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Are Dogs Naturally Protective?

by Lois Harford

Some are, others aren’t. It really depends on the particular dog, and in some cases, the breed.

Dogs like German Shepherds, Dobermans, Great Pyrenees, Great Danes, Chows, Mastiffs, Schnauzers, Poodles, Pomeranians, Chihuahuas & Yorkies (they may not be able to do much damage, but they are very protective), Akitas, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, Swiss Mountain Dogs, Rottweilers and more will need little training to be protective of their families or homes, if they perceive a threat. This is NOT cut and dry, because there are some who will welcome a stranger in…

Dogs who would not necessarily be naturally inclined to protect (but there are also exceptions here, and also a dog can be trained to be protective, to some extent) – Maltese, Bichon Frise, Havanese, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Greyhound, Brittanys,

Dogs that could go either way – Boxer, Husky, St. Bernards, Newfoundlands, Boston Terriers, Beagle, Cocker Spaniel, Golden Retrievers, Labs, Collies, Pugs, Bassett Hounds, among others.

I have had many dogs. Since I always loved working with my dogs (especially obedience work, including competitions, and agility), that created extremely tight bonds with them. The closer the bond, the more sense of partnership and mutual respect, the more inclined a dog will be to think independently and have the confidence to make decisions.

I had a magnificent German Shorthaired Pointer in my youth. My family all worked with him in obedience, so he would be equally responsive to any of us, and I also entered a couple of shows with him. He was slightly aloof but affable with strangers, never mean or suspicious.

One day, I was walking with him, and a stranger approached us and said I had a lovely Visla. (When we walked in the city, he was always on leash, walking at heel, so when the man stopped us, he automatically sat at my side, just waiting quietly).

I thanked the man, but corrected him regarding the breed, as this dog was an AKC-registered, purebred dog, from excellent lineage – and looked nothing like a Visla, which is smaller, has a different shape face/skull, different ears, and is a very distinctive color.

The man began arguing with me, insisting he was a Visla, and telling me I was wrong. After a few moments, my dog was displeased that this man was upsetting me, and without moving a muscle, he just began a low, rumbling growl. He didn’t snarl or bear teeth, or do anything at all threatening physically…but his growl was so clear and powerful that the man got flustered, said good-bye, and quickly walked away. I was SO proud of my dog, and realized just how much he “had my back”.

Many years later, we had a German Shepherd Dog. We had gone out for the afternoon, and when we came home, Baron was sitting at the living room window, waiting for us. The screen had been pushed out of the window frame, but Baron had not run off – he sat protecting the house.

We later learned that the houses on both sides of ours had been robbed that day — clearly Baron had scared them off, and was making sure nobody tried again.

I currently have 2 rescues – an 80 pound boy, and an 11 pound girl. The little one is very vigilant, and she is always the first to alert to any perceived danger. She is fiercely watchful. Once she sounds the alert, the big one joins in, and is, of course, much more intimidating – but he is usually the more relaxed about things, until he feels it warrants his attention.

Dogs are a lot like people – if you treat them with love, respect and kindness, they will feel inclined to return the favor.

In case you missed it: The Ultimate Guide to Pet Adoption

This article was originally published on Quora, July 10, 2018

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Posted by on September 15, 2019. Filed under CRITTER TALK. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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One Response to Are Dogs Naturally Protective?

  1. Bill Formby Reply

    September 19, 2019 at 6:57 pm

    Mike you and I have the same inclinations about dogs except for my current best friend who will turn 16 in a couple of months. At the time he arrived at our house he was just a puppy. He quickly decided that this was his home and claimed it against all intruders. In fact, from his view one needed a pass just to drive down our street. It was sort of cute when ha was only 6 months old. However, when grew to his full size of 110 pounds it was different. He was a mixed breed with some Lab and some Great Dane and God only knows what else we bought an radio collar system to keep in the yard although he spent most of his time in the house. When anyone walked into our yard he would go ballistic. He would charge the door until we trained him to stop on command. Whenever I was out of town he slept in a spot where he could see all four doors that entered the house.
    But Rascal has gotten old now and arthritis has taken its toll. After my divorce a couple of years back we decided that he should stay with me. Shirley was going to Sarasota to take care of her 91 year old dad. While I could easily use a smaller place I have decided to get this place as long as Rascal is still with me. This is the only home he has ever had and I just can’t see him adjusting to a new home at this age. He is a little crippled up now. He has beat cancer once. So as long as he lasts this will be his home, his yard where he has ruled for over 15 years. We are just two old men living together. Best house mate I ever had even though I have to check with him anytime I have to some where.

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