To whomever is listening!
I have a 22 month old Doberman who has gone through some basic training and socialization. He's very friendly and greets everyone with exuberance. Most say he doesn't have a mean bone in his body.
That being said I got him because I walk long distances at night for exercise (I work very long hours during the day), so I thought it would be nice to have a companion and protector with me. I thought he would naturally activate if a threat was perceived on our walks but I recently decided to enroll him in protection training to make sure. When we play with his rope in the back yard, where he knows its ok to be aggressive, he goes after the rope with vigor and aggression, and I generally can't pull it from him. once I release he treats it like pray and swings it around violently as if to kill it. When we're on our walks he doesn't usually bark at people but will lunge when he sees a rabbit or cat.
I.e. he seems to have a fair amount of pray drive. He was neutered at about 6 months and is of all European descent. He's a big boy, about 100 pounds and lots of muscle.
HOWEVER when I took him in to a local protection trainer for evaluation he initially did what he was supposed to and barked and lunged when she came out from her blind for a fake attack. to clarify what I was supposed to do the trainer started talking to me. After that he just seemed confused and afraid. We tried a second week, and sort of made that mistake again, and this time when confronted with a threat he just cowered in fear. two other more trained dogs were brought in to show him to bark and lunge at her but he remained fearful and wouldn't protect me or himself. he honestly cowered in the corner looking at me to do something but I was instructed to keep my distance.
The trainer said that much of this relates to genetics and he either has the instinct to fight or he doesn't. she also said that because he was neutered early it would be less likely he could learn to protect.
So now Im wondering whether I just have a friendly marshmallow or I need a different trainer and different approach. After our lesson yesterday I just convinced myself it isn't in the cards for him to be a protection type of dog, but Im not sure I should give up just yet.
Any advice would be awesome.