Thursday, March 6, 2014

Personal Protection

It's time to answer another question!  This one is about a woman who's looking for a little protection.

I have an American Pitbull Terrier who possess zero aggression. I know they are naturally people loving dogs and am grateful that she possesses no dog aggression but, I always thought she would protect me, a single woman in a big city if I ever encountered an aggressive person. Well this very thing has happened and my "vicious pitbull" hid behind me with her tail between her legs, and did nothing but whimper while we were being accosted. Similar situations have occurred and if the approaching party is aggressive, she runs. If they are mentally ill or drunk she tries to make friends, wagging her tail and motioning for them to show her attention which they often do. I have taught her a command (no stranger) and that has helped a bit with ignoring strangers. I have had dogs before and they were always aware and unwelcoming of people in their wrong minds. My dog lacks this sense. I semi-successfully have trained her to growl on the command "protect" but she, lays down, waggs her tail, and looks to me for the treat. I'm afraid I've gone all wrong with this "protect" command. And even more, I'm afraid she will never protect me. She is 4 1/2 years old. Do you have any advice that could help me to increase her discernment and protection?

Ok, my biggest question is why?  I know you want some protection from your dog, but it frankly seems like this dog does not have the temperament for it.  By teaching her, at this point, that it's OK to show any form of aggression or dominance, you could end up creating a mess of trouble.  Rather than teaching her to growl or protect, I'd focus on rewarding her for acting happy and comfortable around people.  Reward her when she's not acting scared or fearful, but rather when she is being outgoing.

So, what do you do about your protection?  Well, there are plenty of options here.  If you want a dog for protection, get a personal protection dog.  These dogs are bred and trained to be there for you with just one command.  You really don't have to worry about them being overly protective, because their drive to bite is not driven by fear.  It's driven by play and obedience...a much safer combination than fear.

You could also opt for non-living forms of protection.  A tazer or mace are both great options and are a great way to protect both yourself AND your dog.  For long walks, I've known more than one person to walk with mace or even something as simple as a bat or stick just to have a little something more. 

You may also want to find a walking buddy or a group to walk with, as there's safety in numbers.

All of these options are better than teaching your 4 1/2 year old pet dog to growl at strangers; particularly if she's a submissive dog who only really wants to be loved to start with.


  1. Hi I have a question I have 4 dogs ! one 11yr male yorkie/6 yr.snzer/2 yr fem. yorkie and 3mo shz, zu I love my babys very much but I have a problem my 2yorkie when we leave to work she goes on my bed and pees on my bed :( I dont know what to do they are all train on pet mats always and we also take them out but for some reason she wont stop ive punish her by putting her in the crateand spanking her which i hate what should i do..

  2. Nice post !! I have 1 year old dog and this have a bad habit to lick me anytime so what i do to for left this bad habit.

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  3. DOG SUDDENLY HATES CRATE...I am not sure where to ask a questions, so I will try posting here. I have 2 dogs, one is a border collie/retriever mix, 6 years old. She used to LOVE her crate, and would go in there to rest all the time, as well as while we were at work. She would lay in her crate watching us get ready, just waiting for us to give her a kong stuffed with frozen dog food and leaver her the heck alone! But Monday we pulled out the crates to clean behind them, and we washed the covers for the dog beds in the crates and now she HATES going in there. She doesn't even want to go in to get her kong. She will go in, just reluctantly. Today I just gave up and left the crate door open so she didn't have to spend all day in there since she seems unhappy. I plan on rewashing the bed covers in a natural oder-less detergent to see if the smell is the problem... I would so appreciate knowing if you've heard of this before or have any other ideas about how to make her happy again.

  4. Hello :) Here is my question:

    My husband and I have 2 miniature poodles, Mochi (4 yrs) and Nori (9 mos). We started training them to use a litter box inside 4 months ago. Mochi uses the litter box without fail, however Nori only uses it when she knows we're watching. We praise her ecstatically and give her treats when we see her use the litter box, but when we're asleep or away for a few hours, she will urinate and defecate anywhere and everywhere in our apartment. How do we get her to only use the litter box?

  5. I love this post, it's really nice to hear a story about the true nature of a pit bull for a change :) sorry he's not what you wanted for protection miss but personally I don't like the idea of using an animal for such things, tazer sounds much better :)

    I also have an unrelated question but could not find an area to ask question?

  6. I'm not a dog trainer but I would like to say something about the woman with the pit bull for protection. I believe that pit bulls (although very powerful) are by nature loving, intelligent, sweet dogs. They usually will protect their family but the aggression and meanness we see in pit bulls are the result of a lack of socialization, obedience training and purposefully teaching them aggressive behavior. It's really a shame because they are very nice dogs, they don't want to be mean. I have a 5 month old that I take for walks and introduce to people and kids (she loves everyone). I actually had someone come up to me and tell me I should not do that, I should keep her away from people so she will become protective and aggressive! That's why they have such a bad reputation they are the dog of choice for people that want aggressive dogs That said, her looks alone should have been enough to scare someone off so I'm surprised that you were accosted I'm sorry to hear that, must have been terrifying. But for the sake of pit bull everywhere, I wish the word would get out that they are not the monsters they are made out to be. ps I got mine for protection too because I live alone, I was counting on her bark and looks to scare away any potential intruders, maybe I should look into getting a German Shepard as a backup!

  7. I have a question regarding my 6 year old male Bichon Frise, Maxwell.

    My dog is an absolute sweetheart and he loves everyone. He is extremely needy and is around me 24/7. Well, he has recently begun to have problems with general obedience and it has spawned into aggression. Usually, he will start walking out of my bedroom (he does this late at night to poop by the door, so I try to recall him to take him out the back door) and he darts off. He ends up running into my parents bedroom while they're asleep (they always keep their door open) and he starts growling and snapping at me when I try to get him to come back to me. Nothing can encourage him to come to me, not even his favorite treat or cream cheese, and I eventually have to throw a leash around his neck and drag him out of the room.

    There's also been problems with him jumping up on the furniture while we're eating. He's allowed onto the furniture with us, but whenever we're eating, there's one specific couch that's just for the dogs that he will lay on (with his big brother, [foxhound/husky mix] Toshi) and he's always been fine on laying on the couch. He usually sleeps until we're done ad then he gets to jump up with us after we're done with our drinks and dishes. Recently, he didn't listen to me when I told him to get on the couch. He ran away from me and jumped up with my unsuspecting mother. He ended up spilling her plate of food. This is the second stage of the problem and I don't know why he suddenly stopped listening to me. No boundaries have been changed or the way that I train him, so I don't know what caused the change in behavior.

    Tonight, I brought him back inside from going to the bathroom at 9 pm and I told him to go into his crate for bed. He instead jumped up with my mother and growled at me whenever I told him to get down. I tried to grab him (which was never a problem before) and he snapped at me, so my mother pushed him off the couch. He then ran into his crate to hide from me, like he's been doing recently whenever he disobeys me (I tell him "come" and he hides into his crate and he growls at me). Since I wanted him in the crate in the first place, I proceeded by locking him into the crate for the night.

    What he tends to do is hide from me by running into his crate or he'll hide behind my mother for protection. He's been ignoring my commands at night for some reason. He's fine with me all throughout the day, but after dinner he turns into a terror. This started happening about a week ago and he's been fine all these years. He's been to the vet and they don't know why he's behaving the way that he is. I would love to have some advice on what to do. I'm at my wits end. I don't want a dog who is going to be constantly stressed out, let alone biting me. I asked for advice before and someone told me to rehome him because "I wasn't doing enough for him" (I've spent $1,500 on vet bills and I'm asking for training advice, so I'm pretty sure I'm doing enough to help my dog), so I'm getting more stressed out because I'm not going to give up on him. This all started happening a week ago and there's been no change in behavior or schedule from anyone. Is there a reason why he's doing this that you can possibly understand? IS there something I can do differently? He's been favoring my mother a lot and behaves around her, so it makes me think about leaving him with her whenever I move in a year or two. I don't want to do that and I would be devastated since I've had him since he was 2 months old, but I can't think of what else to do with his rising aggression towards me.

    Please, help Max and I.

    - Brittany

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