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Hillside K9 Academy

Understanding Canine Protection Training

Posted by admin at 7:49 AM on May 8, 2019


In these turbulent modern times, many people are searching for alternative ways ways to effectively ensure their personal safety and that of their families. Although digital home protection systems act as witness to dangerous situations, they do little to physically protect those who leave their limited territory. For many, firearms are often an option, but are only as effective as the instincts, reflex, and presence of their wielder. So what can you do in your busy life to provide peace of mind for the people and things that you care most about?

This is where nature's most instinctual and loyal protector comes in, THE CANINE. The domesticated canine does not discriminate with its love when it comes to its master! This loyal nature, combined with an evolved territorial instinct and urge to protect its pack (especially the leader, young, elderly, sick, or weak), results in the perfect protection animal. Every dog has a bit of wild wolf genes, and therefor the potential to serve in this primal way.


(...but they are all equally important and effective in their service!)Contrary to common knowledge, protection dogs come in all sizes and breeds. Today, we will explore the three main types of protection dogs, their jobs, and what it takes to hone their natural protective instincts through training. With work, your dog's confidence and sense of capability will soar, and will result in an infectious relaxed demeanor.

Protection Dog Type 1: THE ALARM DOG

Chances are, if you have owned a dog, you are already very familiar with this type! As long as a dog has vocal chords, they can serve as an alarm dog, regardless of age, size, or breed. Dogs' noses and ears are hundreds of times more effective than humans, so whether you are on a big property, in a small apartment, or out on a night walk or hike, your dog has the potential to give you advanced warning of home intruders, humans with malintent, unseen wildlife, and even natural disasters! In addition to warning you of danger, the barking of an alarm dog can also deter crime and wild animal encounters. The only down-side to having this type of protection animal is that once they have sounded the alarm, their job is done, and in some cases barking is not enough to ward off a serious aggressor. Which brings us to our second protection dog type:

Protection Dog Type 2: THE THREAT DOG

Body language is a universal tool in both society and in the wild to deter unwanted confrontation. Although not as common as the alarm dog, most dog owners have a canine who has the potential to perform this very important job. In addition to vocal alarm and warning growls, a threat dog uses its physical presence to deter and ward off aggressors, and because an aggressive dog of any size can be intimidating, most breeds are suitable for this purpose! At home, a threat dog will show hostility through charging and fence or door, and feign biting without actually harming the perceived threat, but rather to show what is in store for the intruder if they do not back off. In public, they will square off with an aggressor, often growling or barking in a vicious manner, and will stand protectively between their owner and the perceived threat. A true threat dog has an "on and off switch", meaning the owner should be able to prompt barking and an aggressive stance on command, and then again to cease the response. This skill can be taught in a relatively short time, using praise, while stimulating the dog's inherent drives.  

Protection Dog Type 3: THE MAN STOPPER

This form of canine protection is by far the most effective! Suitable for dogs and breeds with a medium to high prey drive, it is not for skittish temperaments. All Manstoppers are trained to take down and apprehend an intruder or aggressor until commanded or signaled to release by their master. Humane man stopper training takes countless hours of professional work spent building the dog's confidence and teaching control exercises. There are two subtypes that are similar in this purpose, but provide different levels of protection for different environments. A dog cannot safely perform both functions without putting those around them at risk. 


This protection dog is trained to take down and apprehend any and all property intruders that are not their direct master. Suitable for well-secured warehouses, storage yards, and other low-traffic commercial properties, these dogs should never be left unattended around children or inexperienced adults, let alone kept as family pets. These dogs have been trained to always use their territorial instincts, and do not distinguish between an arsonist and the mailman, or a burglar and your neighbor's child. The purpose of this type of dog is to remove the uncertainty when they are left for over-night protection and cannot refer to their owner's instincts. In addition to confidence building, this type of work also takes many hours of bite-work and prey-drive training.


Although this type of Manstopper is also trained to take down and apprehend, this instinct should be as a result of personal threat, fear, or command from their owner only. Underneath the protective instinct should be a friendly and well-rounded canine, who is patient and playful with children and other sweet tempered animals. This kind of work takes many hours of one-on-one bonding between them and their human family. Most of the training involves building upon the love and loyalty that they already have for you, and channeling that into their inane instinct to protect their pack! It also involves hours of advanced obedience training under a professional trainer. This will ensure that they can be social dogs in public, and will only react upon your command or emotional cue. If left untrained, a family protection animal may decide when you need protecting, often times inappropriately! 

Training Your Family Protection Animal

Transforming your family pooch into a protection dog may seem intimidating, but we promise, it is a worthwhile endeavor! When many think of protection dogs, they only think about training them to bite. This is not all it involves, however. In professional training, we go through great lengths to simulate real-world situations, complete with all of the distractions and mixed messages that come with it. Your professional trainer will work with you to build an unmatched bond, focus, and obedient temperament between you and your dog, through a customized program designed around your family's unique needs. You should never have to worry about their reactions to the public when you take them to a birthday party or beach vacation. With work, your dog's confidence and sense of capability will soar and will result in an infectious relaxed demeanor.

Interested in canine protection training?
Call our front desk to schedule a free evaluation of your dog or browse our fully trained protection dogs here!