, BECAUSE I TAUGHT HIM HOW TO ATTACK!

THANKS FOR YOUR TIME!

Posted by: KIM at September 6, 2007 06:27 AM

Excellent article. I have a brilliant english bulldog. Yes you heard it, and english bull. They are the sweetest, slowest and dumbest looking dogs out there, but he is brilliant. He can do all of the above, but it didnt take much. Dogs are naturally protective if you love them. It just takes a little push in letting them bark and bite clothing. BUT a stop command is needed EVERY time you practice. Oh yeah and lots of treats and love!

Posted by: Vince at November 16, 2007 12:15 PM

IF I WAS TO TRAIN MY 6 MONTH OLD MIX HOW TO ATTACK...IS HE STILL GOING TO BE THE SAME DOG? WILL I STILL BEABLE TO TAKE HER TO MEET AND PLAY WITH OTHER DOGS, WILL SHE STILL BEABLE TO HAVE CONTACT WITH HUMANS THAT SHE DOESNT KNOW? WILL I BEABLE TO TAKE HER FOR WALKS IN PLACES THAT SHE DOESNT KNOW? AND IF SHE WAS TAUGHT TO ATTACK.. WILL HE STILL BE OKAY LEFT ALONE WITH MY OTHER DOG?? I WOULD LIKE HER TO BE A GUARD DOG...BUT I DONT WANT TO HAVE PROBLEMS LATER DOWN THE ROAD, BECAUSE I TAUGHT HER HOW TO ATTACK!I ALSO HAVE A LOT OF LITTLE PEOPLE (COUSINS) COMING TO MY HOUSE ALL THE TIME... WOULD SHE TURN AND BIT THEM??? HOW DO YOU TRAIN THE DOG TO NOT LISTEN TO ANYONE ELSE BUT YOU?

THANKS YOU HAVE REALLY TOUGHT ME HOW TO MAKE MY DOG GAURD ME AND HOW TO GAURD MY FAMILY
THANK YOU SO MUCH

Posted by: latisha at March 23, 2008 09:12 PM

hey i have a 2year old Japanese Akita female with a very protective nature. the type that would put her life on the line to protect my family i want to train her as a man stopper is this breed able to be trusted as a MAN STOPPER / GUARD DOG ?

Posted by: andrew at July 21, 2008 01:41 AM

Well, i have a question. my dog sam is 8 months old, she's a german shepherd. we\re going to breed her once and we're gunnah keep some of the puppies for guarding our kennel, we breed little dogs. how do younthink we can train them from lttle puppies how to guard a barn? like maybe not teaching them to attack your sleve, but like knowing to bark and attack anyone who brakes in? like to really be protective and to know its job is to guard. andyone have any ideas?

Posted by: dude at June 10, 2009 03:29 PM

hi my name is dave i like this article because i know now how to train a pitbull,doberman pincher or a rottweiler and im going to practice this every day and i will never mistreat my dog

Posted by: dave at June 16, 2009 12:39 PM

i have a rottweiller puppy,she is eight months old and i am giving her all the love i have got.
she is very playfull at the momment.
but i would like to no when she will be fully grown,and be a guard dog.

Posted by: mack at July 12, 2009 01:15 PM

Google
My Blog

Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Some rights reserved. 2006.