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At Bronx Veterinary Center, we know that you can't live properly with a dog unless it's trained.
Rest assured that training does not strip a dog of natural instincts or "joie de vivre." After all, these are the things that attract people to dogs in the first place. What training does, however, is structure the dog's responses, giving you a good companion. Every civilized dog should know at least five basic commands: heel, sit, down, stay and come. Incidentally, you train your dog to understand its name in much the same way you train it to do anything – by simple, repetitive action.
For more information about dog obedience training in the Bronx, please call the Bronx Veterinary Center at (718) 933-1002. The public perception of what a guard dog is generally conjures up images of snarling, lunging, foreboding creatures. There's plenty of valid reasons why you may want a guard or protection dog in your household.
A guard dog, loosely defined, is one that protects property and family (sometimes called family watch dogs or protection dogs).
Guard dogs can be much more sophisticated than that, and dogs with highly specialized training are readily available for purchase.
On the lowest level a guard dog simply functions as a watch dog or alert barker - which is all most people will ever need. For example, if a person just really wants a dog that will alert bark and keep on eye on people coming and going, then there are a whole range of breeds that can capably handle this general "watch dog" type role. Herding breeds make such excellent watch dogs because by instinct they are accustomed to protecting a flock of sheep, and it is essential that they take notice of any change in the flock or any strangers nearby.
Other breeds of dogs that have the potential to be good guard dogs are dogs in the Mastiff family. Some breeds like Presa Canarios and Pit Bulls are also eager defenders, although due to breed legislation and dog fighting, temperament of individual dogs and regulations make them less desirable.
The breeds that easily transform into not just watch dogs but also trained protection dogs are German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, and Belgian Malinois, to name the more common and capable ones. There are quite a few more breeds that one can look to for guard dog potential, but they are some of the rarer and not as easily accessible breeds.
For the novice person, the selection of a dog or puppy for guarding potential should not be left solely to that individual. Confidence: A dog must be confident in himself and his surroundings to be a good guard dog.
Assertive: Some people will refer to this as dominance, but a better terminology is assertive. Sociability: Guard dogs are not Labrador Retrievers by any means, but a level of sociability is required. Trainability: There are some breeds, like the Chow Chow, which are naturally suspicious of strangers, but they are independent and far less trainable than other breeds. Because of the nature of the kind of temperament the ideal guard dog possesses, these dogs are not suggested for a novice person or first time dog handler. Obedience training: Your dog must begin the fundamentals of obedience training at an early age, preferably the first day.
The focus of advanced training is going to concentrate on those dogs destined for protection based work. The basis for training a protection dog or one that will attack on command or due to impending threat is based in the art of Schutzhund. Police dogs and other working dogs that go onto to be patrol dogs are trained in a very similar way to Schutzhund. Police departments sometimes train the dogs without the jute sleeve and instead go for more inconspicuous body protection so they look more like the everyday person.
While not everyone who trains and places protection dogs trains and competes in Schutzhund, the principles are the same. For people who have never trained or owned one of the breeds that qualify as a guard dog, they should seek professional assistance in the process. The two best places to explore for training: Schutzhund clubs (and there are many all across the United States and worldwide) and police dog instructors.
Even if you are a more experienced handler, joining a local Schutzhund club is the best way to go. There are quite a few things that have to be thought about before purchasing a dog for guard work. First, the average pet owner will, nine times out of ten not need or want a dog with a high level of trained protection work. Laws: A dog trained in protection is considered must the same as having a loaded weapon in your possession.
The Dog Risks: Trained dogs are highly sensitive to strangers, sudden movements, high pitched squeals or screams, etc. If you want a dog to really involve yourself in Schutzund, it can be a fun and rewarding sport. Whatever decision, thorough research into breeds and training will help save a lot of problems in the end.

It's that simple, and it really doesn't matter whether your canine is a four-pound Toy or a 104-pound Working breed.
These commands form the core of the exercises required for a Companion Dog degree in an American Kennel Club Novice Obedience competition.
How realistic this image is varies greatly, as do the reasons why people seek out guard dogs. There is the quintessential 'junk yard' dog whose only purpose is to scare off would-be intruders.
The more fine tuned training generally involves special commands for protection of personal body (more on Schutzhund training later). On the highest level, he functions as a well oiled, highly trained machine capable of defending himself and others without hesitation. Many terriers are excellent alert barkers, although the majority will not follow through with biting. Many of these dogs are gentle giants with the family, but they also make determined watch dogs and protection animals. The assistance of an experienced professional is highly recommended - this is a big decision. It is essential to see as many adult dogs in the pedigree of your potential puppy as one can. It is key that a puppy you're looking to fill the role of a family protection dog be assertive and bold in temperament. Most standards for natural guard dog breeds list characteristics like "aloofness" and "wary with strangers". Select dog breeds known for a high level of trainability as well as breeds with a proven track record of guard dog capability. They require knowledge and experience because a headstrong, assertive dog can quickly overtake an owner's home and life. It is imperative that he is exposed to as many new people, animals, things, and places as possible, especially during the ages of 8-12 weeks.
Contrary to popular belief, most dogs can be accurately and well trained in a primarily positive manner using motivation based training.
These rules can be whatever an owner chooses, but simple examples are staying in place until released for dinner, waiting behind an entryway boundary, sitting before toy throwing, etc.
Because of their assertive nature, without the proper training and defined leadership roles, guarding breeds can quickly take over a household. Simple watchdogs require very little, if any, specialized training; whereas, protection dogs require a high level of precision work.
Schutzhund is a German created performance sport which tests the workability and temperament of a dog. No dog may compete in any level of Schutzhund competition without first passing a BH, or a strict obedience and temperament test. Those interested in purchasing an already trained dog should be leery of anyone who only trains the dog in protection. These dogs can be difficult to live and work with because of the high drive levels, intensity of working desire, and the assertive and possibly challenging nature of the dogs.
They are full of both experienced handlers and novice people interested in joining the sport. They primarily focus on training dogs for placement within police departments, but many of them also compete in Schutzhund for a hobby.
There are club training sessions, events, and best of all, lots of people to support you along the way. Again, for the average person, there is no need to protection train a dog, unless you intend to compete in Schutzhund.
You need to research the laws in your area to see if the city allows trained guard dogs, and how the law views them.
You need to see if your insurance company will even cover the breed of dog, let alone a protection trained one.
ANYTHING that can be perceived as a threat may set a trained dog to attack - like children screaming, someone holding a raised object, loud yelling, someone moving too close to an owner, etc.
If you simply want a really nice pet that is also protective, than there are breeds that can fulfill this desire without a lot of the specialized training and inherent risks. My last piece of advice is to seek the help of an experienced professional when selecting and training your guard dog. In fact, it establishes a channel of communication between you and your dog that enhances your mutual respect and friendship.
Even if you don't take your dog beyond these beginning lessons, they are absolutely essential in making every dog a true companion. Bringing a guard dog into your home does come with a whole lot of extra responsibility though. Herding breeds are also often excellent alert barkers, and quite a few of them will back up the barking with protection of the family or property.
Guardian herding breeds like Great Pyrenees, Anatolian Shepherds, and Komondors are much more likely to not only bark, but to be wary of any strangers.
It is also important to attempt to view any potential puppies on neutral ground, not their home turf.

A dog cannot be sound sensitive and cannot be shy about newcomers or new things if he is to be a competent and trusted guard dog. These dogs are sensitive to the movement and actions of others, and while they will not start the fight, if the need arises, they will eagerly and without hesitation meet the challenge. It is imperative that the dog has a solid foundation of obedience skills and reliably performs them in all environments. Often times, displays of disobedience, unruliness, and unfortunately, misdirected aggression can occur. It was specifically created for the German Shepherd Dog, but now many additional breeds such as the Rottweiler, Doberman, and Belgian Malinois participate. These dogs may bite in other body locations too, but they are also trained to release on command. Police departments even continue with German commands as many of the dogs had some early training overseas. The dog should be fully trained in obedience at high levels in addition to protection, and it should easily be able to pass temperament tests like the Schutzhund BH or at the least, the American Kennel Cluba€™s Canine Good Citizen. In addition, you want the training to be done correctly from the beginning and not to make any mistakes.
They will often help to train a dog for a homeowner - the result is often a wonderful family protection dog.
Whether you ever compete in events or not, Schutzhund helps to create one of the finest trained dogs possible, especially dogs suited to guarding your home and family. Breeds of dogs that are instinctually guard dogs are extremely loyal to family, territorial by nature, and they require no special training to protect. If that dog should ever bite anyone, your dog will be treated much differently than the average pet dog.
It depends on the dog's temperament and nature, but not all trained protection dogs are rock solid on temperament and always make accurate decisions. Have a look at some of these great breeds, who are more than capable of performing watch dog duties for you - Yorkshire Terriers Boxers Miniature Schnauzers Boston Terriers and Maltese Terriers. In fact, if you're not prepared to properly train your dog, you probably shouldn't get one in the first place.
One way to make training simple is to get a breed that readily adapts to your lifestyle and that corresponds to what you want in a canine companion.
Any signs of fear, anxiety, or overt aggression (meaning unprovoked) should be avoided at all costs!
A guard dog must be able to acknowledge a stranger in its owner's presence without becoming intimidating.
The police force are at the forefront of protection dog training methods, they rely on their dogs in many dangerous situations each and every day. Because these guard dog breeds are naturally wary of new people and things, it is vital they have the experience to help them accurately decipher what is and what is not a threat.
He will wear protective body gear, a Schutzhund jute sleeve on one arm, and he will carry a stick.
Plus, they do not want a suspect being able to call a dog off, and it is less likely they know the German words to use. In fact, most Schutzhund club's would not allow that and would be suspicious of anyone seeking only protection dog training. They are always watching new people, and they will quickly defend, if the need arises, without any instruction from an owner. This is why the vast majority of retired police dogs and military dogs are only ever placed with the former handler or former K9 police or military officers. Visit some Schutzhund events to see the dogs in action and do a little research to see if this might be of interest to you. Lack of socialization can create a ticking time bomb for the future - not just in guard dogs but all dog breeds.
Such dogs are also trained to only bark or 'hold' the stranger at bay, unless force becomes necessary.
Anyone who has ever lived with a German Shepherd can tell you that they are tirelessly devoted and will lay their life down, if necessary, for an owner. I have spent my entire childhood developing websites, blogging, affiliate marketing, making things happen. Dog training classes are not only necessary for the full enjoyment of your pet; they are fun, too!
They should tell you about their breed's inherent trainability – advice you should heed before making your final decision.
These dogs do require plenty of socialization as a puppy and also obedience training - just like all dogs do.

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