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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok I have a question to all the dog owners on the site. Not just Dobermans. Which stems from the frequent threads or topics that lend people to say they trust their life, family, home, ect to there dogs. By which I mean they feel there dog would intervene in some manner to a threat, either actual or perceived.


If you could please give an answer and your reasoning behind that answer.

(this is intended to be a non bashing question, just would like to know peoples thoughts since this type of thing always seems to pop up within most all working breed discussions, " Yea he a working breed of course he will defend me")

I'll start:


Rocko will move forward when pressure is put on him by an opposing force(helper or threat). I do think he would defend my wife and kids to a point. I think he is more protective with them than he will ever be with me. This would depend on the situation, and the amount of stress/confusion/pressure involved.

Now my reasoning behind this is I have seen him grow in Schutzhund and learn that pressure is only withdrawn when he reacts offensively. As in you push forward he pushes forward. Simple training. Now it is possible to push him too far and he will retreat. I have never seen him become defensive or offensive to a threat in my presence. He looks at me and follows my reaction.(as he should) I have one story from Halloween where I was in a costume and sneaked in the back yard and came in the house. He was with the wife and kids and as soon as I opened the door He darted forward to me. I yelled a scuffled and he continued to hold his own barking. Then I Yelled and pressed forward and he retreated to the couch in front of the wife and kids. Then I ran outside and ended it. On one hand I feel that was the amount of pressure needed for him to draw back. On the other I was in his face and he may have smelled it was me at that point. Either way He showed enough presence to send just about anyone the other way.

Now this scenario I am talking about was not a staged thing to test my dog. It was all by accident, but once I saw his response I kept going just to see how he would react.
 

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My girl will put on a tough girl act, and sound pretty nasty. She can take moderate pressure and not think twice about it. But I'm pretty sure she would fold under some real pressure. If there's some distance, she wouldn't back down. We have never been in a situation where we could test this without setting something up, but with bears and people in the yard, and strange dogs on walks she will put on quite a show, and I bet a casual observer would think Dakota would not back down. She's chased 400lb mama bears out of the yard without flinching.. But any time she's acted like this, there was no real threat, as the perceived threat was retreating. But again, I bet under real pressure she would shut down. Usually acting in an aggressive manner towards a threat will send the threat on their way, but if someone was desperate, I absolutely would not count on my girl for real protection.

I feel very strongly that if a dog is not trained for protection work, majority of them will shut down. I also believe that most people feel their dog will naturally protect them. Some will, most won't.
 

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Gin (my Dobe mix) did act protectively once. I was walking her, and for some reason, she did NOT like a guy who approched us. She didn't growl, didn't show her teeth, and didn't raise her hackles. Like I've said in another thread, it was like she just GREW. She went on alert, her head came up, her ears went forward, she gave him a HARD stare, and took like one step forward. As soon as he walked off, she went back to her usual happy self. I had never seen her do it before, and I never saw her do it again.

Ilka and Lucky, on the other hand, there's a good chance they would take off if someone was a TRUE threat. Love them, yes. Trust them to protect me, probably not. Although, lots of people seem to see Ilka as scary, and I don't usually try to change their impression, considering the neighborhood. :D
 

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Ivan was very skittish around new people when I first got him. He would duck behind shelves at PetSmart rather than let people pet him. We worked really hard on getting him more confident around new people - he's great at PetSmart now, at SAR training, obedience training, etc.

As time went on he began acting protective in regards to the random person we would see while driving around or out for a walk - always people at a distance - no one we were intentionally walking towards. Little bit of a growl and his hair sticking up.

On one walk he was giving a guy a visual once over and the guy took one step towards him threateningly (although I knew he was just messing with Ivan, it wasn't really a threat) and Ivan came rushing back to me.

So my conclusion is that if anyone called Ivan's bluff, he'd fold.
 

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My lab I know for a fact would defend me in a heartbeat. He does not like when people get rough with me or if he feels I'm being threatened he'll put himself between me and whatever or whoever is coming at me. I never trained him to do this it's just how he is if something like that we're to ever happen. I honestly trust that dog with my life sadly he's with my parents in NC as I couldn't bring myself to take him away from my siblings.

I hope Diesel will grow up to be the same way. He's only 12 weeks now so he clearly can't do much for me but he tries. He has a big bark for his size right now and I've only seen him put his hackles once and I think that was more to tell this nasty dog to get away from him cause he was scared. I will say that I plan on doing protection training with Diesel but I really do believe that some dogs (not all) but some will protect you regardless of how much stress or pressure is put on them.

I may have just gotten very lucky with my lab but he's shown me that regardless he wouldn't run away and I hope Diesel will protect me the same way.
 

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At 7 months old I doubt Juno would do anything. She barks, and snarls at "sketchy" things when we're out on a walk at night. I just don't think she's confident enough, or mature enough, to react in a strong way. I know too much pressure will make her shut down at this point.
 

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To be honest, I really don't know how the Dobermans would react.

Dance would bark her fool head off and back away like she does with practically every person she doesn't know or is uncomfortable with, regardless of whether the person is friendly or not.

Keira can be kind of skittery in stressful people situations (yelling anyway), but I think she'd at least bark and sound threatening even if she was nervous about the situation. Well, with my mom at least. With me I have a feeling she'd be relying on me to do something about it, but I could be wrong.

Ripley does not like sketchy people (drunks, homeless, drug addicts, rowdy, loud party goers etc.). He's a little unsure. He doesn't know how to act around them. Does he use his manners and treat them like I've taught him to treat humans? Or does he make some noise, or at the very least, stare and watch intently because they're weird and untrustworthy? I think he'd definitely put on a loud, noisy show if he ever felt that his people were threatened. I doubt it would go any further than that, as he's had no protection type training otherwise and never will, but if I were a bad guy I'd still think twice with an upset Ripley around.

But I guess, unless the dog has been trained for protection sport, you really never know. Echo, our Rottweiler, was the biggest mush with people. She adored everyone and never knew a stranger. She was sure she was put on this planet to show people as much love as was possible for a dog. We thought for sure there was no way she'd ever protect anybody. But this guy came to our house once (my dad was selling his car), and Echo did not like him one bit. She wouldn't stop staring, looked very uncomfortable and was growling low. I'm not sure what was off with the guy, but that was the one and only time she ever met somebody she didn't like. Needless to say, he didn't stay long fortunately (and Echo was put on a leash).
 
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This got me thinking about my old Cocker Spaniel. He would have protected me. Biting would not have been an option because that was strickly forbidden, but he'd come rushing at anyone he thought was being rough with me (all in fun) and bark his head off and jump on them. And when I was being attacked by a Giant Schnauzer, he came running to my aid and distracted the dog. Got a nice bite in his back for his trouble.
 

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I know for a fact that Jasmine would attack. I lived with a man who one day completely went bonkers on me. He started beating on me and eventually came after me with a knife. I got out into the backyard but I couldn't get over the fence in time. Jasmine was starting to get very irritated. I ran back into the house he followed me in and Jasmine from behind bit him in the back and leg! I was able to get out the front door and call the police.

The only thing I will say is that I took a lot of beating before she reacted. In actual fact I could have been killed long before she bit him. I think part of the problem was this man was a "friend" to her. He had fed her, walked her, and played with her. So I think she was rather confused.

My biggest fear was that when the police arrived that she was o.k. I must have told the cops 50 times to make sure that he put her away in a bedroom before letting the police in. Otherwise she probably would have been shot going after the police.

Hard to say what CAsh would do. He barks a lot however I think he is still immature. His nature is much nicer than Jasmine's to. ;) Although in training he has no fear and can be pretty civil with the decoy. If there is no sleeve he still will bite.

Oh and by the way, the guy who attacked me. Spent the next six months in jail!!!! I have never seen him since the he was convicted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Ok so for those who have said there dogs will protect them, lets elaborate.

You feel your dog would use force to subdue a threat?

I have heard of some labs being protective.Though I have been around them my whole life, and interacted with dozens of them. I have yet to see one who has ever shown any sign of protectiveness. Not saying they aren't out there.

Lets not confuse a dog putting on a show with one who will actually perform.

I think either two things are happening.
1. Some people are thinking a dog showing aggressive behavior from afar counts as protecting them.
-OR-
2.Some people have this notion that there dog, will protect them. However great the dog may be, realistically its most likely never gonna happen.



And Sinister, your dog is still a baby give her another 9-12 months and she will light someone up, if put in the situation. Maturity plays a huge role in it, and as she moves along in her bite work she will get better and better under the pressure. I cant wait to see her at around 18 months!
 

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I wasn't really going to get into details about my lab being protective but I have watched him sink his teeth into a guy who tried to rob my house when I was 15 and home alone. If he hadnt that would've ended horribly for me most likely. I will say I was shocked. I don't see labs as protective dogs at all which is why I said I think I got lucky with Kody. I think it all depends on the dog and the threat. Thats just my experience though. Before that incident I dont know that I trusted him as much. Yes he'd growl and bark and get in between but he was never really pushed until that point which is the reason I put all my trust in him.
 

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I was in total amazement at Sam's reaction to the aggressive stranger during his temperament test. Never in a million years did I think my therapy dog would hit the end of the leash and stand his ground against this crazed stranger coming towards us. Mind you, during the temperament test, you cannot talk to your dog so I wasn't encouraging any type of behavior from him. He didn't know this stranger but perceived him to be sketchy enough to elicit a strong "back off" reaction.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Okie brought up a good term that some may not know.

Defined; Civil Drive is the ability of a K9 to focus on, and engage a decoy/assailant, without agitation or stimulation from the Decoy/assailant. The K9 will engage in a fight without enticement; i.e. Stick/sleeve or whip, aggressive movement, gunfire or vocal challenge.


I have worked with a handful of dogs said to be very civil. If you stared at them, if you were postured in any aggressive manner, they would engage you. You could not say a word, not crack the whip, they will still come at you as if they had been agitated. I will also add these dogs were not just this way with the helper, as in they did not just show this behavior in the presence of the helper. They were like this all the time.

These were good dogs, not for the novice owner, but still very nice dogs. They were not mean or aggressive under typical circumstances.

If you read back how I keep saying these dogs excist and that some dogs will defend someone. The dogs I mentioned, that i had worked with at the club are what I think of when this subject is brought up.
 

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That's a good point. I don't know that my lab would protect anyone else. Maybe the rest of my family but I'm not sure I just know he would for me.
 

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I have absolutely NO DOUBT that Gin would have bitten him. Her reaction was just so atypical of her normal demeanor, which was "Hey, pet me!". This was definitely a "Take one step closer, and you are done for." kind of reaction.

If Ilka felt SHE was threatened she would more than likely bite, but NOT to protect me.
 

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Simple scenario of stranger in house or back yard. She will charge up towards them, then keep a safe distance while making a ton of noise. If the person retreats she will charge again and stop once they stop (kind of like those ghosts in Super Mario Bros. for those that know). It's surely intimidating but I don't know if she would ever lay into someone. My household is very quiet, so I'm really not sure if she's ever even witnessed an argument or anything of that nature. She makes enough of a show to scare the crap out of most, but I don't know if she would truly get after someone. She's about 14 months and still has a lot of maturing to do.

Edit: When we play hide at seek at night, just the sound of her running me down sends chills down my spine. I have about an acre of fenced in yard. I'm athletic, but that dog covers that ground so fast that I usually break down before she catches me. The sound of her feet hitting the ground ever closer to me is quite a helpless feeling. All that and I know she would never lay a tooth on me. Imagine being run down by a dog that you have know idea what's about to happen? I suppose that's why the criminals on all those K9 police shows drop before the dog even catches them. Its intimidating.
 

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I think either two things are happening.
1. Some people are thinking a dog showing aggressive behavior from afar counts as protecting them.
-OR-
2.Some people have this notion that there dog, will protect them. However great the dog may be, realistically its most likely never gonna happen.

I don't know that I meant showing any small amount of aggression/"putting on a show" meant protection entirely. But, I am more than comfortable with just having a visual deterrent. That is protection enough for me. Most people in their right mind are not going to bother a large dog that is obviously upset. To me, outright protection would be a dog that would bite/attack if provoked, but I don't need nor want that. Especially not having trained for it. I doubt any of my current dogs would ever bite anybody, regardless of the severity of a situation. They've been taught since they were little that teeth should not touch a human. Granted, they might not care about that if somebody was really hurting me badly, but they'd probably be confused and they'd probably feel like they did something wrong.
 

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The one experience I've had with Delta, we were walking along a sidewalk when a man jumped out of a parked Uhaul truck. He didn't see us coming, and we didn't realize there was anyone in the back of the truck. Startled, I jumped, he jumped and Delta put herself between me and him and went to barking/growling. So I do think she definitely has that protective side even though she's normally quite friendly on walks. She also does her bark/growl routine if a stranger comes to the door, but accepts them if I let them in and tell her it's okay.


Obviously I have never pushed her to see what more she might do. I suspect not much. She is not trained in any sort of protection or sport. I had her loosely evaluated (eg, trainer's opinion, not a WAE test or anything) and he "didn't think she had the heart for protection work." Which matches up with my impression of her as well.



Guinness, by contrast, could, would and DID take a bite out of anyone he deemed a threat, and his definition of "threat" was really low. That is not a stable dog. He would not have been suitable for protection or schutzhund work either.
 

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I have no idea whether either dog would actually engage a threat. I'm pretty sure Shanoa wouldn't, but Simon might. Simon would absolutely posture, though, and would likely be enough to scare someone off. One day last spring, I was expecting some guys to come over to measure for our new windows. I thought they would come to the front door first, of course. Simon and I were sitting in the living room, when he suddenly jumped up, ran over to the window, and started growling deep and low. I looked out, and the window guys had come into the yard and were taking measurements outside. He continued to follow them from window to window, growling very low and deep. In a few minutes, they came to the door. He barked and growled like a maniac (and he usually barks a few times, then quits). As soon as I opened the door and greeted them warmly, he stopped and got excited to see them. So I think he has pretty appropriate instincts. Would he actually confront someone? Maybe. But he sounds VERY serious when something troubles him.
 
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