Monday, June 16, 2008

So, Is Your Dog Too Friendly With Strangers?

When most people inquire of me about this topic, they are seeking to make their dogs into protection dogs, or they are asking because their dogs are nuisances and won't leave their guests alone.

Let's just put a fine point on this once and for all, eh?

Protection Dogs

First, if your dog wasn't bred to be a protection dog, then forget it. I'm talking about a police line dog, where the parents and grandparents and so on were all police or military dogs.

Second, there is a lot of hype out there regarding which breeds are the "ultimate guard dog". Sorry folks. Look at what the professionals buy and use, not what some breeder or guy selling books has to say. If you don't see the police or military using them, then your dog is the wrong breed.

Third, just because your dog is friendly doesn't mean it won't protect you. This is where novices get it all wrong. A friendly dog can also be a very protective dog in the right circumstances. Usually what novices perceive to be a protective dog is really just a fear biter or a dog that has been made vicious (and therefore completely worthless as a protection dog). A snarling, growling dog that lunges at everyone is almost always a dog that is unsuited to be a protection dog.

The Untrained Nuisance Dog

Sometimes this inquiry is from someone who has a dog that they aren't seeking to protect them at all. Instead, they have an untrained and poorly led dog that is a nuisance and a brat. The dog jumps on guests, won't leave anyone alone, and won't calm down. That's just a training problem, and a good trainer can give you ways of dealing with this without squashing your dog's spirit.

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